The game Chernobylite from the native studio The Farm 51 has come a really long way – fundraising on a kickstarter, over two years in early access on the Steam platform, the premiere on PC and finally the console debut. And it is in this review that we will focus on the last stage of development, although I hope that the developers have not said the last word yet and we will see optimization for PS5 and XSX soon. Chernobylite is a unique game for many reasons. It is loaded with various mechanics and constitutes a specific genre mix, which means that the entry threshold has been set quite high. It’s not that this is a particularly difficult game, but so loaded with a variety of content that we can feel lost for the first 2-3 hours. But let’s start from the beginning. Chernobylite presents an alternative version of the events that took place during and after the Chernobyl nuclear rector’s disaster. We play the role of Igor, a middle-aged scientist who, many years after the events of 1986, tries to find his beloved. Tatiana also worked at a power plant, but went missing mysteriously during its failure. The first hours of the game are total chaos – we wander around the forest after a ghost of a woman, after a while we shoot the rifle at the soldiers emerging from the ground and when it seems that we have died suddenly with two companions, we take part in an action in which we get to the reactor’s vicinity, to steal the title mineral. This one is responsible for the disappearance of the beloved hero and allows you to travel in time using the technology created after the infamous accident at a nuclear power plant. During the action, however, not everything goes as planned and one of our companions dies. Admittedly, the beginning, although chaotic, heralds an intriguing story. And when we hope that after the initial confusion we will be thrown into the whirlpool of action, we turn into the perfect housewife and start cleaning.
We come to our base, which we have to clean, and then use the collected materials to build items needed for our modest, because only two-person team. We must take care of a place to sleep or a generator. Because, as you know, when a stalker is sleepy and cold, it is a bad stalker. After taking over the hangar, we have a chat with our comrade-in-arms and it suddenly turns out that the latest production from Get Even’s creators does not avoid elements characteristic of RPGs. The dialogue issues we choose have a real impact on our relations with our companions or with the characters we meet in the Zone. Exactly, Zona, it’s high time to choose one of the missions from the list of missions to get some resources and food. These are needed not only for us, but also for our comrades.Its success, however, is never certain and depends on the skills of a specific character, their well-being, health and equipment. So we’re going on our first mission and we don’t really know what to expect. Who are we going to fight, the NAR soldiers occupying the exclusion zone, or the monsters? Avoid clashes, or maybe eliminate every opponent on our way? The first mission quickly ended with my failure, the pistol turned out to be a poor weapon, and the firing system practically doomed us to failure when we are under fire. In addition, Igor himself is not a military killing machine and each murder has a negative effect on his mental condition, which we must take care of in parallel with his physical health. And while I wait for the mission to resume, it turns out that I have been captured by the NAR troops and must get out of the military base, taking the equipment taken by the enemy on the way. During the escape, however, I die again, and to my surprise, there is no return to the unsuccessful mission. The task simply failed, but there is nothing wrong with it that would not turn out to be good. We can use death in a world where space-time portals can be used to our advantage by changing our knowledge of the past or the future.
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Until then, overwhelmed by the multitude of mechanics and the ubiquitous chaos, we can feel tired of Chernobylite. However, it is not worth giving up, because in fact, now we will start having fun, which will allow us to have a lot of joy in exploring the zone and discovering new fragments of the story. All thanks to story missions that we cannot entrust to our companion, but our possible failures have an impact on the further course of the game. The exclusion zone makes a great impression, so we are eagerly exploring it in search of raw materials. In the forest, we can find plants needed to make medicines, while exploring blocks of flats abandoned 30 years ago, we find food rations and ammunition, mask filters, and raw materials necessary for their production. Importantly, we can produce ammunition, or even an ointment for radiation sickness, at any time in the field. Weapons, food, mechanical and electronic parts can also be purchased during commercial transactions. We carry out these with our companions from the base and the individuals we meet in the Zone. For some, we can also perform small missions and recruit them to our team. The zone is a very dangerous place where not only NAR soldiers or monsters lurk our lives, but also the environment. Some places have such high radiation that it is highly risky to be in them without a mask with replaceable filters.The arsenal of weapons at our disposal to deal with enemies is not very rich, but we also do not feel the need to increase it during the game. It is more important that each weapon can be modified, which increases its usefulness. It is worth adding that by completing missions, discovering plot items or eliminating enemies, we gain points that allow us to reach the next levels. These, in turn, are used to develop our character’s skills. Thanks to training conducted by our comrades in arms, we can learn to sneak quieter or stun enemies. After the first not very good impression, Chernobylite quickly begins to transform into a unique game, which is hard to pass by indifferently. The multitude of mechanics, amazing atmosphere and original story are the elements that, after the initial chaos, come together into a coherent whole and do not allow us to tear ourselves away from the game. The Farm 5 seems to have finally managed to make the competent structure game that Get Even was supposed to be six years ago. Unfortunately, as is often the case with AA production, the limited budget again did not allow it to fully unfold its wings. One of the things that hit me the most while playing Chernobylite was voice acting. Dubbing cannot be listened to without grinding your teeth in both the Russian and English versions. Of course, my first choice was Russian dubbing, but the exaggerated acting and the forced expression of emotions smacked of artificiality and amateurism. Fortunately, the font in the inscriptions is so small that instead of enjoying the atmosphere built up by the dubious original language version, I struggled to understand anything. Changing the language to English removed the problems with understanding the characters, but still did not spoil my senses. What’s funny, both language versions have completely different characteristics of the timbre of the voices of individual characters, which completely changes their perception. During the production of Chernobylite, the developers used photometry technology, thanks to which the luminaire is extremely atmospheric and detailed. As I mentioned before, the exclusion zone makes a great impression, but graphically the game leaves a bit to be desired. The quality of the textures is so low that sometimes I couldn’t believe that the object was already loaded. The creators also cleverly eliminated a possible problem with face animations. It’s just that all characters in the game always have a gas mask on, even while in the base. Character models and their animations are at a pretty decent level. Unfortunately, the technical condition of Chernobylite failed me several times on the console. I haven’t experienced any major bugs worth mentioning, but the game kicked me into the system a few times.The creators from the Polish studio have created an interesting and unique title, which with the multitude of mechanics can embarrass many high-budget products. And although some of the elements of The Farm 51 came out well at best, the interesting history and atmosphere are compensated by minor stumbles. I just hope that the developers will fix technical bugs and will try to patch with textures worthy of the current generation consoles.