Home Tech A chilling and moody Stalk-’em-up – Chernobylite Review

A chilling and moody Stalk-’em-up – Chernobylite Review

A chilling and moody Stalk-’em-up – Chernobylite Review

While Chernobylite seems to be a far cry from being a full-fledged S.T.A.L.K.E.R tribute act, The Farm 51 shooter isn’t exactly a rehashing of radioactive debris. Though the two games have many common visual elements, such as mutants, oddities, harsh weather, and a particular nuclear power facility that had some drama in April 1986, fundamentally they are quite distinct from one another.

Chernobylite is more similar to Metal Gear Solid 5 than Stalker, who follows the now-familiar structure of an open-word shooter. The game’s semi-open world is divided into many areas that you may return to again, with adversaries and surroundings changing throughout. An large base-building metagame unites the whole experience. It’s a unique structure that is both the most intriguing aspect of Chernobylite and the reason for all of its shortcomings.

You take on the role of scientist Igor Khymynyuk, who worked at the Chernobyl NPP on April 26, 1986, when the accident occurred. Tatyana, Igor’s wife, who disappeared the night of the disaster, was also there. Thirty years later, Igor starts seeing visions of Tatyana in and around the power plant, so he goes back to the Exclusion Zone to look for her.

It’s unclear exactly why Igor waited thirty years to find out whether his wife had passed away, but it wasn’t a good idea for him to return to the Zone at that point. The NAR private military firm has taken over the territory around Chernobyl. Its exact function is unknown, but it has to do with the discovery of Chernobylite—a new, mineral-like substance—in the Zone.

Chernobylite begins with a sleek, Call of Duty-style night attack on the power plant itself, after a short, dreamy prologue that shows Igor arriving in the Zone via train. While the majority of the NPP hovers above you like a sleeping leviathan, you discover how to slip by NAR patrols with the help of your soldier-of-fortune friend Olivier. An intriguing blend of fiction and reality about Chernobyl may be found in this first quest. You start to experience flashbacks to that fateful night as your stalker-like characters prowl around the painstakingly recreated reactor halls and corridors of the power plant. These flashbacks include scenes from the 2019 HBO series, where technicians argue incoherently and denial in the control room and manually turn valves in the flooded vaults beneath the exposed reactor.

Following the raid, when Igor uses a piece of Chernobylite to power a portable portal he made, he and his Olivier reassemble in a warehouse on the edge of the Zone. Your headquarters is this warehouse, where you build machinery to make new tools and gradually amass money in order to carry out a second, more ambitious “Heist” on the power plant.

On a mission of your choosing, you set out into one of the zone’s five zones on each new “Day” in the game. This could be a more customized mission that advances the plot, either by assisting one of the many companions that progressively populate your base as the game goes on or by gathering resources meant for building your base or feeding your companions. Alternatively, it could be a simple mission to gather resources meant for feeding your companions or expanding your base.

Missions function similarly in both scenarios: you sneak about the Zone’s tangled flora and crumbling structures, use your environment analyzer to steer clear of radiation pools and identify items that may be collected. Every now and then you may encounter a mutant or a NAR patrol, with whom you can either sneak around or fight. After completing your primary goal, you have two options: use Igor’s portal gadget to exfiltrate, or carry on exploring.

Early on in Chernobylite’s exploration, things become exciting and tense. The Zone is terrifying and beautiful at the same time, and the game makes a remarkable amount of variation out of every area. The massive Duga Radar Array, the source of so much Chernobyl legend, overlooks the combined rural and urban environment of the Moscow Eye, while Red Forest is a large stretch of woods intermingled with soviet infrastructure like rail-tracks and secret bunkers. My favorite part of the game is definitely Pripyat Port, which is home to the debris-filled Pripyat Hospital, its corridors and chambers softly resonating with the sounds of everyday life before the catastrophe.

Over time, these five zones also change. Radiation pools become bigger. Soldiers from the NAR come more prepared. Severe “Chenobylite storms” intensify in ferocity. The number and variety of mutants increase, and new varieties—like the terrifying, portal-hopping Shadow—are introduced. You incur the wrath of the “Black Stalker,” a monster that dynamically appears in the later part of the game and appears out of nowhere to fire you with a large green laser rifle and devour all of your ammunition.

The emergent play of Chernobylites comes from these aspects. With a Chernobylite storm raging above, I was sneaking up on an objective at the Moscow Eye and ready to take out one of the guards when the Black Stalker sprang out of a portal next to me. The alarm went off, and chaos broke out. I legged it into a neighboring wooded area, where the ground was dotted with gunshot holes and lightning strikes filled with Chernobylite.

Chernobylite’s maps often lack the dynamic element provided by S.T.A.L.K.E.R’s A-Life system. However, it makes up for it with other clever minor mechanisms that improve roleplaying. Killing adversaries, for instance, depletes your mentality and adds a second health bar. Vodka helps to recover psyche, thus after a fight, you usually wash the trauma away with lengthy draughts of Ukrainian moonshine.

Chernobylite is a fantastic place, but you have to be patient to locate it. Because the maps are smaller than they seem at first, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time in the same locations. Although the changing Zone is intended to lessen this, the adjustments are made too gradually. As a consequence, the mid-game objectives might be monotonous and repetitive as you search around the same few spots for materials and then dodge a few minor NAR patrols to finish the assignment.

Although, as is the case in-mission, systemic complexity doesn’t always pay off as one would think, base management makes an effort to make up for this. You must balance a number of base requirements, including electricity, comfort, and radiation protection, in order to construct and operate your base successfully. Constructing a new piece of equipment, such a weapons making table, will use more energy and be less comfortable, which may negatively impact how your partner feels about you.

The problem is that base construction has no tangible impact other than bestowing new equipment. Even while adding TVs, beds, or chairs would make things more comfortable, you never see your friends using them. They have no discernible effect on how the base feels or works. Character connections have a similar problem. Your companions’ perception of you is influenced by your decisions and approach to base administration throughout the tale, but this shift in perspective isn’t reflected in the way they behave on the base or in casual conversations. As a consequence, base-building is both mechanically demanding and rather staid.

Having said that, the tale is intriguing despite being complicated. The characters are drawn with enjoyment, and the narrative is generally well-written. Mikhail, a loose-cannon Stalker who tells fantastic stories and curses like a sailor, and Tarkan, an eccentric resident of the Zone who is fascinated with rodents and calls you “mousey” and feels he’s embroiled in an epic battle with an entity he calls the “Rat King,” are among your motley company.

The missions itself contain a variety of concepts and objectives, and even if you could become too used to the surroundings, the actions you make while in a mission can have some really amazing outcomes. You may opt to change the Moscow Eye’s configuration by detonating the Duga Radar Array during an early mission. Later on, you had to complete an extra goal where you had to escape the NAR’s jail after deciding not to destroy certain papers in one operation that led to Igor getting imprisoned by NAR many missions later.

Small discoveries like this were what kept me interested in Chernobylite even when my attention strayed. After going through a few survivalist milk runs, I would be tempted to give up, but either I would have to rescue a friend from a building that was leaking hallucinogenic gasses, or I would have to battle the NAR for a long time because I had accidentally walked into a radiation hotspot while attempting to sneak past. The game isn’t exactly exhilarating, and the framework serves as more of a barrier than an aid. Chernobylite, however, clicks like a dosimeter close to the elephant’s foot when everything comes together.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here