Halloween has come and gone, and developer Brass Token desires to maintain the spooky season going with their November launch of The Chant. After seeing a brief preview final month, we’ve run by way of the supernatural journey sport, and have our ideas under. Time to see if the do-it-yourself angle of Brass Token paid off in our The Chant PS5 evaluation.
The Chant takes place ostensibly throughout current occasions, and the participant assumes management of Jess, a working lady who focuses on biomedicine, but suffers from PTSD because of some traumatic occasion in her previous that concerned her sister and (now ex) greatest buddy Kim.
That buddy has prolonged an olive department and invited Jess to an island retreat known as Prismatic Science, which takes place on the secluded Glory Island. In fact, since this can be a horror sport, every part goes sideways on the primary night time, and earlier than she is aware of what’s occurring Jess should struggle for her survival whereas barefoot and barely geared up with something.
The tempo of the story is surprisingly fast at the beginning. It appears like Jess hardly will get settled earlier than issues go haywire. Enigmatic chief Tyler rapidly devolves right into a ineffective, whiny man-child, whereas different members of the cult-like retreat react in their very own methods. Everybody has their very own baggage that they hope to expunge throughout this retreat, one thing which Jess will get to actually run by way of as she acquires crystals, which grant her entry to a dimension generally known as the Gloom. The supernatural features of this journey present up very early, and Jess is a bit too accepting of what she is seeing, given her background as a scientist.
The enemies that Jess encounters are otherworldly. People who reside inside the alternate dimension generally known as the Gloom are some kind of unholy amalgamation that mixes flora with humanoid creatures, together with floating jellyfish-like creatures and different aggressive vegetation. These enemies solely present up inside the Gloom, whereas different cult members sporting animal skulls can sometimes be discovered all through the island.
As Jess will not be a fighter by nature, she solely has a couple of weapons out there to craft, akin to a sage stick or a bundle of sticks which might be lit up on the tip, alongside varied oils that she will both throw at enemies or lay down as traps. Most enemies can the truth is be averted, and there may be even a trophy for getting by way of the whole sport with out killing a single cult member.
It’s a very good factor not all enemies must be killed, as a result of fight in The Chant will not be its sturdy go well with. As talked about, Jess will not be a fighter, and as such her swings are gradual and her dodge is sort of ineffective. Double-tapping the circle button triggers what’s known as a determined dodge, the place she falls again and crawls away from hazard. It sometimes is useful however principally is an exaggerated animation that you simply sometimes remorse unintentionally triggering.
All fight is short-range, and there’s no method to inform the present well being standing of an enemy till they’re defeated. That is wonderful for regular enemies, however later boss characters make it tough to inform how shut you’re to defeating them, which will be irritating. You possibly can solely carry three of every kind of weapon or throwable, and the weapons degrade after a dozen or so profitable hits. Holding L2 slows issues down and permits you to craft extra weapons or throwables, supplied you’ve acquired the requisite sources, and pointing at any merchandise routinely equips it, which is a pleasant contact however undoubtedly takes some getting used to.
You’ll additionally want a while to get used to managing what’s basically three separate well being bars – Thoughts, Physique, and Spirit. If any of those meters are depleted, Jess suffers varied results: Thoughts triggers a panic assault, whereby she can not assault anymore and should search a safer location, Physique outright kills her, and depleting Spirit means Jess can now not meditate to get better her Thoughts well being. That final bit is vital, as holding the cross button outdoors of fight permits for Jess to get better some thoughts vitality, and if she’s close to sure tables that sport massive crystals then she will fully heal her thoughts nearly freed from cost. It’s not as sophisticated because it sounds, and getting a grip on sustaining three standing bars isn’t too robust when you notice that solely the Physique stat actually forces you to begin over from the newest checkpoint. Jess may also carry as much as two therapeutic objects in every of those three stat classes to get better, one thing which will be upgraded.
There are some mild RPG parts in The Chant, and Jess earns XP for many actions within the sport. Studying a bit of lore or watching a reel-to-reel tape on one of many sport’s many conveniently-placed projectors earns Thoughts expertise, whereas defeating bodily enemies awards Physique expertise, and defeating Gloom enemies nets Spirit factors.
At varied occasions all through the story, there are additionally branching dialog decisions, which award 3 times the variety of factors in comparison with different actions. That is all tracked by way of the Stats possibility on the pause display screen, which might turn out to be useful if you happen to’re chasing down one of many sport’s endings.
The Unreal Engine 4 hums alongside within the background, and whereas The Chant appears wonderful, it’s pretty common so far as the graphics are involved. Brass Token did appear to pay particular consideration to pores and skin texture, as a result of as Jess and others get soiled, blood, filth and different substances cake onto their our bodies, accumulating in crevices and wrinkles. It’s an attention-grabbing impact, although as a result of the remainder of the character fashions aren’t very real looking it may well look sort of cartoonish at occasions. Maybe owing to the typical graphics, The Chant has no points working at 60 frames per second on the PS5 it doesn’t matter what’s happening.
Regardless of being a lower-budget title, The Chant does benefit from a few of the PS5’s options. The DualSense adaptive set off performance is used to assault – if you happen to pull the R2 set off a bit, Jess will carry out a lightweight assault, whereas pulling it past the resistance level will end in a heavy assault. This can be a neat mechanic, although in observe I used to be utilizing heavy assaults on a regular basis as a result of most enemies don’t react rapidly sufficient to Jess’ assaults to interrupt her. The LED additionally modifications colours relying upon the place Jess finds herself, typically matching the colour of the Gloom that she’s inside.
The Chant (PS5) screenshots
The Chant doesn’t overstay its welcome, and will likely be accomplished by most gamers in round eight hours on the Regular issue setting. There are three completely different endings, every dependent upon a single variable – how a lot expertise you’ve gathered within the Thoughts, Physique, or Spirit classes. Whichever has the very best quantity on the finish of the sport dictates which ending you’ll see, and a few are undoubtedly worse than others.
Sadly, apart from beginning a brand new sport, there is no such thing as a method to replay a piece for that one piece of lore you missed or to decide on a distinct branching dialog selection. A few of these extra trendy post-game choices would have helped incentivize individuals to replay the sport.
The Chant is a wonderful first providing from Brass Token. It could also be a bit tough across the edges, however general, that is the proper factor to play for these lengthy, darkish nights coming this season. With a brief playtime and three completely different endings to unlock, this must be enjoyable for others to look at as nicely. It is probably not the scariest sport to launch this 12 months, however The Chant has a freaky design to its creatures that can unsettle some late at night time. Steadiness your chakra and take part The Chant if you happen to’re in search of an honest religious journey.