Available now on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Xbox,The Chant is a single-player, third person horror action-adventure game. It is developed by Brass Token and published by Prime Matter, and I will be talking about the PlayStation 5 version of the game in my review.
You play as Jess, who, in an attempt to heal from a past traumatic event, has agreed to join a spiritual retreat on Glory Island. It doesn’t take long before her ideas of a peaceful, healing weekend are destroyed when, after taking part in a group chant, an alternate cosmic dimension called The Gloom opens, which starts to engulf the island and take control of everything and everyone on it. You will have to travel between the dimensions as you try to save the other retreat members from being consumed by their own negative energies.
In order to survive, there are 3 main stats you need to keep an eye on. Mind, Body, and Spirit are essential to Jess’ well-being. Each one serves a different purpose. Mind can be considered as your sanity meter. Once depleted, Jess will start to have a panic attack. Body which is essentially your health bar dictates how much damage you can take. Finally, there is your Spirit meter which can be used to either regenerate your Mind or use your special “prism” abilities. You will need to collect consumables in the form of different kinds of plants and herbs to replenish these meters.
Jess quickly learns how to use the resources available on the island to craft spiritual weapons in her bid to fight off the cosmic creatures she encounters from The Gloom. Some weapons include incense burners which are used as melee weapons and items such as salt or oil which can be thrown at enemies to slow them in their tracks. I thought this was unique and a really nice way to do things having the weapons based around the spiritual cleansing theme. Despite this, the combat and character movement feels rather clunky and sluggish at times. There are a few puzzles you will need to solve in order to progress through the game but in all honesty, these are pretty weak and really don’t get you thinking too much which is a bit of a shame.
In true survival horror style, resources are spread very thinly around the island and for the most part, I always felt like the odds were stacked against me which is exactly how a survival horror experience should make you feel. The developers really nailed the balance between giving you enough resources to survive and making you feel like you don’t have enough to get by.
Visually, I thought The Chant was a mixed bag. The environment looks amazing, the textures and details are wonderful, however where it comes unstuck is the character animations and facial movements - they just don’t look great at all. I also experienced some stuttering and a few frame drops while I was playing. But overall, I will say that the graphics for the environments more than make up for the rest of the downfalls, The Chant really is a great looking game.
The audio is outstanding with a wonderful soundtrack which really helps set the atmosphere quite brilliantly. The sound effects are great and really help to bring together the entire package. I thought the voice acting from Siobhan Williams who plays Jess is some of the best I've heard in a video game. All the actors do a wonderful job, but Jess’ performance really stands out as an incredible performance.
So, to wrap things up, The Chant is a bit rough around the edges with some weak puzzles, but I enjoyed every minute of it. The story is unique, the atmosphere is wonderful and the whole game is put together really nicely. I thought the gameplay was challenging and it gave me a true survival horror experience. I would definitely recommend this to any fan of the survival horror genre and for this to be Brass Token's first original IP, it is very impressive. I really can’t wait to see what there is to come from these developers in the future.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 4 out of 5.
Many thanks to PLAION for supplying the review code.