Chorvs? Chorus? What's In A Name Anyway?
For Our Thoughts On The PS5 Version, Please Check Our Updated Revisit Here
Before writing this, I was cursing out the name of the game as I didn't quite understand how it was to be pronounced or even read. Stating the obvious, Chorus (Chorvs) is the proper pronunciation of the game. It is the name of the game when it's loaded in the console, press releases use that title, and it's the official name. I spent a while trying to figure out why did Fishlabs decide to use the "v is a u" semantic. Perhaps this was done because "Chorus" is a common name, even for a game. Naming it "Chorvs" makes it easier to distinguish it from other games?
Regardless of the reason, a name means little when it comes to gameplay, so what does Chorus have to offer? Developed by Deep Silver Fishlabs, Chorus is a space shooter with a rather unique twist. It's an open-world space shooter. Players take control of a wanted fugitive named Nara who once worked for this antagonist group known as The Circle. Deemed the best fighter of the Empire--I mean The Circle, she has a change of heart when she murders an entire planet. Not only that, but she leaves her comrades behind then suffers survivor's guilt. She then decides to go against the tyrannous Circle as a way to find redemption. Yeah, I don't know how to feel about this.
The Story May Not Be The Strongest, But...
Nara comes off initially as a "woe is me" protagonist who has committed various war crimes and is forced to live out to find redemption. This may sound incredibly ironic as some of my favorite characters have these traits. If this is the first thing that I'm introduced to involving a character, then it leaves a sour taste. I won't knock the concept and how it's used in Chorus though. Occasionally, internalized monologue breaks the monotony between conversations. Nara will occasionally speak her inner thoughts, in a grating "ASMR" whisper, reflecting the aforementioned survivor's guilt.
Nara will also point out hypocrisies her allies bring up as talking points, while occasionally referencing her bloodlust. "What if they see me as a monster?" That sort of thing. This conflict of personalities and fighting for the greater good reminded me of Star Wars Squadrons, where a central character annexes from the Empire to support the Rebels. Not only does this kick the plot off, but it also made playing as the Empire justified as the protagonist handles the betrayal. I didn't care for it then, I certainly didn't now. However, Chorus has one major thing over Squadrons.
Grand Theft Spacecraft? Galaxies Row? Sleeping Asteroids?
Fortunately, the combat in Chorus trumps over the pity party story twentyfold. I'd dare say it's even better than Star Wars Squadrons, a game based on a series that thrives on space combat. The dogfights are fast-paced, forsaking 'reality' with pure arcade space combat. The controls take some time to get used to however as the left analog stick controls the thrusters and the right controls the steering. Tilting the left stick forward and back controls acceleration, while strafing is initiated with moving it left and right. Flicking the left stick while accelerating causes a barrel roll, which I got by accident when I meant to turn.
Once the mechanics are committed to muscle memory, the controls begin to make sense. I'd wish that there was a way to properly turn 180 on a dime, however. When Nara isn't blowing up rival crafts during missions, the game introduces a sizable open world. Like Grand Theft Auto and similar titles, the players can explore their environments, take on side missions, and level their prowess to make missions easier. Some side missions require players to have a strong enough ship to complete them, which can cause frustration. The sense of speed in close quarters compared to the open world of Chorus serves to show how massive the galaxy space is. Not everything is a spacial paradise sadly.
Nara's Senses Are A Bit Dulled
While Chorvs shows promise in its gameplay, one glaring flaw I had was that abilities weren't working as intended. This usually revolved around Nara's 'Rite of Sense', this game's version of a scanner, that reveals hidden objects. These hidden objects may be quest objectives, parts, or collectibles. It works fairly well when it wants to work, but in a vast subspace like, well, space, it's unreliable. It's also the subject of me looking like a complete idiot.
One mission requires Nara to look for salvageable parts and I could not find them despite having the sensor activated. There are two modes, one that scans for objects while another scans for nearby points of interest. I accidentally used the latter when I meant to use the former, even then, I couldn't find the objects. That's because the objects are identified by these tiny triangles in the HUD that are featured in the image below. If you examine it long enough, you'll see them for yourselves, but for me, it took a while because I didn't know what I was supposed to look for. I felt like this could have been alleviated had the game introduced the concept of a mini-map. The lack thereof is almost inexcusable for a 2021 game.
Chorus Is Disappointingly Flawed Despite A Fun Game Underneath
Ultimately, Chorus is a victim of extremes as there are just as many glaring negatives paired with its overwhelming positives. To the developers at Fishlabs, a team used to developing mobile games, Chorus is an ambitious project. I never considered what a "Space GTA" would be like prior to playing this game.
Unfortunately, the glitches, lack of basic quality-of-life functions, and the story leave a lot to be desired. It is entirely possible to ignore the low points and focus exclusively on the positives. To fully enjoy Chorus means that the negatives come with the territory of its positives. That said, I'd recommend giving this one a spin during a sale, but definitely don't pass up on this space flight.
Chorus is available on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.