If you’re in the market for a third-person, open-world, space combat game with a few unexpected twists and turns, game developer Deep Silver Fishlabs believes it has just the gun-blazing astronautical adventure you’re looking for. It’s called Chorus, and it certainly has some unique-feeling features to consider.
Players slip behind the steely gaze of Nara, a former ace pilot for a cult organization ruled over by a heretical leader named the Great Prophet. While on the inside looking out, Nara was cheering from the front row when it came to the Prophet’s call for Chorus—a palpable peace and unity that the cult hoped to spread throughout the universe. Problem is, when some objected to that call for peace, they were met with quick and brutal war.
When Nara finds herself on the receiving end of orders to destroy a Chorus-denying planet and realizes that she just obliterated billions of innocents, she finds her loyalties shifting. In her grief, she has to evaluate her past atrocities and learn to fly a new path.
Instead of hounding those opposing Chorus, she now joins them and does all she can to push back against her former compatriots. Of course, that’s easier said than done. So, in an effort to thwart those overwhelmingly powerful forces, Nara slips back to reclaim her planet-destroying ship, a sentient craft called Forsaken.
The core of gameplay here is to take on scores of space battles and puzzle-like scenarios placed in a variety of graphically impressive, open-space settings and enclosed arenas. In these encounters Nara and Forsaken develop their growing collection of complimentary abilities and weapons. For instance, Nara can tap into extra-dimensional powers called Rites. With this growing bundle of abilities, she can instantly teleport behind a foe, disable ships and channel lightning blasts (and the like).
For its part, Forsaken—which interacts with Nara as more of a disgruntled AI partner than a quip-launching sidekick—has an arsenal of machine guns, lasers and missiles. And it also grows in its ability to shift in specialized drifting moves and get off shots at difficult angles.
The pilot/AI interactions create a relationship of gradually gained trust. Together the pair explore the idea of finding some sort of redemption and forgiveness for past actions. Nara also begins to slowly face the things she despises about the person she once was—facing off with her own personal demons—and therein learns to change and forgive herself.
Though sometimes tough, the battles and puzzles in this game are always fun. When the central quests start feeling a bit too difficult, there are scores of side missions that will reward players with ship- or ability-upgrades that gamers can then use for another try. Chorus simplifies the flight controls, such as you might find in other space combat games of this stripe, while also adding fun new attack and ship mobility options.
This is a frenetic battling game of revenge. Granted, it’s a righteous revenge, of sorts—aimed at protecting masses of weak people from a powerful, vicious foe—but Nara is still driven by her angry need for vengeance. There’s no blood or mess in the mix, since we see battles from a third-person ship perspective in outer space, but there are explosions and destruction caused by guns, missiles, lightning blasts and lasers.
The central evil foes are rabid cult members. It’s a group that Nara herself is fleeing from even though her Rites abilities could be seen to come from a “spiritual” plane they afforded her. In that context, there are a number of conversations about the malevolence of religious fanaticism. Suicide is mentioned in the dialogue. And though interactions are generally free of foul language, there is a use of the word “b–tard.”
Acrobatic spaceship zap-fests, angsty self-evaluation therapy and rabid cultists may not be the first combination that comes to mind when you envision a typical space battle game. But the T-rated Chorus isn’t really your typical space battler. And that’s a good thing—for the most part.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.