For a long time, I have been searching for a great space combat game. Many years ago, I absolutely adored Colony Wars and its sequels on the original PlayStation. Sadly, nothing has since scratched that itch or matched the excitement I had with that series. After witnessing the Chorus trailer, I was understandably excited. It looked slick, with polished graphics and some amazing looking dogfights. Fortunately, after playing the game, I can’t get enough.
“Chorus is considerably more open than I expected.”
Chorus takes a different approach to the game than I was expecting. This isn’t just a sci-fi shooter, there’s a deep almost fantasy-driven story here. Instead of a simple mission-based experience with defined levels, the game takes an open-world format, across various maps. Each map can span 100KM, taking a good amount of time to fly from one side to the other.
Across the maps, you have your standard story missions, but the game also rewards players for exploring the unmarked areas. You can often find salvage to gain credits, and occasionally, enter a dogfight with some enemies. There are side missions, too, that involve anything from escorting a cargo ship to saving some friends from pirate attacks.
“There is a lot more to Chorus than first meets the eye”
Chorus is considerably bigger than I expected. The first map alone took around five hours to complete. In this time I explored, finished the side missions and, admittedly, died a few times as well. But there is a lot more to Chorus than first meets the eye. The narrative digs deep into the workings of the cult known as The Circle. These fanatics believe in uniting through Chorus. And, as we discover, our hero, Nara, was once one of them.
As you progress a little further, you find out exactly what this means, with the introduction of special abilities, known as Rites, that Nara can use both in combat and out in the open world. This becomes much more prevalent when you finally unlock your main ship for the game, your sentient starfighter known as Forsaken. Yes, your ship is sentient and isn’t particularly happy with you.
The Rites are the major element that sets Chorus apart in the genre. The first Rite is something that, quite frankly, appears in most games in one form or another. A simple press of the X button unleashes the Rite of Senses which, well, allows you to sense things. In other words, it reveals important things nearby, such as mission objectives or collectible items. Nothing groundbreaking there.
“You quickly become the most efficient killing machine in the galaxy once you master these manoeuvres”
However, once Nara and Forsaken regain their bond, things heat up a little. You can now use a drift ability, known as a Drift Trance, to quickly manoeuvre around enemies and in tight spaces. It’s not the easiest of skills to master, but can be used to fantastic effect once you get the hang of it.
The second Rite, revealed after your reunion with your abandoned ship, is the Rite of the Hunt. This one really gives you an advantage, allowing you to teleport behind enemy ships. Combined with the Drift Trance, you quickly become the most efficient killing machine in the galaxy once you master these manoeuvres.
Of course, these are just the first few of the special abilities and Rites you unlock, and they add immense depth to the combat, allowing for quick manoeuvres and planning your attacks for the different enemy types. In Chorus, not all enemies are the same, with some being sturdy, shielded vessels that deliver powerful attacks, and others being quick and hard to track, but easy to kill once you have them in your sights. This is why Rites are extremely important.
“Chorus is more than just sci-fi.”
All of these slight variations set Chorus apart. The world, although not overly detailed, looks magnificent on the PS5, and the battles themselves run smoothly. I didn’t encounter any bugs or glitches which can be hard to say with a lot of the recent titles.
As previously mentioned, Chorus is more than just sci-fi. Instead, it’s more of a Star-Wars level mix of fantasy and science, creating a deep and rich world to explore, with a brilliant redemption-style story for the main protagonist. Nara was a cult member but now wants no more part in destroying worlds. Despite her desire to leave all of that behind, she must embrace the darkness inside of her and use it for the greater good.
While I still hold out hope that one day we will see a Colony Wars reboot, Chorus has scratched that itch for me. If anything, it has exceeded my expectations, combing fast and original combat with a deep and immersive story, into a game that I can honestly recommend to anyone who ever wanted to take part in epic space battles.
Chorus is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PlayStation 5, code was provided by the Publisher.