In 1986, the world's worst nuclear disaster occurred at the Chernobyl power station. Soviet authorities established a 30km 'Exclusion Zone' around this nuclear wasteland, but in 2006 a second explosion rocked the stricken reactor, obliterating all living things and causing the Zone's boundaries to ripple outwards. From this epicenter came waves of mutated creatures, deadly radiation, and a strange, anomalous energy. The Zone was cordoned off by the military, who would shoot on sight anyone foolish enough to brave the horrors within.
There's something about the atmosphere in this game series which is unique, and although each of the episodes have something or the other that makes them stand out, this one is still the complete package that captures that feeling best.
The game can be very gritty and somber, but also charming and funny, and even though it is more science fiction than fantasy, there's a pervading sense of the possibility of something magic happening just around the corner.
I keep going back to it.