A soundtrack befitting a space opera of Chorus's scale and scope, and solid voice acting.
Space is suitably big and interesting, with a lot going on. Neon vapour trails, lasers, and loads of space debris will be branded to your eyeballs and fry your brain.
Definitely leaning more towards the fast-paced and arcadey end of the space shooter spectrum, Chorus is immediate and fun, with the odd frustration here and there. A bit uneven.
Loads and loads of side missions, some of which are a bit rubbish. The critical path missions are mostly excellent, though, and you'll be hooked until the end. There's a permadeath mode, too, if you're into that sort of thing.
A nigh-on perfect spread that ensures you'll be popping achievements left, right, and centre, until you have to dig in and earn some of the more challenging mastery objectives.
December 03, 2021
It (presumably) all started with Herbie: a sentient car that could drive itself. Then came Knight Rider's K.I.T.T., a black Pontiac Trans Am with its own line in withering sarcasm and a cache of gadgets you wouldn't normally see in a showroom model. In Chorus, you play as Nara, ace pilot of a sentient fighter ship named Forsaken ('Forsa' for short), the pair sharing a strange bond having formerly served in a cult known as 'the Circle', a powerful sect striving to subjugate the rest of the galaxy, at the behest of the fanatical Great Prophet. Having blown up a planet, Nara is hit by a pang of conscience and decides to mend her ways, choosing to protect the human Resistance. What follows is a space opera in which you're shooting down your old mates, helping to set things straight. And it's not half bad.
There's plenty of pew pew to be had.
Reminiscent of many a space shooter game like Colony Wars, Elite Dangerous, Starbase Gemini, and innumerable Star Wars titles, Chorus has a few ideas of its own, including special abilities known as 'Rites', powered by Nara's spirit energy. These include the ability to teleport behind enemies, disrupt their shields and systems, or gain a speed boost fast enough to spectacularly spear through foes. The further you progress, the more interesting things become, as Forsa receives more upgrades and Rites, expanding your arsenal and the various skills at your disposal. Every facet of your faithful, gravel-voiced ship can be enhanced, whether it's the resilience of the hull and shields, your gatling gun, laser cannons, or missile pods, eventually transforming a fairly standard starfighter into a nigh-unstoppable death-dealing weapon.
Initially, Chorus starts out as a fairly vanilla space shooter affair, and a succession of tiresome protect-and-escort missions don't really help matters. But as soon as you learn the 'Trance Drift', which enables you to step on your ship's thrusters, then throw it around to easily flank enemy fighters, the game's dogfighting becomes infinitely more interesting. Nara's selection of Rites abilities keeps things fresh, too, granting you a plethora of options to play around with; these tie into Mastery challenges, which gradually raise the efficiency of your various attributes when you progress through all five tiers.
On top of all that, the Circle has an expansive fleet of vessels, each of which need to be dealt with in a specific way, so some need their shields whittling down with a laser or Nara's Rite of the Storm, while others have heavy armour, vulnerable only to volleys of missiles. Scout ships – like Circle Crows, or the Emergent ships of the otherworldly 'Faceless' you encounter later in the game – are easily dispatched with your default gatling gun. Chorus is its best when you're adapting on-the-fly to whatever is hurled at you, whether it's a legion of Circle ships or Pirates, or a larger craft, like a hurling Circle Phantom, that needs to be systematically picked apart.
Forsa's manoeuvrability and speed makes Chorus's dogfighting feel quick and immediate, a flick of the left analogue stick to the left or right initiating a tight, evasive barrel roll, which, when you're targeted by lethal laser beams, acts a bit like a parry in an action game, slowing down time for a second with a perfect dodge. Without a traditional barrel roll or a way to jink and bank your ship from side-to-side, threading your ship through confined spaces can be a trial, and there are moments where you're forced to do so, sometimes while fleeing something at a breakneck velocity.
Chorus is a real rollercoaster ride – occasionally, it's a headache having to escort allies at a glacial pace, or chase a petty thief around a bunch of asteroids, but when the real action kicks off, it's a joy. Developer Deep Silver Fishlabs has certainly succeeded in making its sci-fi shooter stand out from the crowd, despite more than a few frustrating mission objectives, most of which are mercifully confined to the game's glut of side missions. It's also a massive game, spread across four expansive systems (connected by jump gates) and a bunch of other locations, with sojourns to temples housing labyrinthine passageways and ancient relics.
These ‘regrowth crystals’ are a pain in the arse.
Tricky and patience-testing some sequences might be, but, by and large, Chorus delivers in a big way. Its story of redemption is compelling enough to prop up the action, and the wealth of side missions, random encounters, and other activities, as well as upgrades, abilities, and challenges, help sustain the game's generous runtime. While the pace can occasionally seem uneven and certain moments might have you tearing your hair out, there's no faulting the level of ambition on display here. There are definite flaws, but they're eclipsed by all of the good stuff: Chorus is a superb story-driven spacefaring shooter, stuffed with blistering action, and neat innovations that set it apart.