Whilst Halloween has come and gone this year, there’s never a bad time to get stuck into a cool horror adventure. That’s exactly what I got with The Chant, with the game’s cult themes offering something fresh and intriguing in the genre. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said it did anything that blew me away, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good time as I unravelled its cosmic horrors.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The Chant puts players in the role of Jess, who finds herself venturing to Glory Island following the death of her sister. Her childhood friend had recommended she visit, whilst the spiritual folk that resided there (obviously a cult) were very welcoming to her arrival. It seems like the perfect place to grieve and find peace with her loss – especially since there are others there who are also dealing with similar emotional turmoil. Of course, it doesn’t take long for things to go drastically wrong on the island, with the performance of a strange ritual awakening a vicious evil that Jess will have to escape from. It’s the perfect recipe for a survival horror adventure, right?
It genuinely makes for an intriguing tale, and one that feels especially unique for the survival horror genre. Whilst seemingly ‘ordinary’ cults have been very prominent within other forms of media, I feel they’re not as commonly used in the world of video games. It’s very effective in The Chant though, with the harrowing journey proving to be a memorable one. Players will get to shape how events pan out too, with multiple endings available based on the choices you make throughout the adventure.
When it comes to the gameplay, The Chant very much feels like a traditional survival horror. You’ll explore a myriad of locales, all whilst fighting or evading enemies and solving puzzles. The game does evoke a larger sense of vulnerability though, especially since Jess isn’t really a fighter. Some of the monsters you’ll come across can be vicious, but you won’t be using guns or elaborate weaponry to take them down – instead, you’ll have to make use of the items you find around you to craft tools, or, more often than not, simply try to run away from them. You’ve also got a handy dodge move, and believe me, you’ll need to use it a lot.
“Between the sense of desperation when facing enemies and the slick abilities you have at your disposal, there’s a nice balance of all-out action and tense escapes in The Chant.”
Whilst the weapons you craft in the game will prove effective against the varying enemy types when you’re in a tight spot, players will also have access to special Prism abilities which can inflict different effects upon them. These can really give Jess the upper hand, whether it’s by slowing down enemies with Stasis, launching them away from her with Repel, or even raising spikes from the ground to harm them with Crystalize, just to name a few. These abilities can’t be used freely though, but instead deplete some of Jess’ spirit meter; whilst this can be recharged, the limited resources of the game mean you have to use your Prism abilities efficiently.
There isn’t just your spirit that you have to manage in the game though, with Jess having three important attributes: spirit, body, and mind. As mentioned, spirit is used to perform your Prism abilities, so it essentially acts as MP if you want to keep it simple. Meanwhile, body is your health, whilst mind is your mental state – find yourself facing too many horrors or getting into too many frightening scenarios and Jess’ mind meter will deplete, leaving her in a panic and unable to fight off the monsters. Everything can be restored through varying means, but you have to manage each attribute carefully if you hope to survive the many nasties that The Chant sends your way.
Thankfully, the game is never so difficult that you’ll ever feel like the odds are stacked against you, with resource management the main thing players will have to contend with. Sure, the enemies can be vicious and kill you with ease, but between the abilities and weapons at your disposal, it doesn’t take too long to figure out how to handle them. Jess will even be able to upgrade her capabilities as you progress through the game, so the odds even out as you face off against greater challenges.
Between the sense of desperation when facing enemies and the slick abilities you have at your disposal, there’s a nice balance of all-out action and tense escapes in The Chant. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily say combat always feels intuitive, it’s effective and works as a handy means when running away simply doesn’t work. And come on, sometimes it’s nice to kill the creatures stalking you, right? There’s some cool enemy variety too, with grim monstrosities joined by more human-like foes.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The puzzles are decent too, even IF they’re never really overly perplexing. They typically have you performing simple tasks, but up the stakes by having enemies stalk you in-between. Admittedly, I’m not always a big fan of this sort of thing and prefer a separation of combat and puzzle-solving in survival horror titles (like the classic Resident Evil games), but it does add to the tension and desperation you face.
I wouldn’t say anything particularly blew me away in The Chant, but it didn’t do anything bad that annoyed me either… it’s efficient and provides some enjoyable combat and puzzling without ever feeling spectacular. The game has been billed as an AA-tier release and I think it’s fair to say that’s exactly what it feels like. It is more noticeable in some of the rough edges of the game, with the controls often feeling clunky and character animations also looking a little stilted, but for the most part everything feels pretty good. In fact, some of the sights you’ll see in the game can be very impressive, whether that’s when enjoying the picturesque views of Glory Island or embracing the horrors that that are lurking within it.
The Chant Review
With its cult-themed premise and interesting gameplay mechanics, The Chant certainly manages to stand out as a cool horror experience. Sure, it doesn’t do anything too spectacular and it’ll be clear it’s a AA-tier release in places, but that’s fine – especially since it does everything in a competent and enjoyable manner. It offers everything you could hope for from the survival horror genre, and whilst it doesn’t reach the heights seen in the more popular titles, it’s definitely worth checking out if you like a scare or two.
Developer: Brass Token
Publisher: Prime Matter
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S