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Review: The Chant - A very unique story with poor execution

Published: 09:18, 03 November 2022
The chant mixes something new and unseen, spiritual cleansing with horror
The chant mixes something new and unseen, spiritual cleansing with horror

Is spiritual awakening always good? When should a person draw the line between reality and imagination? The Chant challenges these questions but does it provide the right answers?

What you need to know

  • What is it? A third-person horror exploration game
  • Reviewed on: PC - AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, 32GB RAM
  • Developer:  Brass Token 
  • Publisher:  Prime Matter 
  • Release date:  November 3, 2022
  • Available on: PC, PS5, PS4, XSX/S, Xbox One

Horror action - adventure The Chant, which is a debut title by developer Brass Token looked quite promising in pre-launch trailers and even though the game is visually stunning and has a somewhat intriguing story, it feels like a missed opportunity, with only roughly eight hours of active gameplay, lack of boss variety and dull exploration sequences. 

Story

The story starts off with a tutorial-like situation where you play as a pregnant woman who has found herself on a paradise island in the middle of a cult ritual where she meets a tragic end. The scene cuts to Jess, the main protagonist, having a phone call with her best friend.

Jess tells her best friend that she has decided to go to the Prismic Spiritual Retreat to attempt to come to terms with the grief over her dead sister. Once there, Jess is taken aback by the beauty of the island but cannot shake the feeling that something is not right. Kim, a member of the group at the spiritual retreat, decides to show Jess around and get her settled in.

Once Jess has acquainted herself with her new home, she gets invited to her first cleansing. The ritual is interrupted by Kim breaking the circle and running away in horrid panic. Jess follows her and that's when she realized that the island has secrets too deep to understand at first glance. 

In chapters one through six, Jess has to face all cult members one by one. By the end of chapter one, the player has already immersed themselves into the cult theme of the game with Jess' (now possessed) friends doing everything in their power to make sure that the ritual is executed properly. All of the chapters follow the same formula with random mini-bosses popping up at random locations and then the final bosses being relatively mediocre.

The Chant The Chant gameplay review The Chant gameplay review

Chapter six started off intense and kept the intensity all the way to the end, which was refreshing after spending hours just walking around, trying to figure out where the missing key pieces were.

The final boss battle is underwhelming and fails to reach the climax that the story tries to build from the get-go. It will take you roughly 10 minutes to beat the boss and be wary as passive playstyles are punished by parts of the boss respawning.

Gameplay

The random conversation prompts asking for the player's opinion on the topic are too rare and too quick to even be part of the game as there is a high chance for the player to miss them just because they were not actively looking at the screen the moment the prompt appeared.

The Chant The Chant gameplay review The Chant gameplay review

The random swarm of flies that appears in the shape of a human in every chapter, just to follow and attack the player, become rather obnoxious and not at all scary as their purpose seems to be chipping away at the player's resources. No proper explanation is given as to what the flies represent or what their story is.

The collecting of key parts before progressing into the next area mixed with the game forcing players to choose a specific path rather than exploring on their own turns the game into a walking simulator. The idea behind certain crystals unlocking certain paths is very intriguing. Every main character you meet possesses a crystal of a certain colour. The colour of the crystal matches the fog gates the player comes across throughout the map. If the player has the crystal, they may go through the gate.

The fast travel points are very hard to find and most of the time the player is better off walking directly to their destination instead of finding a teleporter. This whole system just feels like the developers trying to increase the playtime without the story being too long. 

The player cannot jump or crouch and the dodging mechanic is very iffy. The dodge animation is the player tripping over themselves and falling. Spamming dodges will result in the player getting hit by the enemy and losing a big chunk of their health.

The Chant The Chant gameplay review The Chant gameplay review

For players who choose not to dodge, there is also an option to shove which they can try to utilize. The shove is 50/50 and your best bet is using your throwables and waiting for the enemy to get stunned out of their attack. If you try to be greedy with your swings, the enemy will lock you into a kill animation and send you back to your last checkpoint.

One thing that can be taken as either a positive or a negative is the player's ability to leave mini-boss fights while on the other hand, normal enemies have the ability to open doors, climb through windows and crawl through holes in walls. Escaping a normal enemy is very hard whereas all it takes for a mini-boss to stop fighting is you leaving the area.

I liked the idea of the automatic flashlight, which turns itself on or off based on the lighting of the area around the player. Most of the game takes place during the night time and not having to go through your inventory just to equip your flashlight is a nice touch.

With the lack of basic movements like jumping or crouching, the game leaves the player with only a few controls they can use. While this can be convenient for the casual player as they do not have to memorize controls, it causes issues with those who tend to button mash and do not expect to activate two abilities consecutively. In a game where items are scarce, throwing away whatever object you had in your hand can be frustrating.

Visuals and Sound

When it comes to the visuals, the game is absolutely stunning even with the character movement sometimes being slightly clanky. The music during boss and mini-boss fights is on point but can be slightly redundant as the player explores the paths. The little slowed-down movement when the player beats an enemy is a very nice touch and adds extra satisfaction to it. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the game is decent, but not the 40€ pricetag decent. The story can use some expansion, a map could be integrated in the upcoming patches and maybe a few new different bosses can be introduced. This game definitely will have a demographic and, for some, it might just have what it takes to be an overall really good game but for us, there is more than just an environment with pretty colours. The review is written as an unbiased opinion but good job to the developers on what they've made.


 DON'T MISS:

The Good

  • The graphics and atmosphere
  • The music choice for the boss fights
  • Simple game mechanics
  • The idea behind the story

The Bad

  • Dodging and Shoving are very unpredictable
  • Game becomes a walking simulator when looking for items
  • Mini-bosses are random and very repetitive
  • No map makes the game a very confusing maze
  • Too expensive for what it is
57

Our Rating

Decent

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