Chorus was one of many games revealed for the very first time at Microsoft’s Xbox 20/20 event in May of last year. Described as a story-driven space-flight combat shooter, this mysterious new IP looked impressive thanks to its dynamic cinematic cutscenes and intense gameplay action sequences.
Fast-forward to today, the worldwide release date of Chorus for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. After spending over 12 hours playing through the story campaign, Fishlabs latest title left me satisfied by the exhilarating dogfights, exploratory missions, and gripping storyline. Here are more of my thoughts on what you can expect should you decide to give this game a chance.
Building Order Out Of Chaos
Chorus introduces players to lead protagonist Nara, a conflicted former cultist ace fighter pilot caught in the crosshairs of an ongoing war between the resistance and the Circle, a deadly faction led by her creator The Great Prophet. After reuniting with her sentient spaceship Forsaken, Nara unlocks supernatural powers designed to help her throw everything that she has at her adversaries. Given that Forsaken is designed like the enemy ships, both sides often confuse Nara’s true intentions which in turn lead her to question herself and her ally about morality and choices.
From a storyline standpoint, there isn’t necessarily anything original about Chorus but the execution is absolutely flawless. Over the course of the lengthy three act campaign, there’s a great deal of tension and as the player you’ll be driven to see where the storyline goes. The space combat drama is akin to the types of plots we have seen in movies and tv shows and for that alone, it’s a very compelling aspect of the overall experience.
Rising As One
When it comes to space combat games, Chorus is highly addictive thanks in large part to the outstanding gameplay mechanics. While flying around exploring the galaxy and participating in challenging dogfights might seem simple and straightforward on the surface, the aesthetics are more thought out and revolve around Nara and Forsaken leveling up to form an unstoppable team. Forspoken has three main weapon loadout options including gatling guns, lasers, and missles. In addition to this, modifications can also be made to the ship to further enhance performance and defensive manuevers. As you play through the campaign, you’ll earn credits and be gifted some of these items in both main story and side missions. The only drawback is that you’ll have to visit a nearby hangar in order to actually use the credits and upgrade your ship.
Nara is able to level up by acquiring rite abilities that are earned while playing through the campaign. There are a total of six rites to unlock, four of which inclue the rite of senses, hunt, the rite of storm, and drift trance. The rite of senses allows you to hold down the X button and upon releasing, the entire area is highlighted to reveal various points of interests within your vicinity. Drift trance allows you to strategically alter your position to shoot hard to reach targets while hovering. Hunt and Storm are by far the coolest senses because one allows you to disappear and reappear behind enemies while the other disrupts enemy shields long enough for you to finish them off. These tactics definitely come in handy especially as battles get more intense against other fighter pilots and various boss ships.
Visually speaking, Chorus is a beautiful looking game from start to finish. The vast amount of places that you explore are very detailed and whenever you interact with other characters, there is a call box screen displayed on the screen to show their appearance and mannerisms. Navigating through the various galaxies accompanied by smooth animations while in combat and taking out enemy aircrafts succeeds in keeping the world immersive and really pulls you deeper into your surroundings.
Speaking of immersion, the DualSense controller is perfectly tuned for this game. The haptic feedback coupled with the adaptive triggers will leave you feeling everything from the vibrations ascending into the air to the impact of taking massive damage from intimidating enemies. The sounds of explosions along with the voice acting and musical score all perfectly give the vibe of a space opera which is exactly what Fishlabs set out to achieve.
This Ends With Us
Chorus will take you roughly 10-12 hours to complete depending on your preferred difficulty setting and desire to complete every optional side mission. Playing on the easiest setting keeps the difficulty manageable and allows you to focus specifically on the story elements. I would strongly recommend playing on the medium difficulty setting which I did because it makes every battle more challenging right out of the gate. Facing tougher enemies will help you learn the controls faster and develop a habit of using your rite abilities in the most effective ways possible.
If there is one sole criticism that I do have about Chorus, it would be that there are certain missions that you’ll be tasked with playing over again from the very beginning if you are killed in combat. While you do have the ability to save, you aren’t able to do this during some of the longer story missions and it can get a little aggravating having to attempt it over and over again until finally completing it. I would recommend saving as often as possible and being prepared for every battle in order to get the best outcome.
As a complete package, Chorus is a dogfighting oasis that will satisfy your itch for an enthralling space combat game. At only $39.99, it’s well worth the price of admission and definitely shouldn’t be missed if your a fan of the genre.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Chorus for the PlayStation 5 provided by Deep Silver.