As modern society slowly draws towards a world where space exploration may just become a standard practice, Chorus cures that itch we all have to travel throughout the stars. Developed by Fishlabs and Deep Silver, Chorus has its player exploring the vast reaches of outer space in a story of redemption, overcoming the odds, and facing up to a common enemy within the Galaxy, a cult known as The Circle.
The Circle follows the leadings of The Great Prophet, though not always willingly. The player takes on the role of Nara, a former member of The Circle that was often regarded as one of its most powerful and influential members. During an attack on Nimika Prime that found the entire planet destroyed, billions of lives were lost which filled Nara with deep regret and so she escaped The Circle’s grasps, remaining hidden for years to come.
Nara’s journey in Chorus begins seven years after the attack on Nimika Prime upon the outskirts of the Stega System, which is home to The Enclave, a fortification that represents freedom against The Circle. Chorus has four difficulty options on offer and can be changed any time throughout the game. The story also spans across multiple planets and locations that span a variety of solar systems that can quickly be travelled between through the use of Jump Gates, though once within a new location there are no options of fast travel.
Nara is quickly introduced to her new allies and their plight against The Circle and shortly thereafter she is reunited with a former ally, Forsaken, a sentient spacecraft that was once bonded to her, making them manoeuvre and fight as one. Gaining trust from Nara’s new allies come in the way of escort missions, fetch quests and a lot of sections that comprise of protecting someone or something, though the engaging combat always keeps Chorus entertaining. The player can also complete the many optional side missions they find during their ventures and there are plenty to find, each offering up either in-game currency or items as rewards that will go towards upgrading Forsaken.
Upgrades for Forsaken fall in to two categories; Core Systems and Modifications. Core Systems are that of weapons and the ship’s structure, which can increase the ship’s hull strength and shield. Modifications are earned throughout the progression of the story and completing side missions and they can vary from increasing a particular weapons damage output, unlocking special powers to assist in outplaying the enemy, to more straightforward modifications that can increase the ships speed or damage output to shields.
I did complete quite a few side missions to begin but they did end up feeling a bit repetitive after time and the ships upgrades are not a necessity for completing the story, though they do help. Sadly, the ship cannot be customised aesthetically at all outside of the changing weapons which is disappointing but it does fit the narrative, however I would have loved to be able to even just customise the livery or colour of my ship and it just was not an option.
Combat is extremely fun and very satisfying… for a while. The problem being that every fight feels the same, no matter the number of enemies to be dealt with. Forsaken is very responsive and easy to control through zero gravity and it passes off Ace Combat vibes, which is an extremely well-oiled flight combat title. Chorus introduces a wide variety of enemies, some with specific weak points and others that can only be damaged by using the correct weapon. Chorus is at its most enjoyable when a much larger enemy enters a battle and there are several steps that need to be taken in order to bring them down.
With each new enemy there is a new attack to avoid, and the player has a number of abilities known as Rites to assist in getting the job done. Rites are special abilities that are unlocked through the progression of the story and are used to attack or defend depending on the situation, often becoming essential in the completion of some missions. They introduce abilities like being able to teleport behind enemies in order to line up a shot or being able to strip enemies of their shield in a single shot.
There are a few boss battles towards the last quarter of Chorus and there was a noticeable spike in difficulty when these started coming along. They all felt a bit lacklustre, only being unique because of their enormous amount of health and equally as large damage output. The fights lacked any sort of creativity and they just felt like a bit of a grind by the end.
The galaxy is a beautiful place to explore, with unique biomes that have their own flare about them, with some being space wastelands filled with floating pieces of land and others a city where travellers go to congregate. It is a nice place to explore but with such large sections of emptiness between objectives it can feel a bit dull travelling between them. In my 12 or so hours it took for me to complete the story, a good 3-4 hours would have been spent travelling. While the worlds are beautiful backdrops to the story, the character animations in cutscenes are poor grade, especially when closely showing a character speaking.
Chorus very much leaves the sounds of the ships do the talking, leaving any music very much in the background of gameplay for the most part. It allows the player to focus on the narrative that is strewn throughout the entire playthrough. Big space battles sound good, but I feel like there could be more “oomph”. With big explosions and equally as big weapons being fired the action is seriously lacking any sort of bass that shows off the destruction of these battles.
While Chorus is made for adults, there is no harm in kids either playing or watching this one. There are definitely adult themes within its story, but it is very much a placid gaming experience, even when fighting.