The Chant game review (PS5, Xbox Series, PC)

Ah, what a beautiful tranquility to find ourselves on an island where we are welcomed in a spiritual retreat to relax from our daily grind…

thanks to PrimeMatter who gave us a code for the game to do the media coverage and the test. The publisher/developer therefore authorizes us to distribute and/or use excerpts from the game for our production needs and does not intervene in any way in the awarding of the final grade.

Unwittingly discover behind the scenes

Coming out of almost nowhere, the supernatural adventure game The Songof Brass Token and PrimeMatter, really took us by surprise! Building on a semi-horror scenario drawing its energies from the cults of dark sects, The Chant sets the table for fans of horror games. I also stayed there and here is what I learned from my experience of it!

A not-so-relaxing retreat after all…

In The Chant, we play the role of Jessica, a young businesswoman who takes time out in a retreat on an island, after having been invited there by her friend Kim. Jessica not being very focused on spiritualism, she still accepts her friend’s invitation in order to reconnect with her, the two having distanced themselves due to Jess’ career. Once there, the latter is able to see the beauty of the place and that despite the sectarian appearance of the regulations that reign there, the place will allow her to relax for a while…

On her first night with the other members of the retreat, Jessica takes part in a ritual related to the cosmic energies of the prisms that each of them carries. Unfortunately, Jess’s friend, Kim, experiences bad energy, causing her to run away in panic. In doing so, she then breaks the ritual, which opens up the shadow dimension, in which evil entities reign. Like the others, Jess then finds herself possessed by the shadows, now having to fight for her survival, that of her friend and the other members of the retreat…

Basically, the scenario proposed by The Chant is really very good and the course of it works wonders. On the other hand, perhaps the developer should have put a little more time at the start of the game in order to ensure that Jessica had time to bond with the other members, which would have reinforced our attachment to the characters. It’s not tragic, but with tragedy happening very quickly, there’s a certain inconsistency in Jess acting like she’s known them for months and months… Other than that, it’s also worth mentioning that although the story is very good, it is also quite predictable.

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Although The Chant is its very first official title, the Brass Token studio relies on the talent of veterans who have worked on titles such as bully and Sleeping Dogs. Once the game started, we are able to see that the Vancouver studio does not skimp on the means. The first thing that strikes is the visual quality which, without being up to a God of War Ragnarok, does very well in the game. The environments are beautiful and quite detailed, although their look often comes back to the same. The modeling of the characters is quite good, but we quickly notice that a lot of effort has been made on Jessica and a little less on the others.

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The Chant is a rather linear adventure, in which you will have to go in search of other members of the commune in order to succeed in freeing them from the hallucinations of which they are victims, following the failure of the ritual. Clearly, these are now possessed by the shadow beings and we will have to try to save them from them. Like many linear type games, Jess will explore the paths and habitats of the island, where she will find texts and reels explaining what is hidden behind the supposed spiritual retreat. Obviously, certain passages will block its progression, these blocked by fields of various spiritual energies.

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These can be accessed through the prisms of different colors worn by the members of the retreat. Each time Jessica manages to find and free a character from her possession, she will be able to recover her prism, which will allow her to enter the energy fields associated with the color of the prism obtained.

Obviously, in these areas lurk shadow creatures that we will have to face. The bestiary is quite diverse and the creatures interesting in terms of design and combat abilities. If you play in normal mode, these will offer you a good challenge, especially in places where you will find more than 2 or 3 at a time. I liked the diversity offered and even the obligation to face them and eliminate them, the operation often resulting in key items to collect to advance in the game.

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Although we don’t find many different items in the game, I liked the fact that, a bit like Resident Evil, that we must combine certain elements together in order to create those that we need to open specific doors. I wish The Chant offered more puzzle-based puzzles, but it doesn’t. There are certainly a few places where we find them, but they are rather simplistic and really few… Besides, it is quite important to try to open these locked places, because the majority of them contain various important resources for Jessica’s offensive and defensive means.

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Thanks to the various plants, salts and oils found, Jess can thus make incandescent whips, traps and bombs which will help her to defeat the creatures of the shadows. As the adventure progresses, Jess will also find Prismatic Crystals, which can be spent on a skill tree to enhance her psychic abilities. Because although our character can attack and defend himself, the simple fact of finding himself in a place occupied by the shadow world stresses him and affects his mental capacity.

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Once the energy of her mental charge is exhausted, Jess’s vision is altered and she can no longer attack or dodge, which places her in situations of vulnerability. It will then be necessary to consume plants with relaxing faculties, to meditate or outright get out of these areas so that it can recover a minimum of energy. The mechanics are all quite good and you can recharge your spiritual energy gauge in various ways. But be careful, because the resources to do so can become relatively difficult to obtain, which increases the difficulty of certain situations in the game.

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In the approximately 7 hours of play that it took me to see the credits, I can say that I never really felt like I had any downtime. The exploration, research and action segments are well balanced, which keeps us on our toes, but also allows us to breathe here and there. The Chant is not a “Big game“, but is a really great game, especially for a first title from a new studio. As the end seems to foreshadow, there will be a sequel to Jessica’s adventures and we can’t wait to see that this Brass Token will reserve us for this one…

Verdict

Game Test - Score 7.5

What we really like

  • Simple story, but original and effective
  • Good visual
  • Very good level design
  • Dialogues and texts all in French!
  • Good quality/duration/price ratio (about 7 hours)
What we like less

  • The story is good, but extremely predictable
  • Environments are repetitive
  • Creatures are also repetitive

To know the criteria of our rating system, visit this page.

Take note that the tested version is the one on PS5. The game is also available on Xbox Series and PC.

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The Chant game review (PS5, Xbox Series, PC) – M2 Gaming