There were times when space shooters were a common genre. Descent, Forsaken, Freespace, all the famous Star Wars licensed games, but also Terminal Velocity. Over time, the genre has cleared the field for others, only to return discreetly in recent years, for example through Everspace, Star Wars: Squadrons or Chorus, which is currently being reviewed.
This is the work of developers from the Fishlabs studio, who have so far specialized in mobile games, so this is their first notch in the high league of large gaming platforms. At the same time, however, they are no newcomers to the space action genre, because they have the successful Galaxy on Fire series on their account, which has been published since 2009 and it is in it that the roots of Chora lie.
Heroine with trouble
The new game puts you in the role of star pilot Nara, or in the cockpit of her ship Forsaken. Naru is obviously haunted by some of the inner demons, and at some point I had similar feelings to her as I did from the Pictish warrior Senua from a completely different game, or from a certain mysterious talking heart that was dragged by the protagonist Dishonored.
Nara simply has a dark past, the details of which you will gradually uncover, but unfortunately her future does not look very rosy either. The fanatic cult under the leadership of the Great Prophet is spreading through the galaxy, so it is clear what your task will be in the next few hours.
The joy of pure action
I must admit that I approached the new game with respect and mild apprehension, mainly because the battles in the air or the space vacuum are historically close to me. My efforts are more like epileptic twitches when trying to orientate oneself in the essentials of the celestial vault and find out where it is above and where it is down before my pilot feels through a hard blow to the earth / another vessel / asteroid.
The good news is that Chorus cured me of these fears very quickly, mainly due to the very successful control, which is nimble and responsive, the vessel responds quickly to maneuvering instructions and thanks to this, even a non-motorized player can enjoy the eyes of delicious dogfights. The rule over the fighter and the orientation in space quickly passed into my blood, the player will be given enough space to look around at the beginning, but at the same time it must be said that the developers do not push the measure beyond and will put you into action fast enough.
It’s good, because that’s where the magic and joy of the game lies. Although the authors would like to praise the story and build the mythology of the world, their efforts are rather empty and the narrative can be boring at worst, at least worse with its predictability, while the very conclusion is the definitive nail in the coffin. It’s a pity, because the main heroine looks interesting and the story, which is quite simple and banal at the core, could work for the needs of such a “primitive” game without much cavyky.
Fishlabs even prepared an open world for Chorus with a number of different side quests and optional activities, but I soon left them and preferred to follow a straight line of narration, which eliminated a large portion of uninteresting cotton wool and allowed me to focus on what the game does really well. . And that is the action component.
Tuning and personal development
You can gradually improve your ship. You will get several types of weapon systems, over time you will strengthen the shields and the shell of the ship, and in special slots you can place some special equipment that will buy you a second of life in the fights for good. You will get machine guns, lasers and missiles to eliminate enemies, and each weapon fits into slightly different situations, so you will use the entire arsenal of the ship. The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about bullets, you will only deal with overheating.
Nara also acquires new (or rather old-new, forgotten) abilities: In the beginning, you can see points of interest in your neighborhood through a kind of mental pulse, and over time, new maneuvers will occur to remind you what ace of air (and bloodthirsty monster) you have in your hands.
As I have already mentioned, the controls are very friendly and uncomplicated, thanks to which the game motivates even more careful players to take bold maneuvers and dangerous flights through narrow spaces. It’s great, because the fights get a lot more juice, and most importantly, you can enjoy the environment that the authors have prepared.
Chasing enemies between the narrow circles of the Citadel, passing through gigantic industrial colonies, swarms of meteors and other challenging terrains can be an adrenaline rush, also because your Forsaken boat will not last long, especially and you have to turn around quite a bit to be able to compete.
Sometimes the game even forces you to fly into one of the enemy giants in a small vessel and destroy it from within. Chorus can definitely build the atmosphere of the massive space battles we are used to from sci-fi movies, and thanks to the speed at which dogfights take place, the game maintains an adrenaline pace and the kills are very satisfying.
Really nice universe
SualSense driver also helps with satisfaction on the PlayStation 5, its haptic response works perfectly in Chor. The visual also deserves praise, especially considering that this is the debut of the studio on large platforms. Chorus can look beautiful, and even though in some environments he loses the care, the authors certainly did not lack ideas or aesthetic feeling.
It’s a pity that the detailed and impressive graphics stand out especially in the Quality mode, which is limited to a painful 30 FPS. You definitely don’t want to play in this framerate Chorus, and although it can’t be said that the game doesn’t look nice in Performance mode, the graphic difference is clear.
I commend the Portuguese composer Pedro Macedo Camach for the successful musical accompaniment, I would be willing to listen to the song from the main menu outside the game.
On the contrary, I would include among the main downsides, especially at the end, a completely unbalanced difficulty, which seems completely inadequate to the rest of the game and as a result, the final becomes more of a pain than a joy to conquer the next game title. The game would also do without side activities, and the checkpoints in the missions would deserve a better arrangement, so that one does not have to listen to the same dialogue over and over again.
Chorus does not belong to the AAA (or AA) class of games and he certainly knows that about himself. But it is an honest work for more than an adequate price and it deserves praise as an author’s debut on large platforms. I wonder what Fishlabs will bring us next: With this notch, they could slowly apply for the development of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 …