Chorus is a third person space-combat shooter developed by Deep Silver Fishlabs. The game released on December 3, 2021 for Xbox, PlayStation and PC via Epic Games Store and Steam. You take control of Nara in the Chorus universe, travelling in some amazingly detailed semi-open world space systems, completing primary story missions as well as side quests and random encounters. It runs smooth, feels great even with mouse and keyboard, and the fast-paced action combat is backed up by an awesome soundtrack composed by Pedro Camacho (Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands).
Once the Circle’s deadliest warrior, now their most wanted fugitive, Nara is on a quest to destroy the dark cult that created her and get vengeance on the Circle’s leader, the Great Prophet. Once a father figure for Nara, his orders went too far for Nara who hesitated, but unleashed her anger destroying an entire planet. With her friends dying around her, Nara fled and goes into hiding and suppresses her abilities so they cannot harm another soul. She now works as a Scavenger at the Enclave for Sav and his wife Reeva. The voice acting for Nara and others you meet along the way are convincing and well done.
You take control of Nara as she scavenges an old derelict ship where you learn the controls. I used mouse and keyboard which felt fluid and responsive and those that have played EverSpace 2 will feel right at home. Graphically, Chorus and EverSpace 2 both features amazingly detailed environments begging to be explored and you’ll find secrets spread around mission areas if you look carefully. Photo mode also helps to capture some amazing backdrops for your ship. The controls are very similar, so I settled into flying quite quickly. As you’re collecting power cells, Nara’s thoughts go back to memories of her time in the Circle and she recalls using a Rite of the Senses, an ability that will highlight interactable items in her surroundings. You come across some turrets and quickly take them out with your gatling gun, which sounds really cool in the confines of this shipwreck.
As you use your gatling gun and senses, you gain mastery in those things. Later you’ll gain lasers that take out shields quicker and missile launchers, and as you gain more items for your ship and more Rites, you’ll gain more masteries which grants higher bonuses depending on what you want to specialise in. For example, if you level up the gatling gun, your mastery levels will reduce the heat generated. This brings some RPG-lite systems into play for some customisation of your ship, however there are no cosmetic options for Forsaken given it’s much like a secondary character than just a ship. You can swap out components as you earn credits from missions or looting random boxes found within the environment.
Combat is satisfying and fast paced in Chorus, backed up by the incredible soundtrack. You do need to keep agile and use the ships abilities, including right-click to use drag and alternating speed to try cut in behind enemy ships, especially ones that are shielded up front. Some ships have weak spots you can exploit, while others will plant mines which you’ll want to take out fast. If you fly too straight or not agile enough, you’ll be quickly vanquished, especially approaching multiple turrets or shielded enemies. You can do side barrel rolls to avoid incoming missiles, boost by pressing shift and press ctrl to activate the sub-light drive to cross large distances quicker.
Like in EverSpace 2, as you travel between main quests, you can discover side missions and random encounters as you fly by them and can choose to complete those now by flying close to them or continue your path. The system map notes these side quests, encounters and points of interest for you want to explore now or return later. Once you reach the first station, The Enclave, you’ll find your first hangar where you can view your ships components and purchase new upgrades. As you progress the story, the hangars inventories will expand and offer better equipment. They are scattered throughout the galaxy and once discovered, will have markers placed on the map. I would have loved to have been able to exit the ship and walk around some of the stations and mining outposts, but some cutscenes saw Nora walking so that was enough to keep me happy.
Shortly into the story, The Circle attacks the Enclave with a large squadron, wiping out many scavengers and almost taking out the station. While Sav requests your assistance in training his forces to defend against future attacks, Nara fights her inner demons given she taught the Circle everything they know. She realises that to fight back, she will need the help of an old loyal friend, her old sentient ship called ‘Forsaken’ or ‘Forsa’ for short, that she hid from herself to protect her from the past. Forsaken reminds me a little of Kit from Knight Rider and sounds a little like him too.
Flying Forsaken isn’t enough, so together they set out to regain her powerful Rites which are powers that will give her tactical advantages against the Circle and help take down the Great Prophet once and for all. Rites such as Rite of the Hunt will allow you to blink through certain barrier fields, or blink forward to close-in on an enemy quickly, while Nara can use Rite of the Storm to send out a burst of energy rendering enemy ships vulnerable and incapable of fleeing or returning fire. Rites are found within temples, and these are puzzles that require shooting locks open in quick succession, amongst other challenges you’ll need to solve and Nora’s memories to recover.
Overall, I gave the game a 9/10. Chorus’ fluid, fast and action-packed combat is so satisfying and the visuals are stunning. As much as I enjoyed the main story, the side quests and random encounters helped me explore more of each of the amazingly detailed systems and find more component upgrades for my ship. I highly recommend this game for space combat shooter fans and PC players can play a demo on Steam or Epic to try it out.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis