In 2022 it’s more complicated than ever to either buy or play every game that takes your fancy, with new games released daily across multiple platforms. There’s no way you can play everything without spending a lot of cash and owning a lot of hardware. Although I was impressed and interested after the first reveal trailer for Chorus, it slipped through the net, and I never picked it up.
Step up often the hero of games you might miss… Gamepass. On the 7th of June 2022, the game would drop into the Gamepass library. Available on the cloud, console (Series consoles natively and streaming on Xbox One via the cloud), and PC. I’ve played on all platforms and enjoyed my time with the game, although it’s not without issues.
Chorus is a 3rd person action-adventure flight combat game, and it quickly sets about teaching you the controls and giving a bit of story to get you going. If I’m being honest, after my time so far with the game, the story hasn’t managed to get its hooks in me, but the gameplay is where it flourishes.
I’ll avoid any story spoilers for anyone yet to give it a try. The game is ambitious, with it taking cues from Hellblade with the main character having voices talking over them and providing more information and history on the character’s experiences and history. As I noted, it’s missed the mark with me so far, but I’ll probably stick with it and see if it all comes together in the end.
It’s also quite a showcase for graphics, the open-world levels looking exemplary at times, although they aren’t always busting with action. Chorus does shine during its combat, with the player-controlled spaceship feeling fantastic to control and taking down enemies an absolute joy, even more so as some of the more integral abilities called rites become available to the player.
Control, Senses, Storm, Star, Trance and Hunt are all gainable abilities; I’ll explain more about these as we go on. My favourites are Hunt and Trance; this is the ability to drift in space, which feels incredibly good; then, Hunt gives you the power to teleport directly behind your enemies and take easy shots at bringing them down. Both feel extremely satisfying to use, and Hunt even takes a lot of the often tiresome chasing and line up of hits and chasing bad guys off the table.
The others are great too, but not quite as enjoyable. Star is a speed boost that can damage others as you pass by. The rite of Storm lets you down enemy shields for some time, Senses highlights objectives and points of interest for a while and Control allows you to throw enemies almost portal gun style across the screen and into others.
As I noted earlier, it all comes together to offer an enjoyable game to play, and at times it took me back to my youth and spending way too many hours playing Star Wars Rogue Squadron games on the N64. It is that good at times, and it’s a shame that the story appears to be pretty standard fare of baddy turned good.
Chorus takes me back a few years, with it giving off strong memories of great AA games from the recent past like Sleeping Dogs and Mad Max. By AA game, I mean titles that, by most metrics, are pretty good but don’t lead a system or platform forward. It’s something I’ve missed and one of my favourite levels of games, as you’ll often be happily surprised at the quality on offer.
Unfortunately, the weapon upgrades and ship improvements don’t change the game; it’s not bad but feels underdeveloped. Improving your ship and weapons feels a little underbaked, and although it’s nice to see, it needs way more work and options if they ever get the chance to make a sequel. Unfortunately, this might be unlikely, similar to the other games of the same level I mentioned before.
Chorus recently got a Ray Tracing patch for console, and it can look great on both PC and Series S. Unfortunately, on PC, there does appear to be some stutter on higher graphic settings. I’ve recently upgraded my CPU to an AMD 5800x and being honest, this may be the reason. It’s mostly excellent, but occasional big drops in FPS have featured. I’ll need more time with the game before I can confirm if this is a game issue or if I’ve caused it myself.
Chorus is worth a try, even if you don’t have Gamepass. I recommend keeping an eye out for the game popping up on any sales on your platform of choice. It’s by no means groundbreaking, but it features some excellent gameplay and space combat games don’t tend to get released all that often.
Buy or at least try the game, it’s the only way we’ll ever get a sequel, and that could be something special.