Chernobylite Review - An Enjoyable Horror Shooter RPG Mystery Game

What the hell is a Chernobylite? It sounds like a light radioactive beer. It refers to a new radioactive compound born from the infamous nuclear plant meltdown.
Chernobylite is a survival horror RPG set in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl 30 years after the event of the devastating historical meltdown. Developed by The Farm 51, a Polish-based development team that traveled to Ukraine to scan the real-world site.

*THERE MAY BE SPOILERS*

Chernobylite was released on PC in July 2021, later coming to consoles in September. Now there is a free Next-Gen upgrade for consoles and PC, and I was asked to check the game out and share what dark secrets I found buried deep in the ruins of Chernobyl. I was interested in this game then, as it looked similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro. I am also always on board for a good horror experience. As some may know, I am a horror game enthusiast and try to play most of them (Fight me, Maria, for top horror game connoisseur, check out her article on The Nightmare Inside).


When I first read the description for Chernobylite, I scoffed at the “horror” part and thought, “Yeah, let’s see.” To Chernobylite's credit, it actually has some very tense moments and amazing sound design that will leave many stopping dead and spinning around to find what nightmare just made such a horrible noise, but not me, at least not after the first few times. I have also been pleasantly spooked by a few good jump scares and have gotten severe goosebumps from some of the truly eerie visions you see. There is a point where you come across a room with a single TV on with a gaggle of dolls all watching the TV. When you turn the TV off, everything goes black, and you hear giggling, and the dolls have vanished *shudder*.

A Brief Lesson in History

Igor's missing Tatyana

Here is some background, you play as Igor Khymynyuk, a physicist that had previously worked at the Chernobyl plant and is now in search of his fiancée Tatyana, who went missing in the disaster. Straight away, something feels… wrong! You start on a train and Igor is looking for Tatyana, who has disappeared. You follow her image, which turns to ash as you approach, and monsters appear. After learning how to move and shoot, you wake up to learn that it was all a dream. Igor is on a mission to infiltrate the old Chernobyl plant with some companions, and of course, things go very wrong. The plant is now guarded by a military sect called the NAR. You barely manage to escape to a refuge in an old warehouse with Olivier, a STALKER ("STALKER" is a backronym for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, and Robbers) you hardly know or trust. It is here that Chernobylite starts to define itself.

An anomaly strikes while looking for resources

To survive in the exclusion zone and find out what happened to Tatyana, you need to face each day tactically, preparing yourself, your allies, and your base for what is to come. Similar to Fallout 4’s building, you are tasked with clearing out your base and building a hospitable living environment. If you like crafting, you are in for a treat as just about everything in the game can be crafted, provided you have the materials and lots and lots of mushrooms! (I don’t know why, but many of the recipes require mushrooms, bleh). In order to get the materials you need for all the furnishings of your beautiful hillside apocalypse camp, you need to forage, salvage, and pick clean bodies you come across or make. I can’t remember another game that made me feel like collecting resources was so critically vital to success except maybe The Last of Us, but even that doesn’t feel as crucial in comparison. Thankfully, each mission gives you a preview of the kind of resources you are likely to find.

Let's Mix It Up

Missions and character progression are refreshingly different. While not as open-ended as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Chernobylite is a more confined experience. You are tasked with various missions, but you can only do one mission per day per character. Not something you typically see in games like this. You can assign missions to your companions to complete while taking on a mission of your choice. After completing your objective, you return to base to see how your companions fared and give out rations. Rations and base upkeep are crucial to keeping yourself and your companions healthy and “happy.” In true RPG fashion, you earn XP for just about everything you do, and when you level up, you earn a skill point. Unlike most RPGs, the way you use the skill point is very clever. Instead of opening a menu screen and looking at a list of skills to unlock, you have to talk to your allies and ask them to train you in areas that they are experts in. Olivier, for example, trains in the use of pistols and stealth. When you ask to receive training, you ACTUALLY do the training! Not just bing! Now you know how to do this. I found this to be a very cool mechanic, which added a lot of realism to an otherwise fantastical supernatural setting. 

The workshop.

That training is necessary as Igor being a scientist, is not the greatest shot. In the early hours, it is better to rely on stealth and sneaky takedowns on the NAR soldiers that patrol the exclusion zone. It also affects your psyche when you kill people adding even more weight to your choices and how you deal with your foes. There are a number of factors that affect Igor’s psyche and health, including radiation poisoning. You can craft various items to address these ailments but it costs a lot of resources. I found myself hesitating to take out guards in my way as I knew it would devastate my psyche, which I had little to no treatment for. Then I found vodka!

Parks And Recreation Vodka GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I decided to see what happens if you drink the bottles of “alcohol” you find and to my joy, it completely refilled my psyche. Meaning I could continue on my now drunken murder spree. After getting a few lessons in shooting, I was satisfied with how much better I was performing in firefights. I went from narrowly surviving a shootout with my measly pistol to dropping multiple soldiers before reloading. Hard work does pay off!

Fellow Couch Soup writer and player of video games Andrew Lucy, had played Chernobylite when it first launched, so I asked him to share some of his thoughts on the game.

Andrew’s Take
While playing Chernobylite on the Enhanced PC Edition, I found myself comparing the incredible atmosphere and graphics to that of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with its constant supernatural elements, music style, First Person Shooter, and storytelling. This game is BEAUTIFUL, and with its intuitive game mechanics, you will not have a hard time picking it up and playing for long periods.

After spending a little time playing this game, I found out that the dev team at The Farm 51 had ventured out to the Exclusion Zone in Ukraine to map out locations in and around Pripyat to give you that haunted feeling of an abandoned place. That kind of research for a game should at least give you a little insight into how much love was put into this game! 

Another thing I found out when playing was that there is no Freeplay on the console edition, which was odd to me since it is on the PC version. Freeplay is a mode where you can go to any location in Chernobylite and experiment with the weather, guns, have events happen, and perks! It's more of a sandbox feel, and the mode separates from the storyline, giving you a place to experiment with the game how you see fit.

"KILL IT!"

If you love horror games with shooting mechanics, a dash of intricate game mechanics, and a story to keep you hooked, you will love Chernobylite”.

That’s a Whole Lotta Green

I am glad that Andrew touched on the work that the developer put into creating Chernobylite and that they had 3D scanned the actual environments. Fortunately, they were able to do this before the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It is difficult to not be aware of current world events while playing a game set in an already scarred part of human history. The environment looks incredible for a budget-priced game. The look and aesthetics are the first things I noticed about Chernobylite. Its vibrant use of greens contrasts an otherwise desolate world. The Xbox Series X version I played seemed to have a fair amount of motion blur, which can be distracting but not enough to ruin the experience. You can tell where The Farm 51 cut back on some things like facial animations, as most characters have a mask on, but this allowed them to pack so much into the game. There is such an incredible amount of detail in every piece of equipment, computer monitor, and random tools. It is hard to believe this is not a typical $60 or $70 game. Enough to make you wonder why the big publishers and studios are not putting out better quality sometimes.

Creatures like these are rare but challenging.

Geiger Counter Results

Chernobylite is an enjoyable horror shooter RPG mystery packed with science and sci-fi-y to make any nerd, nerd more. The solid gameplay could be akin to a Metal Gear Solid spinoff as you desperately sneak around and evade your foes. Your choices feel impactful and allow for variations in individual playthroughs with some genuinely memorable story beats and hilarious dialogue with some of the not-so-sane characters. A few bugs tend to cause it to crash, and frame rate drops can lead to some jarring moments. If The Farm 51 had a bigger budget and more time, this game would really shine. An otherwise beautiful presentation, fascinating story, and genuine good time make Chernobylite a great game, 8 out of 10 Soups.

When asked for a score Andrew agreed that although not perfect, Chernobylite is a fun game worth your attention. Andrew’s Score: 8 out of 10 Soups

Are you a fan of the begotten wastelands riddled with nuclear waste and radioactive monsters and mutants? Have you played or want to play Chernobylite? Let us know in the comments.

Check out the gameplay trailer
https://youtu.be/IP0BrPe5gok

Monthly Gaming Update: March 2022

All the video games going straight into your backlog this month! If you thought February was an intense month, here comes March swinging with some out of nowhere heavy hitters. Ghostwire and Kirby, both getting surprise date reveals, have launched March into the stratosphere like a homerun bat smash in Super Smash Bros. 2022 is already shaping up to be one hell of a year with Elden Ring receiving high praise across the board, and we don’t even know most of the games slated for the holiday season. OK, I’m going back to playing Elden Ring before these bad boys drop.

March’s Highlights

Gran Turismo 7 - Mar 4th (PS4, PS5)

The Granddaddy of simulation racing is back! Gran Turismo 7 is car fans and stans dream come to life. Get behind the wheel of over 420 real-life cars and compete in casual, competitive, and GT career races on real tracks across the world. Showcasing some of the best visuals to date with ray tracing, 4k and HDR support targeting 60 fps. The PlayStation 5 version will feature haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, but not on PS4. We shall see how this PS5 brewed game holds up on the PS4 when it launches. The original GT 2 was one of the first racing games I ever played, and it made me a fan, so let’s see if they can recapture the magic.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Borderlands DnD version is here. Wait, Wonderlands is here. This Borderlands spin-off that takes place in the universe as a DnD style board game being played by the characters… ah yeah, it gets weird. Like Borderlands, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will have you choose from a list of classes to set out on a wild and zany adventure with an over-the-top twist on Dungeons and Dragons but played like a first-person shooter with spells and numbers flying out of people’s heads when you shoot them. Anyone familiar with previous games will be right at home with the rock-solid shooter RPG mechanics, and new players have a lot to look forward to.

Ghostwire: Tokyo - Mar 25th (PS5, PC)

From famed game director Shinji Mikami comes Ghostwire: Tokyo. This game looks like a Japanese horror movie come to life. Tokyo has been overrun by a deadly supernatural force that has made the population disappear, except you. Teaming up with a powerful spectral entity, you will wield devastating elemental powers and use ghost hunting skills to battle the supernatural. Ghostwire is labeled as an Action-Adventure game, but come on. Look at it, it looks terrifying, and it’s from the creator of Resident Evil and the studio that made The Evil Within! It’s going to be spooky, haunting, and beautiful! I have been excited about this since its announcement, and Bam! Now it is here!

Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Mar 25th (Switch)

Kirby, everyone’s favorite pink puffball that eats everything, is getting his own open-world adventure on Nintendo Switch. Kirby games are notorious for being baby games (super easy) besides Kirby’s Adventure on Game Boy; that game was hella hard! Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks to give Kirby the Mario Odyssey treatment allowing Kirby to explore large, open, and lush environments. We all know Kirby likes to suck up enemies and absorb their powers, but now he can take on huge things like cars, and you know, be a car or a vending machine? Kirby has always been one of my favorite characters to play in Smash Bros. The difficulty of his own games has made them a rather dull endeavor for a grown man to enjoy. Here’s hoping that this one has some challenge to it cause it looks fun.

March 2022’s Release Schedule

Conan Chop Chop - Mar 1st (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

ELEX II - Mar 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Far: Changing Tides - Mar 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Game Pass, Switch, PC)

The Cruel King and the Great Hero - Mar 1st (PS4, Switch)

Shadow Warrior 3 - Mar 1st (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Babylon's Fall - Mar 3rd (PS4, PS5, PC)

Legends of Ixtona - Mar 3rd (Xbox, PC)

Gran Turismo 7 - Mar 4th (PS4, PS5)

Ryan's Rescue Squad - Mar 4th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Triangle Strategy - Mar 4th (Switch)

Aztech Forgotten Gods - Mar 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

The Last Cube - Mar 9th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

RPG Time: The Legend of Wright - Mar 9th (Xbox, PC)

Submerged: Hidden Depths - Mar 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC, Stadia)

Century: Age of Ashes -  Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök - Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC, Stadia)

Time Loader - Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox. Switch, PC)

Hotel Transylvania: Scary Tale Adventure - Mar 10th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

WWE 2K22 - Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Disco Elysium The Final Cut - Mar 15th (Switch)

Five Nights at Freddy’s Security Breach - Mar 15th (PS4, PS5)

Grand Theft Auto V Next-Gen Upgrade - Mar 15th (PS5, Xbox)

Phantom Breaker: Omnia - Mar 15th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

The Cruel King and the Great Hero - Mar 15th (PS4, Switch)

ANNO: Mutationem -  Mar 16th (PS4, PS5, PC)

Tunic -  Mar 16th (Xbox, PC)

Monster Energy Supercross 5 - Mar 16th (PS5, Xbox, PC)

Gal Gun: Double Peace - Mar 17th (Switch)

Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin - Mar 17th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands - Mar 22nd (Switch)

Grow: Song of the Evertree - Mar 22nd (Switch)

Rune Factory 5 - Mar 22nd (Switch)

Relayer - Mar 23rd (PS4, PS5)

The Ascent - Mar 24th (PS5)

Oddballers - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC, Stadia, Luna)

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Dodgeball Academia - Mar 25th (PS4, Switch)

Ghostwire: Tokyo - Mar 25th (PS5, PC)

Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Mar 25th (Switch)

Skul: The Hero Slayer - Mar 25th (Switch)

Stranded Deep - Mar 25th (Switch)

Crusader Kings 3 - Mar 29th (PS5, Xbox)

WRC 10 - Mar 29th (Switch)

Ikai - Mar 29th (PS4, PS5, Switch, PC)

CRYSTAR - Mar 31st (Switch) 

Shredders -  Mar TBD (Xbox)

Weird West - Mar 31 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Miss last month's update? Check out February 2022’s releases right here!

Which of these will you be playing? Which are getting added to the pile of your backlog? Let us know.

Monthly Gaming Update: February 2022

February will have some of the biggest games of 2022 and one of the most anticipated games of the last few years, Bassmaster Fishing 2022. No, not really, it's Elden Ring. Kicking 2022 into high gear will also be a new PlayStation exclusive and a very, very long-awaited sequel that many consider one of the best zombie games out there. Let the many, many hours of gameplay begin!

February’s Highlights

Dying Light 2 Stay Human - Feb 4th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Dying Light 2 is the long-awaited sequel to 2015s Dying Light. Set 20 years after the events of the first game, you are a wanderer named Aiden, trying to find his young sister in what is being called a new Dark Age. Humanity survives on the brink, and your choices will change the fate of The City and the people in it. Featuring advanced parkour movement and creative weapons allows for visceral and clever combat. What has me excited is that the entire game can be played in co-op with up to three friends, and you can see how the city changes based on their decisions. 

Rosario Dawson also stars as Lawan, one of the main NPC characters you interact with, who you can also influence with your choices. According to the devs via Twitter, they have noted that the main campaign takes 20 hours to complete, 80 to finish all the side quests, and 500 hours to get 100% of the game. WOW! Let's go bash some skulls.

Sifu - Feb 8th (PS5, PC)

Sifu is the game that will let you live out that fantasy of beating up thugs in a hallway you’ve had ever since watching Daredevil do it on Netflix. There is an excellent parody of that scene on the Joel Mchale show too, but I digress. Developed by Slowclap games, known for their martial arts-inspired Soulslike, Absolver. A third-person action game focusing on intense hand-to-hand combat, Sifu has you assume the role of a young student of Pak-Mei Kung Fu. Your family has been killed by assassins, and it is up to you to seek great vengeance. Use of the environment, throwable objects, and makeshift weapons assist you in your conquest through a gang-ridden city. If you fail, you pay the price in time, which is the unique feature of Sifu I look forward to seeing. Every time you die, your character ages but is also allowed to unlock abilities and skills. This applies a simple rogue-like element that will enable you to carry over certain knowledge when you eventually die of old age and start again.

Horizon Forbidden West - Feb 18th (PS4, PS5)

Dinosaurs? Check. Robots? Check. Robot Dinosaurs? Drops the clipboard and yells excitedly. Horizon Zero Dawn had probably one of the coolest ideas to ever come out of video games. It has also received much fan love and praise. Now, Horizon Forbidden West, the much-anticipated PS5 and now PS4 sequel is finally here. Forbidden West will see the return of Aloy as she takes on a new evil that threatens us all, but I believe Aloy can save the world (Que Avatar theme Song).

Horizon Forbidden West will boast an all-star cast with the return of Ashley Burch as Aloy and Lance Reddick. Joining is Carrie-Anne Moss and Angela Basset to round out the lineup. It seems that a lot of the greatest concerns for the first game have been addressed as well. I think we all remember the conversations in Zero Dawn where we couldn't tell if we were looking at people or the robot dinosaurs that we were hunting. I am excited to see how they have improved an already good game and fight more crazy robot dinosaurs!

Eldin Ring - Feb 25th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

“Return to your world, Tarnished.” What does that mean? Who knows, it's a Miyazaki game. Elden Ring is the extremely, highly, incredibly anticipated game from FromSoftware and Director Hidetaka Miyazaki and famed author George R.R. Martin. Sounds like a nightmare match in purgatory as both of these men create worlds of immense suffering and death, and I am excited. I love Game of Thrones, and I love FromSoftware’s Souls games. To explain these games is like explaining to my 4-year-old why she can't have ice cream for breakfast. Impossible. Like the story in a Souls game, information for Elden Ring was scarce until very recently, which led to much speculation and considerable hype. For those unfamiliar, Souls games and Elden Ring are generally very challenging games that make you “Get Good.” Still, they do it in very clever ways that make you learn from your mistakes and overcome the hurdles presented. The level of challenge is very different from a hard setting on most games, which just makes it so you die quicker. Our very own Liz Phoenix wrote about her excitement for Elden Ring, even though she has never played a Souls game before. I cannot wait.

February 2022’s Release Schedule

Life is Strange Remastered Collection - Feb 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC, Switch, Stadia)

Webbed - Feb 1st (Xbox, Switch)

The Sacred Ampoule - Feb 2nd (Xbox, Switch)

Dreamscaper - Feb 3rd (Xbox)

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment - Feb 3rd (Switch)

Dying Light 2 Stay Human - Feb 4th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Maglam Lord - Feb 4th (PS4, Switch)

Death end re - Fe 8th (PS4, Switch)

OlliOlli World - Feb 8th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Rumbleverse - Feb 8th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Sifu - Feb 8th (PS4, PS5, PC)

Youtubers Life 2 - Feb 8th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

KungfFu Kickball - Feb 9th (Xbox)

Besiege - Feb 10th (Xbox)

Crossfire X - Feb 10th (Xbox)

Edge of Eternity - Feb 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox) 

Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind Cloud Version - Feb 10th (Switch)

KINGDOM HEARTS - HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX - Cloud Version - Feb 10th (Switch)

KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Cloud Version - Feb 10th (Switch)

KINGDOM HEARTS INTEGRUM MASTERPIECE for Cloud - Feb 10th (Switch)

Egglia Rebirth - Feb 10th (Switch)

Ocean’s Heart - Feb 10th (Switch)

Powerslave Exhumed - Feb 10 (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Rise of the Third Power - Feb 10th (Xbox, Switch)

Grand Theft Auto: Trilogy - The Definitive Edition - Feb 11th (Switch)

Bassmaster Fishing 2022 - Feb 15th (PS5, Xbox)

Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires - Feb 15th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

The King of Fighters XV - Feb 17th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Total War: Warhammer III - Feb 17th (PC)

Horizon Forbidden West - Feb 18th (PS4, PS5)

Monster Crown - Feb 21st (PS4, Xbox)

Assetto Corsa Competizione - Feb 22nd (PS5, Xbox)

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen - Feb 22nd (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

MONARK - Feb 22th (PS4, PS5, Switch)

Truck Driver - Feb 22nd (PS5, Xbox)

Martha is Dead - Feb 23rd (PS4, PS5)

Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream - Feb 25th (PS4, Switch)

Eldin Ring - Feb 25th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Grid Legends - Feb 25th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Far: Changing Tides - Feb 28th (PS4, PS5)

Miss last month's update? Check out January’s 2022’s releases right here!

What will you be playing this month?