After releasing on PC and last-gen consoles last year, Farm 51’s first-person horror adventure Chernobylite has now made its way to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. It brings with it an eerie escapade through the remnants of Chernobyl that twists together horror and science in some gripping ways, but is it actually any good to play?
Check out some screenshots down below:
Chernobylite casts players in the role of Igor, a scientist that finds himself trekking across the remains of Chernobyl in order to find his missing wife. Unfortunately, a hostile militia force has based itself within the site to uncover its secrets too, whilst there are all sorts of monstrous creatures to face off against that have mutated due to the radiation. It’s a gruelling task for Igor then, but with the power of Chernobylite (which is able to help create portals) at hand, it’s one he won’t give up on.
The core gameplay experience will feel familiar to anyone who has played a first-person shooter before, with players completing an array of missions that are spread across the area. There are numerous objectives to complete within these missions, though how you approach it is up to you: do you go all guns blazing or do you try to sneak past foes undetected? It’s beneficial to take your time to explore your surroundings too, with plenty of resources to gather that’ll help you out in the long run. There are also optional interactions to share with others during missions, with some affecting the game down the line; whilst some feel more significant than others, it gives Chernobylite’s missions a bit more personality and ensures there’s more to the experience outside of simply completing your objectives.
I found myself having a better time when I was sneaking around and not shooting at enemies. The gunplay of Chernobylite feels a little stiff and I found that shootouts often lacked the oomph found in similar titles, whilst the scarcity of ammo could make getting seen feel like a hindrance at times. Contextually, it feels believable because Igor isn’t meant to be a soldier or anything, but it just brought the shooting down for me. At least sneaking and performing stealth takedowns feels good though, with the feeling of slipping through a base, clearing it of resources, and not getting caught certainly proving satisfying and intense throughout.
“I loved the atmosphere of the game, and whilst it was never overly scary, I did feel on edge given the eerie sense of suspense and the fact I never quite knew what I’d come across next.”
One interesting dynamic in Chernobylite is your base of operations. Between missions, players spend time in their base which they’re able to expand with new facilities, use to craft new items, or interact with the companions they find on the journey. You’re not alone on your adventure, with others joining you and even able to teach you some new tricks – they’ll also head out on individual missions to gather resources, and whilst they’re not always successful, it’s useful to have a few extra pairs of hands pulling their weight.
You are expected to keep your companions happy, which is where food comes in. Between story missions and general progress through the game, you need to find as much food as you can in order to keep your companions healthy and able. If you have plenty of food to share? They’ll be happy and perform better on missions. If you’re giving some harsh rationing? Their morale will drop and they might even end up dying or leaving the base. It’s a risk-versus-reward system where you’ve got to determine how much time you spend scavenging resources between missions, though it is possible to upgrade your base to keep your companions happy. On the flipside, certain decisions and responses you make might see them turning away from you, so there’s often more to it than just giving them a full belly.
You’ll want to keep as many companions around as possible, especially since they’ll help out in the game’s grand finale. You’ll need that extra manpower if you want to storm the power station after all, so keeping them happy and on-board is imperative. It all makes for a bit of a juggling act, but an enjoyable one – it was always nice to see my base grow, my resource pool plentiful, and my allies happy, whilst venturing out on missions was definitely fun.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There’s a lot I liked about Chernobylite, with the blend of action, stealth, and exploration making for a cool little mix. I loved the atmosphere of the game, and whilst it was never overly scary, I did feel on edge given the eerie sense of suspense and the fact I never quite knew what I’d come across next. That being said, there were some areas it could falter – some missions could get repetitive with similar objectives and tasks for example, whilst the aforementioned shooting issues could get frustrating. The voice acting is poor too, with it actually hurting the storytelling at times.
At least it looks good on the PlayStation 5 though, with two graphic modes on offer. One offers all the fancy bells and whistles with super sharp visuals, ray tracing, and a 4K resolution, but plays at 30fps, whilst the other loses a few visual features but plays at a slick 60fps frame rate. Both look really great in-game thanks to Chernobylite’s impressive-looking world so it’s literally down to preference – do you want the game to look the best it can, or do you want the smoothness of 60fps?
Chernobylite offers an enjoyable and suspenseful adventure that’s only really let down by some repetitive missions and iffy gunplay.
I had a good time exploring its world, uncovering resources to build up my base, and seeing how my decisions affected my companions, whilst it was always satisfying to sneak through an enemy base taking out enemies. It just needed a little bit more excitement in places, especially since you do a lot of the same things throughout your adventure and the shooting mechanics can be cumbersome.
There’s certainly a lot more good than bad though, whilst Chernobylite’s transition to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X has been a successful one thanks to the slick selection of visual options.
Developer: Farm 51
Publisher: All In! Games, Farm 51
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC