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Game review: Chorus (PC/PS5)
Mon, 21st Feb 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Chorus is a narrative space shooter set in an interesting almost open world.

The game centres around Nora, the pilot of an AI starship called Forsaken. Casing apart her shady past, Nora and her upgradable ship fight against the enemy, The Circle, who threaten to conquer the universe.

The game involves carrying out assigned story missions as well as side missions and encounters stumbled upon whilst exploring. The game is sliced up into huge areas of space with bases, transport ships, and other activities all going on around you. The game presents players with a setting that feels very much alive.

Players control Nora's ship, Forsaken via a third-person view. The ship controls are rather simplistic, which may upset those expecting a space sim. But the controls are very much in keeping with the game's lighter, arcade-like combat. However, when you add in customisable ship load-outs and weaponry you have a game that's almost as involved, but a lot more accessible and, dare I say it, fun than your average space sim.

The main gameplay and mission requirements usually involve heading out to a location and engaging in space combat. Some of the missions involve tracking ships or following trails. But it is in ship-to-ship skirmishes that the game excels, which is handy as there's a lot of it. The combat has players dogfighting against competent enemy fighters often weaving in and out of vast structures. This seat-of-your-pants stuff genuinely left me breathless. Depending on your ship's loadout, some weapons are better at taking out shields, whilst others armour. Guided missiles add a bit of fun to the proceeding whether launching them or having been targeted by them.

During the game, Nora gains abilities, called rites, the first, The Rite of the Senses, unlocks a scan function that highlights loot and objects of interest. The second, the Drift Trance, allows the ship to drift whilst maintaining inertia- handy for firing on passing ships. Then there's the Rite of the Hunt which teleports Nora's ship in the best firing position against the targeted enemy. The rites become increasingly powerful, a mixture between ace piloting and the skills of a Jedi.

Some of the missions involve heady exposition with Nora unlocking memories to impart her backstory. These interfered with the pacing and made me reach for the skip button, something I rarely do in a game during narrative moments. It's as if the developer felt the galactic conflict storyline wasn't enough and wanted a deeper story, that isn't really required.

Chorus follows the usual mechanics of open-world games, there being plenty of loot that needs to be collected and traded for upgrades and weapons. Side-missions will reward with cool components for your ship, but stations also have trading facilities for essential upgrades.

The game looks glorious, be it on the PlayStation 5 or PC. PC owners with Nvidia GPUs can take advantage of the card's deep-learning super-sampling. Whilst ray-tracing is mooted for a post-launch update, as yet it has not arrived, so Nvidia RTX card owners will have to wait.

The huge environments, some filled with asteroids and space stations, are rendered crisp and clean. The various spaceships all look great, especially Forsaken with all its animated control surfaces.

Chorus is a game that builds upon the classic space shooters of old pairing it with an interesting and epic story, great combat mechanics, and vast populated areas of space.

Chorus is out now on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. A review copy of the game was supplied by the publisher.

Verdict: 8/10