Chernobylite begins with your main character, Igor Khymynyuk, walking dazed through a forest. He’s haunted by visions of his missing fiancée, Tatyana, prior to experiencing flashbacks related to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster (and the game’s particular twist related to this event). Then, you’ll reach your base of operations where you’ll learn more about the mechanics and sandbox structure. Here’s our Chernobylite beginner’s guide to help you with survival tips, crafting basics, and mission progression.
Note: For more information, check out our Chernobylite guides and features hub.
Chernobylite beginner’s guide – Survival, crafting, and mission progression tips for newcomers
Gathering, crafting, and building
Chernobylite has several difficulty options that you can tweak prior to starting the campaign. A couple of these are related to survival and management. The former refers to the number of resources that you’ll find in the wild. Meanwhile, the latter is all about keeping your companions well-fed and healthy.
These two concepts go hand in hand once you start gathering materials such as herbs, chemicals, mechanical parts, electronics (called electronical parts in-game), and many other resources. You’ve even got a nifty tool called the Environmental Analyzer which lets you ping the map to reveal loot. You’ll then bring your haul back to your base to craft various items.
The first object that you’ll get to construct is the Work Table (which enables additional crafting options). You’ll also notice three main tabs:
- Base Upgrades – These include building tools (i.e., unlock new options), sleeping beds, power supply, air quality, and radiation safety (once you’ve got high-end, chernobylite-powered machinery).
- Igor’s Inventory – These have crafting tools (i.e., utility items like gas mask filters and healing ointments), weapons, armors, containers (when you run out of inventory space), and gardening fixtures (to grow herbs).
- Companion’s Comfort – These have several pieces of furniture and decorations to increase the comfort of living in your base. These are useful to help boost the morale of your companions.
Note: If you have the materials while exploring, you can plop down various traps and even high-tech objects in the environment.
Keeping Igor alive
Ideally, you’ll want to have a stove (Igor’s Inventory – Crafting Tools) early in Chernobylite‘s campaign. This lets you create salves and ointments to keep Igor in tip-top condition. There are actually three bars (or pips) that you’ll want to take note of:
- Psyche – This will degrade whenever Igor sees strange creatures or if he kills hostiles, so try to keep it high by using calming salts. If it’s completely depleted, you’ll lose health over time.
- Health – If this is fully depleted, Igor will end up dead (more on this in a while). Additionally, you’ll see that some pips might be red. This occurs when you’ve been affected by too much radiation. Healing salves won’t be able to cure you past this point since you need to use anti-radiation ointments to remove the red pips.
- Armor – You can fully negate an instance of damage (i.e., from hostiles and not radiation) by wearing armor pieces. You do need metal/ceramic plates which are created by using the Sheet Metal Tools/Industrial Furnace buildables (Igor’s Inventory – Armorsmith).
Mission structure, meeting companions, and general progression
Chernobylite emphasizes non-linear storytelling concepts. Basically, you’ll encounter missions that aren’t in any strict order. For instance, your first companion, Olivier, would hand you a typical early-game starter quest. After completing it, you’ll probably receive another that lets you recruit a particular character like, say, Mikhail. He can then send you on an errand related to his narrative arc, or perhaps you’d get a different quest that lets you encounter a different companion.
Likewise, Chernobylite has five locations in the Exclusion Zone: Moscow Eye, Pripyat Central, Pripyat Port, Kopachi, and Red Forest. In relation to gathering resources and the mission structure, you can send companions out on their own tasks (i.e., picking up food, getting ammo, or finding materials). They do have a success rate, which means they can also fail at their attempt.
Only Igor himself is required to start key missions that have a red icon with an exclamation point. These will progress the campaign’s story, though you’re not obligated to do them as soon as possible. Indeed, Igor can also do regular, free-roam runs to find resources. All activities are done solo, so don’t expect Igor to be flanked by buddies whenever you head out.
Note: You can learn more in our companion recruitment and leveling skills guide.
Food rations and morale
The way Chernobylite‘s campaign works is that each mission/run is considered a day. Once you’re done with a mission, you can equip Igor’s Portal Gun and hold the right-click button to return to your camp. At day’s end, you can select how much food you and your companions will consume. Preferably, you’d want everyone to have normal or, if you can afford it, double rations to keep morale and health high. If you pick low or no rations, your companions will be unhealthy and they’ll slowly resent ever joining your team.
Food rations are found as you and your teammates explore. But, you can also build Vegetable Gardens (Igor’s Inventory -> Gardening), though these only add small amounts of food each day. Likewise, don’t forget to add some furniture (Companion’s Comfort) so your pals don’t complain too often.
Note: If companions fail their task and you give them double rations, the others can get angsty since it’s like you’re rewarding someone’s incompetence.
NPC vendors, random events, and the lockpick
While you’re out and about in the Exclusion Zone, you’ll stumble upon random events that can be creepy at times (i.e., eerie dolls and phantoms). You’d also meet a wacky cast of characters who are just trying their best to survive. Since this is an irradiated wasteland, people simply barter (i.e., materials for ammo and vice versa). It’s also possible that some vendors won’t stay in the same area, and you’d discover them lounging around in a different location on a different day.
Additionally, I suggest making the Industrial Grinder (Igor’s Inventory -> Crafting Tools) as soon as you can so you can churn out some lockpicks. These let you open doors that have more loot or important collectibles. Otherwise, your only option is to find the Locksmith NPC who’ll give you lockpicks in exchange for food rations. He’s usually chilling at Kopachi, though he’d sometimes move around.
Note: You can learn more in our Locksmith and Kopachi safe guide.
Enemies, save files, and ramping up the challenge
Given that Chernobylite still has horror and action elements, you’re bound to run into a few enemies along the way, including strange monsters. Unfortunately, as mentioned in our official review, combat is the weakest facet of the game. Enemies are sometimes braindead, or they’d be akin to unrealistic bullet sponges (i.e., heavily armored soldiers require five rifle headshots to kill even with their helmets blown off).
Your Environmental Analyzer gadget helps you, too, since pings can mark hostiles on your HUD. You can get the jump on unwary soldiers, taking them out if you can get near them stealthily (unless it’s a heavy or a monster).
Then again, you should beware of your saves. The game has certain checkpoints that trigger an autosave (which, oddly enough, are the same spots that manual saves would use). You could load a save only to realize that you’ve spawned right in front of enemies that you just killed beforehand.
Note 1: As you progress in Chernobylite‘s campaign, you’ll see that the challenge ramps up considerably. This is visualized as you stare at the Exclusion Zone prior to selecting a mission. Additional helicopters mean more soldiers. Meanwhile, green domes represent the encroaching effects of chernobylite energy (i.e., more monsters or irradiated areas).
Note 2: You can learn more about high-end weapons for endgame combat in our Railgun and Molecular Plasma Thrower guide.
Important decisions, branching paths, and deaths
Not counting free-roam runs, you’re looking at 24 key missions in Chernobylite‘s campaign. However, due to branching points and important decisions, it’s possible to get locked out of specific arcs.
For example, if you accidentally killed an important NPC that you stumble upon in “Traitor,” and if you tell a character named Olga about your actions, then she simply won’t join you. It means you won’t be able to do her missions at all.
In other cases, you might be prompted to pick between two outcomes (which can affect how companions like or dislike you).
If you’ve committed too many actions that certain companions aren’t in favor of, then they can choose to leave your group. But, there’s a particular remedy for this.
Whenever Igor dies, he’ll lose some items in his inventory. However, he’ll also end up in a fractured realm with several memories depicting the important decisions that he’s made. It’s possible to change your memory as you recall it by spending chernobylite (the game’s namesake is also a green mineral that you’ll find as you’re exploring). Doing so will lead to a new save state that’s based on your choices, which can potentially lead to other outcomes that you weren’t aware of before.
Later, you can craft the Radiation Chamber which allows you to self-annihilate. Igor will die, but he won’t lose loot. You’d still be able to change past events as you see fit.
Note: You can learn more in our memory timeline changes and key decisions guide.
Looking for clues
Chernobylite‘s meta-game involves looking for various clues scattered around in the region. All of these allow Igor to complete an investigation, giving him ideas about the conspiracies and hidden machinations that abound. Once you have the clues, you can run a simulation via his VR headset called Ariadna. It takes you to a fractured realm where Igor walks from corridor to corridor to listen to NPC conversations.
Note: You can learn more in our investigation guides regarding the Conspiracy, Web of Lies, Black Stalker, and Woman In A Red Dress. We also have a guide for the finale which we can’t talk about just yet, but it’s coming soon.