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The Chant review: spiritual horror

Let’s discover together in this review the cosmic and spiritual horrors with which we will have to deal in the brand new The Chant

After being announced for the first time just over a year ago, the first work developed by the boys of Brass Token and edited by Black Matter has finally landed on PC, Xbox Series X / S and PS5. The Chant, this is the title of the work, appears on paper as a survival horror full of psychedelic and spiritual atmospheres, combined with a typically action adventure gameplay. A really interesting dish, and therefore, without further ado, let’s discover together in this review how the Chant fares, pad in hand.

In the shadow of the prisms

After a rather eventful intro, the game will take us to the beginning of the 70s, immediately putting us in the shoes of Jess, the protagonist of our history. The latter, at the invitation of her dear friend Kim, will decide to go up Glory Island to participate in a spiritual retreat organized by the so-called “prismatic community”. Obviously not everything is as it seems, and, without going into detail to avoid spoilers, we will soon find ourselves having to deal with supernatural creatures emerging from the darkness.

Cosmic horrors of a clear Lovecraftian matrix merge here with the vein called by many Folk Horror (especially in the first few bars of the game it seems as if the authors wanted to take some ideas from the film Midsummerof which you can find our review here) in a plot that slips away between ups and downs in the narrative rhythm, telling a plausible universe but that will hardly be able to really scare youespecially if you are a seasoned fan of the horror genre.

The Chant review: spiritual horror

Of sage, salt and essential oils – The Chant Review

As mentioned in the opening of this review, The Chant is a horror with a strong action adventure connotation. In fact, we must not be misled into comparing the title to the gameplay of works such as the Dark Picture Anthology series. The on-screen action will take place in the third person, and, unlike many other exponents of the genre that have come out in recent years, here not only we will be able to defend ourselves from the creatures we will meetbut the combat system set up by the development team is also quite detailed.

However, we will not have firearms available but we will have to exploit the herbs and resources that we will find around to manufacture some kind of torches and sticks that apparently have the power to drive away the beasts of darkness. We will have available one dodge and two types of attackand we can also decide to throwing salt and essential oils at our enemies. It will still be possible to exploit the power of prismsa sort of pendants made of precious stones (we will find them in different colors and we will also need them to progress in history) which will give us the most disparate powers, at the price of consuming a little Spirit (which we will talk about later).

The development team from this point of view did a good job, conferring a more than fair variety in the possibilities of approach in the clashes. If focusing only on the primary attacks could soon tire you, making the most of Jess’s skill pack will return a much better feeling, and, in many cases, it also turns out to be the best choice to emerge victorious from battles. It must be said that our opponents will certainly not shine for cunning: it will almost never be a real problem to escape them, and the attack patterns they are equipped with will be mostly easy to interpret and avoid. Finally they are also present varie boss fightalmost all well calibrated and structured, in which it will be necessary to master all the mechanics at our disposal to bring home the skin.

The Chant review: spiritual horror

A healthy mind in a healthy body – Review of The Chant

In the previous paragraph of this review we mentioned the Spirit and its use in The Chant fights. In fact, the game will require us to balance three statistics: Body, Mind and Spirit. The first represents the classic life barwhich will drop if we take damage, while the second is the equivalent of sanity and will be consumed in certain situations, such as when we find ourselves in the dark or we will be hit with some particular enemy attacks. If we are short of Mind it will be possible, in moments of calm, to meditate to restore it by spending the bar of Spirit. As mentioned above, however, the latter will also be necessary to use the powers of the prisms, so it will be our task to find the right balance.

Each of these three statistics can then be restored using herbs that we will find around the island, and we can also enhance them through a simple skill tree. In short, there is meat on the fire and the development team deserves credit for having developed and implemented a large number of ideaswhich on the whole work and manage to entertain, but tend to wear out rather quickly, leaving the impression that they could have gone further and developed some of these mechanics further.

The Chant review: spiritual horror

Escape the Island – The Chant Review

The structure of the game is based on the classics of the genre, therefore we will find ourselves at collect keys and other items that we will need to continue our advance. There are also classics environmental puzzles and riddles, pleasant but never really complex. In support of all this we will then have, scattered everywhere, the inevitable documents to read, which expand the rather well-kept lore of the game.

For our review we played on intermediate difficulty, finishing The Chant in about five hours, pausing in at least a couple of situations to reflect on how to continue. The presence of three endings (one for each stat) only partially compensates for a slightly shorter duration than the average of the genre, but if you want to recover all the documents, explore every ravine of the island and discover all the ways in which Jess’s adventure can end then you will pass on the title a much greater number of hours.

The Chant review: spiritual horror

The technical side of darkness – The Chant review

Graphically, the title looks pretty good. The glance is pleasant and offers some suggestive views, with good use of lighting and visual effects. At a closer look, however, you can see the technical limits deriving from a production with a lower budget than that of a triple A. The animations in particular, while remaining credible, turn out to be a little woody, especially during close-ups in the cutscene. Despite these details, however, it is undeniable that the development team has taken care of the technical aspect to the maximum of its abilities, and the result is at more than good levels. We also point out that, for our review we tried The Chant on Xbox Series X, without ever encountering a drop in framerate or bugs of some kind.

As far as the audio department is concerned, we have a fluctuating Italian dubbing, with some successful acting peaks and others decidedly subdued. The sound design is also average, with verses of creatures not particularly noteworthy but still credible, while the music often remains subdued. Mind you, the decision to opt for songs with a typically 70s / 80s flavor (with various prog rock influences) is interesting and well contextualized. The tracks that accompany the game are mostly enjoyable and in moments of calm they do their duty. But that’s when the more agitated situations, such as cutscenes and fights against larger beasts, than there is a lack of a greater musical presencefrom which the scenes would surely have benefited in terms of phatos.

The Chant review: spiritual horror

Lights and shadows

The Chant is therefore an ambitious but crude work. They are present in it many interesting ideas, some of them also done in a rather good way, but the whole is permeated by the natural roughness that often characterizes the first works. Despite this the boys of Brass Token have demonstrated a great creative potential and therefore, after having tried this title, we cannot fail to be intrigued also by the next projects of the Canadian studio.

What do you think? Have you already played this title or do you plan to do so? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to for all the news dedicated to the world of video games. To buy video games at a discounted price, we recommend that you take a look at the Instant Gaming catalog.

An ambitious first feature.

Points in favor

  • Good technical realization …
  • So many interesting ideas …
  • Particular and well-finished combat system.

Points against

  • … which sometimes gives way to woody animations and a few too many edges.
  • … but some could have been more thorough.
  • Short storyline and with a fluctuating pace.