Chorus

Game review by
Joey Thurmond, Common Sense Media
Chorus Game Poster Image
Thrilling space dogfights with inspiring tale of redemption.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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Positive Messages

This is a surprisingly character-driven story centered around a protagonist misled and used for evil in the past. The player follows her journey to make amends by fighting for people she once blindly killed. She struggles with her flaws and mistakes, but learns that self-acceptance is the first step toward personal healing and self-control. The game has much to say about how hard it is to forgive others and one's self; even still, forgiveness and believing in people are essential for inspiring change.

Positive Role Models

The antagonists fight for “peace” by threatening people with violence to conform and serve them in a religious cult. While they tempt the protagonist to revert to unrestrained urges for power and control, several admirable characters are present to guide her with wisdom in her moments of weakness.

Diverse Representations

The female protagonist is relatable in her personal struggles, while being inspirational with strong moral convictions and a heart to lead people well. There are several other female characters, as well as African American and Asian representation.

Ease of Play

Most games dedicated to piloting aircraft are difficult due to the complexity of managing several dimensions of movement with two analog sticks. Chorus simplifies flight by having movement reserved to one analog stick. The player is introduced to a game mechanic after a couple hours that allows them to switch between movement and aiming. Because of this, flight is manageable and intuitive, yet no less exciting.

Violence

Enemy combatants consist of an even mix of self- and human-piloted spacecraft which erupt in spectacular explosions reminiscent to space battles in Star Wars. No bodies or gore are ever shown. Several protagonists are relentless in and passionate about the destruction of the antagonists, but it's not senseless. Foes who show remorse and surrender are spared where possible.

Sex
Language

There are a few instances of "hell," "pissed," "damn," and "bastard" in the dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chorus is an action-adventure game with spaceship combat that's available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox One S and X, and Windows PCs. Players fly among giant asteroid fields, space stations, and foreboding temples to protect space-pioneering settlements from marauders and a violent, religious cult. Along the way through spectacular space skirmishes, players obtain new weapons, magical abilities, and improved parts for their spaceship from completing missions or using in-game currency (which must be earned and can't be purchased with real money). Half of the enemy spaceships whom players will shoot down are evil, but no dead bodies or graphic violence are depicted. There are a few, infrequent uses of "hell," "pissed," "damn," and "bastard."

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What's it about?

Nara, the protagonist of CHORUS, was once a prized pupil of the game's villain, the Great Prophet. She carried out his will until he forced her to destroy a planet, which was when she realized his vision for "peace" and "harmony" had been hopelessly corrupted. A devastated Nara defects from this the Circle religious cult and fights against them to save innocent space colonies. She carries heavy burdens of guilt and self-doubt, but with the help of new and old friends, she must face her demons and former master's legions in a galactic rebellion to save everyone—and herself. This is a story of Nara coming to terms with how her talents and service were used for evil in the past, and finding the courage and will to move forward and use them for good. Chorus takes a lot of time for players to get to know Nara with a deep journey of personal development that delves into confronting and resolving fears, hopes, regrets, and desires in needed, healthy ways.

Is it any good?

The spaceship action of this adventure game is an absolute thrill. Chorus eases players into combat with its slick controls, cool weapons, and magical abilities thanks to a wonderful sense of pacing from beginning to end. Dogfights evolve in complexity with dozens of hostile spacecraft, ranging from small, fast ships that chase players to slow, huge battleships with multiple defenses and turrets that must be strategically dismantled from the outside and inside. Players will feel like the legendary star pilot, Anakin Skywalker, as they weave and drift around in zero gravity testing their reflexes and spatial awareness. While some stretches of environments can feel barren, most of the level design is well crafted and perfect for turning environments into fun obstacle courses to navigate through—not to mention awe-inducing visuals like an asteroid field set against the backdrop of a giant planet, or a sprawling maze of skyscraper-sized ice shards.

But what surprises most is the shockingly ambitious story that gives some personal weight to every mission, even during periods of downtime while simply traveling around with enjoyable banter between dozens of characters. Nara herself is a troubled soul who wants to do the right thing, and she's intricately fleshed out through dialogue and her inner thoughts, which are conveyed between spoken dialogue as whispered voice lines. Through her tale of self-acceptance, she goes through an elaborate processing of her trauma, beliefs, and doubts with several characters, eventually leading to a hard fought and hopeful resolution that allows her to not only heal from her wounds, but also give others the strength and courage to do the same. While the story can feel a little heavy-handed with the length of cutscenes, and some of the writing is a bit cheesy, Chorus is nevertheless just as characterized by its heart and emotional depth as it is with its gameplay. All together, Chorus carves out its place among flight-based games with "easy to learn, hard to master" gameplay that will leave players cheering in delight. That alone makes it shine, but with the addition of a diverse cast and thought-provoking story, players will be left with a memorable experience in more ways than one as they soar and shoot in style among the stars.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about redemption with regard to the dark past of the main character and several others. How should you approach people who do (or don't) feel sorry for bad things they've done? When should we give people second chances?

  • What does it mean to accept all of yourself—even the parts you don't like? How can you embrace your shortcomings and learn from them to help others and yourself?

  • When a certain political or religious group does terrible things to others, does that always mean all people who believe in a certain ideology or faith are bad, too? How can we figure out when a belief is bad in itself, or when a belief can be good depending on how it is lived out?

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