Chernobylite preview (PC)

Time for a look at The Farm 51’s upcoming game Chernobylite, showcased during Gamescom and recently launched in Steam’s Early Access program.

What we know

Chernobylite is the new game from the developers of Get Even, building on their experience developing first person shooters with a new sci-fi horror approach to the popular Chernobyl setting we previously saw in games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Combining elements of survival horror, crafting and the supernatural, the game is also partly a mysterious thriller.

The area of Chernobyl has been faithfully recreated for the game, which creates an eerie sense of suspense as you traverse it. You do so in search of a long lost loved one, whom you’re grown to believe still resides inside the famed exclusion zone. You’re not there alone though, and dangers also arise from a parallel dimension that you travel in and out of.

Released into Early Access this October, the game will periodically receive content updates over the next year or so. This includes story content as well, so the campaign won’t be content complete until the planned final release in the winter of 2020/2021.

chernobylite

What we saw

We met with The Farm 51 during Gamescom back in August and had a half hour hands on session with the game during that meeting as well as some Q&A time. Soon after, we found out that that Chernobylite was heading towards Early Access very soon, so we made sure we also got a little hands on time with that version as well.

What we thought

Our first impression of Chernobylite was excellent – as we dove into the game and worked our way through a small wooded area to get to a guarded facility, there was a great sense of atmosphere and tension. This continued as we entered the facility by breaching its fences, as guards were on the lookout and we needed to evade their patrols.

Later on, we made it underground and further into the structure, and the final part of the demo took place inside an alternate reality. You’ll be able to sample a lot of this in the current Early Access build as well, so take a look for yourself since the game’s being offered at a very competitive price at this stage.

chernobylite3

The atmosphere is top notch already, and looks to be a major part of the experience. The first person shooter and cover dynamics also work very well, especially in tandem with the atmosphere and real life locations. Having a mystery to solve, with a few sinister undertones, feels like a promising narrative. Because really…. no one could really be alive in there after all this time, right?

The alternate reality zone, with its green hues, looked a bit Matrix-like (but with creatures), and it’s currently a bit of a question mark for us in terms of how well it will fit with the real life terror that exudes from the dark depiction of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone in this game. A similar question mark hovers over the crafting system as well, because in our demo we picked up what probably amounted to two truckloads worth of stuff in a manner of seconds, which kind of broke the immersion a little bit.

Get Even was good, but also a victim of trying to do and be too much within the scope of a single game. Let’s hope Chernobylite doesn’t go overboard in this sense – when you’re trapped into a radioactive zone with feelings of claustrophobia and overwhelming odds, sometimes ‘less is more’ to create a terrifying experience. If the atmosphere we’ve seen is anything to go by, Chernobylite could be terrifying indeed.

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