Developer: Deep Silver Fishlabs
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: Xbox Series X , Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: 3 Dec 2021
Price: $39,99 USD – Available Here $59,95 AUD – Available Here
Do you know what’s seriously missing in gaming nowadays? A game where you can freely traverse the vast universe, occasionally engaging in space fights and random encounters while improving your ship and learning new abilities. Wow, that was suspiciously specific, right? And what a coincidence that I have something on my PC right now. Chorus seems like a game that takes the very best of Everspace while toning down the strategic aspects of it. It hands you the controls, tells you “here is how you shoot, here is how you fly, those are the enemies……..aaaand good luck!” Just the idea of participating in intense tense space dogfights and improving your ship and weapons sounds appealing on its own, but there are also other elements that can either make or break the game. Let’s see how it all exactly goes with Chorus.
Chorus is a third-person space combat shooter where you take control of Nara, a former warrior of The Circle (more on them later), and she is joined on her space adventure by Forsaken a sentient space ship. Yes, your weaponized space vehicle isn’t just for show, it can talk to you and advise you on your journey. Sadly, you can’t control him directly (only Nara) but he is there to provide commentary on whatever is happening on the screen, warn you of incoming threats, and so on. Now, regarding The Circle; a long long time ago there was a dark age for the universe of Chorus. The galaxy was ravaged by constant wars and people longed for peace as the Great Prophet promised them. He was a charismatic figure that quickly rose to fame. He became the inspiration for all the people in the galaxy and eventually their leader. Member of The Circle dedicated their lives to erasing the source of all misery, the selfish human discord, and strive for bringing absolute harmony to all living beings: The Chorus. Supported by the mysterious galactic force called “the Faceless”, what started as a religious movement had turned into a bloody crusade, conquering the galaxy at an exponential rate. And that is where you come in. Bring down The Circle (with Great Prophet included) and make everlasting peace the old-fashioned way – by shooting down everyone who is not on your side.
After a mildly sluggish tutorial segment, I was launched into open space and came upon a great epiphany – this is fun! Sure, the controls are kinda unorthodox compared to what you might expect from your average arcadey third-person space shooter. Controller triggers for flying and shooting, right stick to control the direction, and the left one for evading and activating subsonic flight. It takes no more than 10 minutes to get used to but the fun doesn’t stop there. Eventually, you’ll learn how to upgrade the hull (the HP of your ship) and the shield and even learn some abilities along the way. Throughout the story, you will unlock “rites”, the special abilities that bind Nara and Forsaken. Some are pretty fun although you only get the near the end of the game, such as telekinesis, and rite of the storm. There is nothing more fun than taking a short break from shooting the enemies with conventional weapons and throwing them around with telekinesis into nearby asteroids or even other ships. On the other hand, a rite of the storm is pretty much a fancy name for an EMP in Chorus. A well-placed “zap” into enemies will stun them and leave them completely defenseless for your battling gun, lasers, and missiles. And I definitely have to mention a rite of the spear, a special ability that (you guessed it) transforms you and your ship into a huge spear made of energy where you can pierce through the enemies. So while the selection of conventional weapons in the game isn’t exactly huge, mixing them with your abilities in space dogfights never stops being fun.
With this being an arcadey third-person space shooter, you will probably spend more time admiring your surroundings and vast emptiness of space rather than on your ship. I think the folks at Deep Silver Fishlabs expected that so they put extra effort into the level design and making what little life in the universe is left seem visually pleasing. There are six main sections of the game where you are free to fly around, complete the main and side objectives and engage in occasional random encounters. What’s interesting is that each of those sections is distinct, with its own identity. For example, the Stega Central area is well presented as the huge graveyard for stray spaceships and it is pretty much the empire of asteroids. Not much life there, however, once you get to Nimika System later you will see it’s the exact opposite. A bustling and highly industrialized corner of space, well-populated with all types of enemies in the game.
Not much to be said when it comes to audio, but I always held an opinion that a good soundtrack and voice acting of the game can also be the once you never notice, only the bad one can stand out. I can’t exactly write essays when it comes to the soundtrack here, except just pointing out that it’s there. It’s not exceptionally good and it’s not bad, it merely does its job. Regarding the voice acting, there is a lot of it. I never imagined I’d find a game with too much of it but it finally happened. The playful banter and occasional chit-chat between Nara and Forsaken can be amusing at first but it slowly devolves into being insufferable. Later on, at the start and finish of every main and side quest, you will always be followed by (in this order) a short comment on the situation by Nara with Forsaken, followed by a comment from Forsaken to Nara, and finally a comment from to herself. After more than 10 hours of play, I was seriously on the edge of trying to mute them both somehow.
With all that said, I think Chorus is a game well deserving of your time. What really puts it above the rest is the unique setting and incredibly flexible dogfights. Once you get the hang of all of your weapons and abilities, every enemy encounter will play out in a completely different way. Zapping enemies with lasers, showering them with a barrage of missiles, and making swiss cheese of them with a Gatling gun never gets old.
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