Chernobylite: The flawed masterpiece

Chernobylite is a science fiction survival video game and was recently released for the PS5 and Xbox One series. The game has received mixed reviews over the time since its release, but here are some reasons as to why I think Chernobylite is a flawed masterpiece.

Setting and Plot

The game is set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 30 years after the Chernobyl Disaster. After the disaster, a strange material called Chernobylite begins to appear in the Zone. This attracts extradimensional creatures called Shadows that are hostile towards humans.

Interested in Chernobylite’s potential applications, the entire zone has been leased out to military contractors in order to carry out experiments.

Igor who is the protagonist decides to travel to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to find answers after he receives a picture of his missing wife Tatyana. The player assumes control over Igor and will have to keep him alive, and will eventually have to recruit others to form a team who will aid him in his quest.

It is the atmosphere in which the game is set in, and how well the developers capture and depict this isolated and daunting environment that really gives the player a true sense of fear and loneliness.

The entire design of the map goes to great lengths to portray the old crumbling Soviet structures, smoggy air, ruined towns, and strange flora are what really make the setting perfect for a survival type of game.

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Chernobylite has been scrutinised for its lack of a featured play style. The player is free to try a realistic shooting approach, stealth or an RPG style. However, none of these play styles is completely developed and as a result, combat is not a strong point for the game.

But, here is where it gets interesting. Although the combat is questionable, the true aspect of the game is the decision making that the player will have to make through the course of the story.

Choosing to save and ally with a survivor, or choosing to exploit them can lead to very different consequences. Should a player choose to save the wrong person, they might find themselves caught in a trap or even a death chamber.

On the other hand, should the player choose to execute a survivor due to a lack of trust, they might find themselves missing someone with a particular set of skills.

The best part of the decision-making system is that players can travel from place to place through wormholes and revisit the decisions they make and have the ability to change them, which in turn can lead to completely new outcomes.

Another talking point about Chernobylite is the people the player can recruit to their base. There are five in total, each with their own traumas, missions and strange tales to tell. 

The player will have to keep the crew’s morale by keeping them well-fed and sufficiently bedded, as well as managing their disagreements while making key story decisions at the same time.

Overall, Chernobylite captures the landscape brilliantly, while having a captivating story and characters along with a decision-making system that really does affect the outcome.

Although the gameplay does not have a solid foundation, stealth is the most viable option for players and once the player gets used to it, the combat won’t be a game-breaking issue. It is the atmosphere and team-building that give Chernobylite its uniqueness when it comes to survival-based games.

What do you think about Chernobylite? Let us know down in the comments below.

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