|Your setting. It is magnificent.||The handling is not as smooth as it should be. It feels heavy.|
|The intelligence of its development, which camouflages its limitations.||60fps mode should have had more resolution.|
|We don’t know how, but collecting resources and developing the base ends up having a lot of fun.||Minor graphic errors.|
A few months ago the Xbox Generation already took a walk from the hands of fellow Javier Bassols through the version of The Zone proposed by The Farm 51 with Chernobylite. The experience, which you can read here, was highly interesting; however, some technical problems at the start clouded the final assessment. The bases were laid in our previous text. Still, for this version of Xbox Series X and S, I will tell you my impressions about the improvement and the entire title, since it has always been said that things can look different depending on the point of view.
To give us a bit of background, The Farm 51 has already tried its luck, and had critical success but not sales with the interesting Get Even together with Bandai Namco, a title that shares much more than it seems with Chernobylite. Not because of the plot or the location, far from it, but because of the way of treating the setting, the loneliness and the mystery with which both games deal with their proposals. Dark, oppressive places, dilapidated buildings, abandoned by time and the absence of a stable society. A breeding ground that already contained Get Even and that is easily extrapolated to The Zone and its abandonment by civilization since the Chernobyl accident.
An accident that, after isolating an incredible proportion of land, even an entire city, Pripyat, from the rest of humanity, provides enough of a halo of mystery that, together with radiation, is capable of fabricating endless nightmare tales. In Chernobylite, the proposal is curious because we are Igor, a brilliant scientist working in his day at the Chernobyl plant itself, 30 years ago. Since then, we have lost contact with his partner and companion, Tatiana. This she appears to us continuously in our reality, and that drags her to venture into The Zone to look for answers. Why her presence? Did she die, disappear without a trace, or is she alive in some dimension?
Again, the investigative component intervenes, as Igor hires a small team of mercenaries to help him in his task. As expected, the mission does not go as he wanted, and they look for a base from which to settle and continue investigating. Expanding the team, locating resources, and finding more lost data in The Zone will be our main objectives to launch another successful attempt to assault the central itself. Chernobylite tells us precisely that as Igor prepares for this new attempt. And let me tell you that the setting, thanks to the support of Xbox Series technology, is one of those that take your breath away.
- Developer: The Farm 51
- Genre(s): Action Adventure, Survival
- Multiplayer: No
- Link: Official site
One of the premises on which Chernobylite is based is that it shows the surroundings of The Zone with photographic realism. Through photogrammetry, The Farm 51 has managed to recreate the main, best-known areas around the Chernobyl power plant to get us to move around it. The wind that rocks the vegetation, the mysterious music, the strange sounds, and the geyser counter’s constant accompaniment join a high-quality graphic section to make it a practically independent title.
Because the setting is great, the complexity of the vegetation, the photorealistic buildings and an incredible lighting treatment, with the addition of Ray Tracing for the Quality mode on Xbox Series X, give a indisputable result. Perhaps debatable is the insufficient quality of the Performance mode at 60 fps. Still, it loses a lot of quality due to the use of a 1080p resolution; too little ambitious and given the more leisurely dynamics of the title, it is hardly worth it recommend.
That said, the improvements of Chernobylite in the graphic section remain in the Quality mode, where we will see better shadows, better textures, better visual and volumetric effects, better drawing distance, the change compared to the previous generation is palpable, at the same time that the 30 fps remain solid, although we continue to almost “feel” because it seems that sometimes they hide in front of us, some small graphical errors, which although they do not bother us, they do on a certain occasion make us worry about the environment itself in the that we move
The rather basic animations, the somewhat limited movement of our protagonist when we cross the area and some enemies that appear intelligent but are easy to fool, take us a bit out of the experience, but taking into account the whole, Chernobylite achieves that strange charming indie halo that draws you in hopelessly.
If you are looking for pure and hard action or think that you will advance only with shots, you would be quite wrong with Chernobylite. The setting is what sets the tone of the gameplay. A hostile, dangerous, strange and, at times, unknown environment will keep us in constant tension while we look for our objectives in each of the incursions that we make in The Zone. The advances along it will be slow, but safe, using the sprint button in a few moments, since the dangers are constant and unpredictable until we have them on us.
Each new exploration is savored, touched, and enjoyed with the music, the tense peace provided by the wild vegetation that has covered everything; it is an experience that players who remember with nostalgia the loneliness of the first STALKER or even from the last Fallouts. However, again we must not forget the dimensions of the title of The Farm 51, something that once we have visited all the available areas, we will realize. A HUB-like layout with missions is the game’s structure, which is carried out very cleverly.
We are divided by days, and from our base, each of them will decide where to go and where to send our companions (don’t worry because the number is small) to do optional missions to obtain food, ammunition or medicine. On this same basis, almost like a strategy game, we will have to build parts to access technology and certain amenities. Electricity, air quality and, above all, comfort will demand more modules, which will effectively require a system of resources.
Precisely at the beginning, it can be a bit tedious to collect useless things. Still, several missions later, I assure you that you will risk getting into a highly radioactive building to find food or several units of chemical products to keep expanding your needs. The combats are nothing to write home about. Still, they are also interesting, and we can even look around the corners to aim better, but no peepholes, with a screen completely clean of indicators except for the upper compass.
And it certainly has curious and interesting details, such as being able to acquire skills through the companions who join us. Talking with them, we can access a mini-tutorial where we will learn that skill. It is something very light and almost superfluous, but it is still fun to see that they have taken the trouble and not only that, a “+1” appears in our list of skills, and that’s it.
But all this revolves around Igor’s story. We have two important elements to highlight, the final assault, which we will have to prepare and the investigations in which we will be able to advance looking for clues, sometimes on optional paths within The Zone, to subsequently reconstruct a story that solves part of the mystery of Tatiana or the disturbing Dark Stalker that threatens our objectives. To do this, our character will be forced to make important decisions, which will change the development and at the same time will make our allies’ perception of us change, affecting our relationship with them. In addition, the title will allow itself the luxury of giving us a scare more than another, with an approach sometimes even something “survival horror”.
As we take longer to reach this goal, The Zone will change more and more. The chernobylite, the precious object that has extraordinary properties, also corrupts the place, if we take too long, everything will be more and more difficult: More enemy soldiers, more radioactive zones and surely more strange creatures will appear in our way. An interesting way to add variety to a possible replayability.
In our experience, which we have taken quite calmly, the extension of Chernobylite has gone above 18-20 hours, as we have tried not to leave anything behind and enjoy a calm but intense game. As we talked about above, we know that the title is really replayable because the development can change according to our decisions, but we don’t know to what extent it could affect the end. Therefore, it is best that you check it out for yourself. Definitely worth it.
If you fondly remember the first STALKER, which is now preparing its second part, I am sure that at least you will like Chernobylite. However, this, instead of offering an RPG-style open world, sticks to a more contained budget, divided by zones, not as large as it might seem at first, but as I usually say, they perfectly fulfill their objective. Nor does he want to go further and perhaps for now, we do not need more.
Because this update for Xbox Series X makes it more beautiful, improves its performance problems, adds a 60 fps mode so that the FPS experience is more fluid, but what you really end up enjoying is its great setting and how interesting it is. it becomes your argument. It won’t be GOTY, but it can certainly become that title that once you finished it, you’ll remember it fondly saying: “Damn, Chernobylite was so good, I hope a second part with more budget.”