When it comes to the genre of space shooters, there are not many notable games to choose from. Those looking for grand strategy and heavy investment might opt for the madness that is Eve Online, while quick action is always available in the likes of Star Wars: Squadron. It is in the latter arena that we find Fishlabs and Deep Silver’s third-person space-combat shooter, Chorus, with an engaging narrative complemented by enjoyable space dogfights.
Players step into a futuristic reality as Nara, once the deadliest soldier in the cult known as the Circle, now looking for redemption as she fights back against the zealous corruption brought about by the Great Prophet and the mysterious entities known only as the Faceless. A revenge story rolled together with moral struggles, clashing ideals, and plenty of exhilarating Zero-G combat, this is some heady sci-fi stuff.
It is not exactly an original premise, but Chorus sets up a universe full of intrigue and interesting conversations to be had, a vast semi-open world full of opportunities to progress towards your main goal or distract yourself with a variety of side missions, and a reflection of loss, life, and making amends.
At the core of it is Nara, an individual’s whose moral struggles stem from a catastrophic event, the destruction of an entire star system brought upon by her destructive powers.
And while her journey is one of redemption, the foil that is her sentient ship, Forsa, helps to further flesh out her motivations and why players should care. The constant back and forth between the two helps with the storytelling, more so when the pair comes into contact with various factions across six distinct star systems.
Visually, Chorus is quite stunning, especially when you visit a new star system for the first time. Each location channels a different mood and atmosphere, and the scale of it all is quite awe-inspiring.
Forsa is quite a sight as well, with its angular construction showing off a sleek and sharp ship with a killer look. The same cannot be said of the variety of enemy ships, but it matters little when their fate is to be blown to itty bitty pieces.
With such open spaces, players will have the freedom to explore as they will, unearthing random encounters with enemy ships, finding collectable memories or treasure, and getting involved with the galaxy’s denizens in main and side quests.
Although much work has gone into the main narrative to keep players always eager to see what comes next, there are also several standout side mission chains that are worth experiencing not just for the reward, but also the worldbuilding elements they introduce. Everything feels much more cohesive and alive when players start to feel they have a tangible effect on things.
As for the gameplay itself, Chorus is largely segmented into two different segments. Either you are exploring and solving short puzzles using your knowledge and powers, or you are going to be engaging in explosive combat. The former definitely brings something refreshing to the gameplay loop, albeit in small amounts, but it is the combat that is truly the star of the show.
It could be a massive battle involving gigantic starships and galactic defences, or a tight skirmish within a confined area, no matter how you cut it, Chorus’ combat will have players on the edge of their seats. Controls are tight, every blast of your gatling guns, lasers, and missiles feel satisfying, and then you have Nara’s powers, or Rites as they are called.
Progression through the main plot opens up more options, and almost every new Rite adds a new layer of strategy into combat. The Drift Trance lets you turn sharply at high speeds, allowing for aiming in any direction to catch your pursuers off-guard, while the Rite of the Hunt teleports Forsa across the battlefield and expose the vulnerability of enemy ships.
These are but just two of the ways Nara’s powers can even the odds, especially when you are facing the might of the Circle. Once the full complement of Rites is at your disposal, Chorus becomes even more entertaining than before.
Unfortunately, even with such delicious combat, Chorus does have some niggling issues here and there that could dampen one’s spirit.
The various star systems offer variety in size and content, but long journeys can often be bereft of any meaningful conversations or action. When you are travelling at distances of 50-60KM away, even subspace travel appear too slow, and this happens quite a bit in the game. There is always the option to fast-travel to the nearest jump gate, but even that information is strangely not pointed out to players.
The aforementioned trio of the gatling guns, lasers, and missiles are great for what they are, but certainly, Chorus would have benefitted more from more additions to the arsenal, and allow for more experimentation when it comes to battle. This is perhaps an overlapping issue with the enemy roster, with opponents that are more susceptible to a particular weapon thrown at the player in different configurations.
Chorus does try to spice things up with larger vessels that appear intimidating but they are disappointingly lacking in real threat most of the time, easily destroyed with some internal rewiring with Forsa’s weapons. Thankfully, the more dangerous Circle elites put up more of a fight.
There are also instances of bugs and glitches that prevent progression and having more persistent and obvious markers will be a big plus, especially in some of the larger play spaces.
Chorus is reminiscent of a diamond in a rough, with the shine of Nara’s journey and the game’s combat radiating through, but there are obviously certain rough edges that can be refined further.
It is also highly advisable for players to consume more of the side content, not just for a better appreciation of the premise, but also to sweeten the gameplay side of things. As it stands, Chorus builds on a foundation of exhilarating combat and awesome powers, and is sweet music to the ears of those who are singing the same tune.
Chorus is available on Steam for $34.00.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
A space-faring tale of redemption that is built on a foundation of exhilarating combat and awesome powers, Chorus is one tune everyone needs to hear.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 7.5/10
Presentation - 8.5/10
Value - 8/10