Chernobylite makes you live in fear of nuclear disaster | Review

Long remained in early access and back from a good number of consents even before coming out in the final version, Chernobylite aims to make you fully identify with the notorious areas involved in one of the worst disasters in the history of mankind.

Chernobylite

Platform:
PC, PS4, PS5, XONE, XSX
Type:
action-adventure, gestionale, survival
Exit date:
July 28, 2021
Developer:
The Farm 51
Distributor:

The developers scanned and reconstructed the forbidden zones in great detail, long abandoned and left in miserable conditions, where a strange and persistent silence hovers, interrupted only by the lazy stirring of the foliage in the wind.

There, where perennial death has replaced every form of human life, you will be involved in a story that still has many unresolved questions, able to slip between narrow espionage secrets and the personal dramas of a man determined to discover the whole truth about the disappearance of the his beloved.

Chernobylite: of lost loves and nuclear disasters

Chernobylite puts you in the shoes of a physicist and former employee of the Chernobyl power plant, witness to the tragedy that has forever marked a part of the planet still today harassed by the consequences of the radioactive disaster. That man also lost his wife in unclear circumstances, and awakened from what is a recurring nightmare that distresses him day and night, he still finds himself among those forbidden lands, ready to face any danger in order to reunite with his half.

After the disaster, you will still be in that forbidden zone to look for your wife.

Yet he knows that something still lurks among the dense forests and abandoned farmhouses, something non-human, linked to the power of a waste material with an unfathomable power that takes the name of Chernobylite. Thanks to its intrinsic capabilities you will be able to open portals to move from your base to the contaminated areas, but its excessive concentration also allows frightening entities to pour into our reality, with unfortunate results and a percentage of danger that increases dramatically.

Chernobylite therefore it presents a story that moves on two tracks that intersect on several occasions: on the one hand it will be necessary to investigate the activities of the NAR military and on secret machinations linked to non-governmental operations and subversive activities, while on the other hand it will be necessary to find useful data and evidence to feed the residual hopes of finding the beloved woman.

Without suggesting where the story will end, know that the two narrative sections have been proposed in order to come together to give life to a broader story, which grows in intensity when some dynamics are revealed which not even the protagonist was knowledge. Chernobylite, however, chooses to take his time, sometimes even expanding them for needs related to the gaming system, which provides for a sequence of optional missions only in appearance.

Considering the nature of the game, that makes the mixture of different genres its raison d’etre, one soon senses there need to thoroughly probe the environments to find all the resources useful for survival of the protagonist and of the group he will be forming.

Humans won’t be the only enemies to face.
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The structure of Chernobylite provides an advancement of the game in which side activities are carried out and others appropriately marked as main, which appear suddenly and mainly through radio messages or blown messages from people you will meet along your path. In the first you will have to stock up on food, medicine or ammunition, essential for your and your companions’ sustenance, which will be sent by you to the exclusion zones and which may return victorious or battered.

At the same time, through a scanner, it will be essential to collect herbs, electrical, mechanical materials and everything else that will be useful to build beds, generators, workbenches, machinery and structures within your makeshift base.

By doing so, you will not only have numerous facilities when venturing out of the free zone, but you will also keep your troop’s morale and health high, which is essential for a faster recovery of what you need. In the main missions, the storyline will be roughly the same, but the difference will be that you will come across personalities and events that will advance the plot.

A few hours later, Chernobylite however, it will lend its side to a little too much repetitiveness, with actually rather linear missions that really resemble each other too much, also due to settings that present minimal variations in terms of activity and conformation of the structures.

The much vaunted freedom of exploration is therefore illusory, since it ends where those invisible walls represented by radiation rise from which one must keep away. Moreover, once you have completed the mini quests marked in the compass, there will really be no other reason to hold back any longer. If anything, it is the freedom of approach that is an added value of Chernobylite, capable of leaving a real interpretation to the player, who will be able to manage resources and progress according to the preferred style of play.

Chernobylite is not a pure horror, but it has a very dark atmosphere for large parts.
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Gameplay

Chernobylite lets you decide whether to play in stealth, more aggressively or with the mixed modes of those who want to alternate calm exploration and brutal attacks. In addition to the health bar you will also have to keep an eye on the one linked to the psyche, which will decrease in the presence of otherworldly apparitions or when you take out the soldiers on patrol. As in a real role-playing game, after a short time you will have the opportunity to improve your characteristics, including the ability to stun enemies so as not to affect mental health.

Along with that, the improvements include more accurate aiming, the ability to inflict more damage, less clumsy sneaky moves and a host of other features that we leave you with the pleasure of discovering. The weapons and protections can also be improved, but you will have to resort to tools and machinery built previously in the base.

You can upgrade your weapons using a base-built workbench.
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For large sections, and with the due differences, the management phase of Chernobylite looks a bit like the one seen in This War of Mine, without the passage of time and without its gameplay angles: at night you will have to meet the physical and moral needs of your team, during the day you will have to properly prepare to get the better of the exclusion zone. The formula actually works quite well, can be varied and quite rewarding, however it lacks a bit of balance related to finding some specific resources.

In particular, the huge quantity of herbs and food required is not so easy to satisfy, and it will also happen to not very high difficulties of having to suffer a few too many penalties while maintaining a careful and thrifty conduct. Post-launch, therefore, we expect updates on this, which would make some crucial phases of the games less frustrating. Likewise, the amount of damage taken by enemies (and after disastrous falls) should also be more carefully adjusted.

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The enemy artificial intelligence, on the other hand, appeared to us rather basic: there are no real concerted actions designed to flush you out when you are seen and you always manage to get the better of it with trivial circumventing maneuvers, made very simple by the all-pervading vegetation. Moreover, it will always be enough to sneak up to take out anyone, with the only variable linked to the attention to be paid to the other soldiers in the vicinity, who can see the corpses and react by calling for help.

They half-convince the stages with non-human appearances, which usually occur in the presence of Chernobylite clusters. Some will chase you by opening portals where they happen, making you quickly lose any point of reference. And while they feature human-like AI, there are times when clashes can get annoying, like when you have little opportunity to maneuver in tight areas.

Chernobylite it ultimately comes out better than we would have expected. The good mix of different genres has managed to find a very good alchemy, which never spoils what is the main core of the experience and does not expose it to the risk of a mediocre potpourri. Technically, the game developed by The Farm 51 is well above the average level that one would expect from such a production, and beyond numerous episodes of micro lag during uploads, it is certainly a pretty sight.

Despite a texture quality not always of a good level, the outdoor environments are quite convincing, as well as the use of particles and atmospheric events. The DLSS supportmoreover, it greatly facilitates the computational calculation in the most exciting moments, maintaining a rather stable frame rate.

Version reviewed: PC

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