I have a long standing love for space games, growing up playing titles like Wing Commander and X-Wing. I’m always happy to jump into a new one, especially a game that promises cinematic storytelling on top of gorgeous space dog fights. Chorus delivers on all of those, and uses its production values in a way that manages to lift an otherwise mediocre experience into a pretty good one.
Chorus is a third person action adventure dogfighting game. In it, you play as Nara, former Cult member with a dark past in hopes of redemption from her questionable. These days instead of cleansing heretics, she helps them fight against the cult and their genocidal ways. To do that, she meets up with an old friend—a sentient ship named Forsaken, or “Forsa” for short. Forsa wants to hunt the cult for what they did to him, but after being left by Nara for seven years, Nara will have to regain Forsa’s trust. That, for you as a player, means lots of flying through space and shooting at things—which is something that Chorus does a little differently than similar games.
At first glance Chorus looks a lot like games like Everspace—and while it’s not far off, Chorus leans heavily into the glider/flghter school of spaceflight, and while it has a sort of six degree of freedom movement, it definitely is not that. At first, Nara is severely limited in what she can do as a fighter pilot. As the story progresses, and more abilities are opened up, Chorus ends up having a pretty interesting take on third person dogfights. In a fantasy meets sci-fi sort of twist, Nara has abilities called Rites that give her special powers she can use during fights. At first, you just have the ability to scan (which is huge for finding money and other collectibles) but eventually she’ll even be able to teleport behind enemies, and zap them with an ability that lowers shields and makes enemies vulnerable by putting them into an uncontrolled spin.
These different Rites make Chorus’ brand of dogfighting interesting in a way that other games don’t have. Unfortunately, there’s a bit too much build up to these fun abilities, as the games eases you slowly into the fun parts. If I wasn’t compelled to play it for review, I may have abandoned Chorus before it reached its maximum fun. It’s even surprisingly difficult before you have more tricks up your sleeve, or upgrades to stop your ship being destroyed almost instantly. It’s almost essential that you look for upgrades and money scattered throughout Chorus’ semi-open world.
While Chorus is all about fighter to fighter combat, there are the occasional capital ships that make their way into battle with you. These larger ships require a bit more finesse than brute strength as you have to find and exploit weak spots to defeat them. As gameplay progresses even smaller enemies become more formidable, with shields and weaponry that require full use of rites and other tactics that get you around their defenses.
One of Chorus’ highlights is its story and the production values used to portray it. Its story is told in a blockbuster style that punches above Chorus’ AA gameplay. I appreciate the effort and production value, but some parts of Chorus end up falling flat, or even feeling a little amateurish, especially when it comes to facial animations. I can’t knock it too much, however, as Chorus’ cutscenes manage to make a game that would feel underwhelming into a spectacle, even if it is a tad hammy.
Chorus might not win any game of the year awards, but if you want a game that scratches the third person space combat itch, it’s not a bad option—especially as you wait for Everspace 2 to finish development. One of Chorus’ main draws is its epic storytelling, even if it tends to lean towards corny.
A PlayStation 4 key was provided to us for this review.