I’m always interested to see how developers take on the space shooter genre. We’ve definitely come a long way, but I don’t think I expected just how much it has evolved until diving into the Deep Silver Fishlab’s developed Chorus. This narrative-driven space shooter surprised me with some of the best space action that I have played to date.
I’ll be honest, my first 30-minutes of playing Chorus came with a few growing pains. There are some interesting control configurations going here, but the second I got a feel for them, I was having a blast. For starters, you aren’t required to hold forward to move forward while heading to a destination. After the general push, you can focus on barrel roll doges and holding back to slow down. The right analog stick is used to aim and direct the ship, and that’s your general movement.
However, Chorus offers two really cool features, Drifting and Rites. So drifting allows for super quick turns around corners or to quickly flip around and get behind an enemy. It’s almost essential to master when trying to quickly dodge out of an enemy path or destroy something. I began to use this instinctively until I realized that Rites is what makes this game truly stand out.
Rites are customizable and evolve throughout the game. You pretty much grow with the power of your ship known as Forsaken. As my confidence grew with the general combat and controls, I began to instinctively utilize new ways of getting through enemy encounters. For a while, dog fights were messy and full of disoriented movements. However, the more I played, the more I felt like I’ve been waiting for this game for a very long time.
You switch weapons using the D-pad, with the switch being almost instantaneous. The reason for switching is dependant on the enemies your facing. Understanding the three weapons types is also needed to make easy work of the foes you face, but these can be customized in the Hanger. Weapons seem to have a few benefits to where even the cheaper weapons have some positive stat associated with them.
Further customization comes in three slots where players can install chips that grant various stat increases. There’s a lot available, and it was tough to settle on three because you can’t help but want them all. It does well to craft your playstyle as you fine-tune which systems you utilize more.
The narrative is a significant part of this adventure, and as players take on the role of Nara, you release some deep-rooted issues to uncover. Nara has a troubled past and requires the power of her starfighter Forsaken to take on her old cult known as the Circle. There’s a lot to unpack here, but Nara is on route to atoning for her sins, which requires not only the trust of her ship but also the people she once hunted.
Nara often speaks to herself, which narrates the battles as they are taking place. She also talks with Forsaken to detail their next plan of action, but through these conversations, we get to understand her further. It’s also made clear that no one really trusts Nara, and her motivation is centered around earning that trust. During story moments, Nara can make choices that will alter the events. Not everyone may agree with the option, but only time will tell how they play out.
Thankfully, the choice system doesn’t overwhelm the player and only pops up every so often during a mission, but the impact can be crucial. For example, helping a pirate ship was frowned upon by refugees, but they aided me in battle a few times following my choice. I wonder how complex these choices will be in future instances, but I liked the addition.
Chorus is an exceptional space shooter with some really cool elements that make it fun to play. I enjoyed how my skills evolved with the mission pacing, and the difficulty reflected my new skills. There’s so much that I’m looking forward to with this release, and I can’t wait to see Nara’s quest through until the end.
Chorus is in development for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Stadia, and PC on December 3, 2021.
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