A Symphonic Dance with Madness: A Review of Chorus

8 min read Soaring through the cosmos in a sentient starfighter, unleashing devastating barrages of energy, and grappling with a chorus of your own inner demons – that's the exhilarating, and sometimes unsettling, experience that awaits you in Chorus. This debut title from Fishlabs throws you headfirst into a thrilling space opera, where frenetic dogfighting meets a dark and introspective narrative. Buckle up, spacefarers, because we're about to delve into the depths of Chorus. May 12, 2024 18:37 A Symphonic Dance with Madness: A Review of Chorus

Chorus wastes no time establishing its frenetic pace. You take control of Nara, a hot-headed ace pilot tethered to Forsaken, a powerful starfighter with a sardonic personality and a dark past. Their bond is both a blessing and a curse, granting Nara incredible abilities like teleportation and phasing through enemies while also subjecting her to Forsaken's constant taunts and the lingering influence of a malevolent entity.

The core gameplay of Chorus revolves around intense dogfighting. Piloting Forsaken feels like a ballerina of destruction. You'll zip through asteroid fields, weave between towering space stations, and unleash a blistering arsenal of weapons. Mastering the controls is key. Drifting allows for tight turns, while the "Rite of Lithobraking" lets you ram enemies with a devastating boost after charging through a special zone. It's a high-octane ballet of momentum and strategy, demanding quick reflexes and tactical thinking to emerge victorious from chaotic battles.

The combat is further enhanced by Forsaken's unique abilities. "Gates" allow you to teleport short distances, perfect for flanking maneuvers or escaping a tight spot. "Rift Tether" lets you latch onto an enemy ship and drain its energy, fueling your own weapons and shields. These abilities add another layer of depth to the combat, encouraging experimentation and creative use of your arsenal.

While the dogfighting is undeniably the star of the show, Chorus isn't afraid to slow down for moments of exploration. The vast open world, divided into sprawling sectors, is filled with derelict space stations, hidden caches, and optional side quests. These provide opportunities to upgrade your ship, unlock new skills, and delve deeper into the lore of the universe.

The narrative in Chorus is a complex beast. On the surface, it's a classic revenge story as Nara seeks to dismantle the cult that enslaved her and corrupted Forsaken. However, the game delves into darker themes of trauma, manipulation, and the struggle for identity. Nara's inner conflict with Forsaken's voice constantly needles at the player, blurring the lines between sanity and madness.

The voice acting for both Nara and Forsaken is phenomenal. Cissy Jones breathes life into Nara, capturing her vulnerability and simmering rage with raw emotion. Josh Schubart delivers a masterful performance as Forsaken, his voice dripping with sarcasm and a chilling undercurrent of malice. Their constant banter becomes a central aspect of the story, pushing the narrative forward and adding a layer of psychological intrigue.

Visually, Chorus is a mixed bag. The space environments are breathtaking, with swirling nebulae, colossal space stations, and the ever-present threat of black holes. However, some textures on closer inspection can feel a bit bland. The character models, particularly for the non-playable characters, are decent but not groundbreaking.

The soundtrack deserves a special mention. It's a pulsating mix of electronic music and orchestral scores that perfectly complements the high-octane action and the game's darker undertones. The music seamlessly blends into the background during exploration but explodes with energy during intense dogfights, further immersing you in the experience.

Chorus isn't without its flaws. The story, while intriguing, can feel a bit uneven at times. The pacing occasionally stumbles, with some stretches feeling repetitive, especially during the open-world exploration segments. Additionally, the reliance on an online connection for even the single-player campaign might be a turn-off for some players.

However, these shortcomings are overshadowed by the game's strengths. The exhilarating dogfighting, the unique abilities of Forsaken, and the captivating narrative make Chorus a truly unforgettable experience. It's a game that will push your reflexes, challenge your strategic thinking, and leave you pondering its deeper themes long after the credits roll.

So, if you're looking for a spacefaring adventure that blends exhilarating action with a dark and introspective story, Chorus is a must-play. Just be prepared to face the symphony of madness that awaits you within the walls of your own sentient starfighter.

Here's some additional information about Chorus that you might find interesting:
  • Difficulty: Chorus offers a decent challenge, especially on higher difficulty settings. Mastering the controls and using Forsaken's abilities effectively takes practice.
  • Length: The main story campaign of Chorus can be completed in around 15-20 hours, depending on your playstyle. However, with all the side quests and exploration opportunities, completionists can expect to sink in significantly more time.
  • Replayability: The game offers some replayability through different difficulty settings and the option to experiment with various weapon loadouts and skill builds. However, the story itself remains largely unchanged on subsequent playthroughs.
  • Comparison to other games: If you enjoyed the frenetic space combat of Star Wars: Squadrons or the narrative depth of titles like Nier: Automata, Chorus might be a good fit for you.
  • Free Demo: A free demo of Chorus is available on most platforms, allowing you to try out the gameplay and see if it clicks with you before committing to the full purchase.

Overall, Chorus is a unique experience that carves its own niche in the space opera genre. It's not a perfect game, but its strengths – the incredible dogfighting, the intriguing narrative, and the pilot-starship dynamic – make it a worthwhile adventure for anyone seeking a thrilling space odyssey.

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