Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved space shooters. Some of my favorite games include Everspace and Tyrian. While Everspace is a modern roguelike experience, Tyrian launched in 1995 and featured incredible environments, visuals, and weapons for its time. I enjoyed playing both games, and that sense of discovery and wonder is exactly what I’ve experienced in Chorus.
Ever since Everspace launched on Xbox One years ago, I’ve been wanting a larger game that offered the same level of exploration. Chorus provides exactly that because you can fly wherever you want. You can even visit past areas to uncover new secrets. Chorus is made by developer Fishlabs – the team behind the Galaxy on Fire series – and feels like an evolution of the games they’ve developed in the past.
While there’s a heavy focus on combat, Chorus takes place in an expansive open-world setting where you go from one connected region to the next, aiding rebels and exploring to your heart’s content. The title tells a compelling story with excellent voice acting, even though the plot’s a little hard to follow at times, especially towards the beginning.
I was given a review code for Chorus by publisher Deep Silver a few weeks ago. I’ve been playing the game since and am completely addicted. Not only does it look incredible on Xbox Series X, it also features tight controls and a lot of content like side missions and random encounters to make gameplay more dynamic and unpredictable.
Chorus runs at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second (FPS) or 30 FPS on the console. Depending on whether you play on Quality of Performance mode, the frame rate is adjusted accordingly. On Quality mode, Chorus features better graphical effects like further draw distances and lighting. However, the frame rate is limited to 30 FPS so the controls are less precise than in Performance mode. Despite this, aiming and dodging fire are easy, but they don’t compare to the 60 FPS mode.
Performance mode still appears to render at 4K – or a resolution that’s very close like 1800p – but lowers the visual quality. The lighting takes the biggest hit in my opinion. However, because the frame rate goes up 60 FPS, and stays there, the controls are incredibly precise. Many gamers will prefer this because it offers the most responsive experience, even though the visuals aren’t as stunning anymore.
I’m a stickler for the best graphics so I played Chorus mostly on the Quality setting. The visuals just pop on a modern display. Fishlabs says that the game also features ray tracing, but this may be an option limited to Quality mode. The lighting differences between the two could be explained by this.
Chorus is one of the biggest surprises of 2021 in my opinion. The game also features an incredible soundtrack and opening theme song. The title costs $39.99 on the Microsoft Store – or the platform of your choice like Luna, PC, PlayStation, and Stadia – but it’s larger than many AAA games out there. It’s also more polished and properly takes advantage of modern consoles because it offers visual choices.
If Chorus was priced at $59.99, I wouldn’t question the value it offers. This is definitely on the level of a AAA title in terms of quality and polish. Even more so given the poor state games like Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty: Vanguard have launched in lately. I didn’t encounter any bugs during my playthrough. This is how you launch a new franchise. While the game suffers from some story missteps, its quality and polish are exemplary. I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a fan of space shooters and open-world experiences.