Chernobylite is a game that sets players on a journey to explore Chernobyl with a dash of sci-fi horror mixed in. If you're a fan of STALKER or Metro 2033, this is a game you're going to want to play.
This new game from The Farm 51 has been out of Steam Early Access for a little more than a week. It seems familiar enough at first glance, especially if you enjoy the kinds of games where you have to don a gas mask and trudge through an irradiated wasteland. After 25 hours with the game, I think it's something that's well worth checking out — especially for fans of stuff like STALKER and Metro 2033.
Chernobylite, STALKER, and Metro 2033 Have a Shared Legacy
To understand Chernobylite, you need to understand its roots. Gamers might recognize gameplay or story elements similar to what you see in the STALKER games or the Metro 2033 games. That's a fair point, but all three of these franchises — and dozens of other games — owe their legacy to something else entirely.
All of these games are connected by similar themes, but they each have their own unique spin.
Some would rightly argue that all three franchises (and similar titles) owe their legacy to Arkady Strugatsky's seminal work Roadside Picnic, a book about rebellious young men traveling into "The Zone" to retrieve mysterious alien artifacts. Others would say that it all comes down to Stalker (also available to watch with English subtitles), a 1979 film that adapts the book to the silver screen.
The unifying element between the three, however, is the dangers of radiation adapted to the themes of Roadside Picnic and the Stalker film. The Stalker games and Chernobylite are about exploring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the aftermath of a power plant's meltdown. The Metro 2033 games, on the other hand, are more about living in the aftermath of nuclear war. All of these games are connected by similar themes, but they each have their own unique spin.
Treading Through the Post-Apocalypse
The original STALKER games were largely open-world experiences, as is Metro Exodus. Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, however, operate on a chapter-based narrative that has gamers working their way through linear levels. Chernobylite blends the two ways of telling the story into something distinct.
You're going to need all of the herbs and scrap metal you can find.
There is no true "open world" in Chernobylite; rather, you have the option to visit a handful of fixed locations. The levels themselves, however, are wide open and rife for exploration. You'll return to them many times, and it's always worth checking out every nook and cranny (especially after you get Lockpicks and Anti-Chernobylite Burners to open up new paths).
You can choose to progress the story, but you can also simply play a Radiant-style quest to steal supplies from mercenary forces in the area. Along the way, you'll be joined by companions who can run missions of their own and help you scavenge useful goods — as long as you make the right story choices.
Regardless of how you decide to explore The Zone, you'll want to keep your eyes open for every useful item you can grab. You're going to need all of the herbs and scrap metal you can find. After all, you have a grand heist to plan.
Chernobylite, Metro 2033, and STALKER each have different takes on the gameplay itself. Metro 2033 tends to lend itself towards conserving resources and kitbashed guns made from scrap metal. STALKER is more about hardy adventurers exploring a tiny corner of the Earth with the best equipment they can get. Chernobylite does a bit of both.
On the one hand, Chernobylite has the classic three guns: pistols, shotguns, and rifles. It also has, however, some more sci-fi stuff that would be better suited to Fallout such as a Railgun and a Molecular Plasma Thrower. You can find these guns out in the world or you can craft them, and all of them (save for the Molecular Plasma Thrower) can be customized to change their functionality like in Metro Exodus.
Things get taken a step further with your base "The Refuge." This bit of the game is somewhat similar to Fallout 4: you can gain companions, build crafting stations, and store your spoils in-between missions. The Refuge doesn't just serve as a resting place in-between missions — it's also the base of operations for your final, grand task to return to the Chernobyl Power Plant in force and solve the game's grand mystery.
A Fresh Take on Established Gameplay
So, is Chernobylite more like STALKER or Metro 2033? The answer: It's somewhere in the middle, and that's why fans of either of those games should check it out. You're sure to find something to love in The Farm 51's latest game.
Without spoiling too much of the story, you'll find more than your fair share of scary, otherworldly moments, just as you'd expect from Metro 2033 or Stalker. There are mutants, radiation, and deadly enemies to overcome. The plot of Chernobylite feels familiar, but it's different enough that it's worth experiencing even if you have hundreds of hours in the Metro 2033 and Stalker franchises.
You'll find more than your fair share of scary, otherworldly moments, just as you'd expect from Metro 2033 or Stalker.
Creating a game with this style of story isn't easy, especially when there are established properties that are well-loved by veteran and newer gamers alike. Still, Chernobylite is something that is worth your time; you can buy it on Steam right now for $29.99 or your regional equivalent. Besides — we're a long ways away from the next Stalker or Metro 2033 game.
Disclosure: Amazon works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from some links in this article.