In a genre that almost gate-keeps itself, space shooters aren’t exactly top of mind for a majority of gamers. Sure, there have been some truly iconic titles like Nintendo’s Starfox 64 (We don’t talk about that other one) and Everspace. Even more hardcore sims like Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen (is it out yet?) throw down a steep learning curve. It’s not easy to find a happy median that keeps you coming back for more. Chorus beautifully straddles a balance of story, lore, combat and exploration that had me coming back time and again for ‘just one more dogfight’ and I cannot recommend it enough.
Space shooters are indeed niche, but German developer Fishlabs have been honing their craft for over a decade and the culmination of their work to date takes in all they have learnt. I found myself genuinely excited for Chorus, not just because of its dark tone and alluring storyline, but as someone who has played almost all Fishlab’s titles in this genre, to see how their first major console release would chalk up.
Chorus is a classic space saga, a tale of light and dark a-la Star Wars and packs some serious lore to boot. Following Nara, an ex-cultist elite and right hand of the Emper- I mean, Prophet, Nara has committed unspeakable atrocities in the name of the Galactic Empir- I mean, the Circle. Dealing with her trauma, the story picks up some time after Nara has put her sinister past behind her and banded together with a small resistance. After a devastating attack on their base, Nara must confront her past in order to take the fight to the circle. To do so however, she must seek out her partner, an AI ship known as Forsaken in her quest to bring peace to the galaxy.
Let’s be clear off the bat, Chorus is not a AAA title; it by no means has the budget to flesh its rather expansive tale out with incredible cutscenes or character models. In fact, the budget seems to be so limited that only Nara, the protagonist, makes an appearance out of her ship. Everyone else appears through a small pop up window with a portrait in-game. But this doesn’t detract from the exceptional writing and voice talent that it serves up. Nara and Forsa steal the show; their conflict, both external and within their own strained relationship is beautifully scripted and had me frequently pumping the breaks mid-flight to really listen to the dialogue.
The budget seems to be so limited that only Nara, the protagonist, makes an appearance out of her ship. Everyone else appears through a small pop up window with a portrait in-game.
The various systems that can be visited and explored are all breathtaking!
One tablespoon Star Wars, a dollop of motorsport, a splash of Metal Gear. And a pinch of space magic. Mix and blend. Smashing! Is also running for congress.
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PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
3 December 2021
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