Ravishing Dark Redemption

HIGH Too many to list here!

LOW I wish I knew more about Nara’s past.

WTF Why are there so many mission-breaking bugs?

 Chorus is an open-world space combat sim that takes the players on an odyssey across the galaxy in the search of redemption.

Nara is our protagonist. She was an elite member of cult called the Circle, a group bent on domination of the stars. As the story beings, Nara has already left the Circle and has been trying to start anew, but her past catches up to her and she now has to face it, once and for all.

After she gets a few basic tutorial missions under her belt, Nara will re-unite with her former craft — a self-aware AI-driven fighter called Forsa.  

I won’t go into the plot’s twists and turns, but in addition to combat among the stars, Chorus is frequently focused on emotions and empathy. I genuinely felt Nara’s growth and transformation — how she faced the darkness behind her and learned to accept it. Forsa is a large part of this, as he’s not just a sidekick. In fact, they frequently come into conflict and he often questions her judgment, but throughout the campaign the two become so deeply connected that they finish each other’s sentences during intense combat.

Nara also has an internal voice that speaks for her past self as she was with the Circle — her dark side, essentially. This trio of characters — Nara, Forsa, and the voice — are the driving forces of the narrative and successfully connect the player with this journey.

In terms of gameplay, Forsa is armed with three different weapons — a laser that works best against shields, missiles that deal great damage to armored targets, and gatling guns that are best for destroying ship hulls.

Since each weapon works best against specific materials, the players will have to rotate through their arsenal during sorties, and this constant change-up prevents dogfighting from becoming too easy or repetitive, whether Nara is up against small drones or hulking battlecruisers. In fact, the combat in Chorus is some of the most well-balanced I’ve seen lately, and remained a positively challenging experience all the way through to endgame, even with the best weapons.

Further enhancing combat are Nara’s special powers called “Rites”, and they give her the edge she needs to cut through enemies like butter. For example, she can teleport behind an enemy, move like a comet through ships, or zap foes with a stunning ray. The Rites add light metroidvania elements as well, as some of them allow her to access previously-unreachable areas for great rewards.

Speaking of which, the combat and story aren’t the only strong aspects of Chorus — the world is built for explorers. 

There are six different cosmic systems that Nara can explore, and they’re so well-implemented that it never felt like I was killing time crossing large distances in an endless void. There are ship upgrades and credits scattered all over, and the player is sometimes faced with choices during missions.

A great number of sidequests in Chorus are given to the player either by Nara’s allies or people who will eventually become allies. Almost all of them are are unique characters with their own backstory and motivations, and this richness motivated me to fully explore each system in search of every one.

I remember one specific instance – I came across two space pirates while I was en route to a rescue mission. I was given the choice to either kill them, or let them join the convoy. I chose the latter, and they not only helped during the rescue, they also showed up later in an important story mission and joined my squadron. Many choices like this make a tangible difference during the campaign, and are strong motivation to go through every single sidequest Chorus offers.

Chorus is an outstanding experience from every angle, although it’s not perfect. There are small hiccups in the design, such as if a player decides to refuse a sidequest and wants to start it later, they have to leave the vicinity and return to the quest giver again. I also encountered a few mission-breaking bugs that forced me to restart from the latest checkpoint and even on one occasion, restart the whole mission. However, I expect things like this to be ironed out within the span of a few patches.

By the time I rolled credits, there was no doubt that Chorus was the best space combat game I’ve played in years. The thrill of dynamic space combat coupled with a compelling narrative and overall superb design make this one an absolute a must-play.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Deep Silver FISHLABS and published by Deep Silver. It is currently available on PS4/5XBX/SXBO, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and was reviewed on PC. Approximately 20 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: This game is rated T by the ESRB and contains Fantasy Violence and Mild Language. The official description reads as follows: This is a space-combat shooter in which players assume the role of character on a mission of redemption against her former cult. From a third-person perspective, players pilot a sentient ship to complete mission objectives and battle enemy pirates and cultists in frenetic space battles. Players use machine guns, lasers, and missiles to destroy enemy vessels. Battles are accompanied by realistic gunfire, large explosions, and radio chatter. During some sequences players can choose to kill or spare enemy vessels; one dialogue sequence references suicide (e.g., “Cause of death…Suicide, the gun is still in her hand.”). The word “bastard” is heard in the game.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available. I am not colorblind myself, but there are some visual cues such as blue beams of light which I suspect may cause some difficulty for players with colorblindness.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game has subtitles. They can be resized and altered. However, some audio cues are necessary for finding objects in the game, so Chorus is not fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game’s controls are remappable.

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