The Chant is a brand new single-player third-person horror, action/adventure title from the minds at Brass Token. Based in Vancouver, Canada, The Chant is their first original IP. That is not to say the studio isn’t stacked with talent. The team includes several industry veterans who worked on titles such as Bully and Sleeping Dogs.
Definitely not a cult?
Hitting my radar in June this year The Chant struck my attention partly due to the original teaser trailer. The trailer started with a shot over a lake looking towards the retreat. It looked peaceful and relaxing, as they sit down inside the Geodome, which is when everything changed to darkness, enemies and chaos.
The Chant takes place on a spiritual island retreat that hides a dark secret. Our protagonist is Jess who has had enough and needs to get away and patch things up with her friend Kate. Kate has reached out and invited Jess to the retreat so off she goes.
At the retreat, we quickly find out that Jess has an intense fear of flies. This aids to show us one of the unique game mechanics which is shown as mind. When the mind meter runs out, Jess experiences a panic attack and is unable to fight. This helps to sow the seeds that she isn’t an action hero, she experiences fear and panics just like everyone. To her credit, Jess notices that Kate is wearing all-white retreat gear and no shoes. It isn’t long before she questions Kate about it being in a cult! As Jess, you are able to respond to questions or stay silent and you are given a time limit to press an option before it fades out.
The retreat is named Prismatic Science camping and betterment retreat (definitely not a cult) and it is run by Tyler Anton, a bearded guru who “likes to smoke when stressed.” Everyone at the retreat has a prism necklace of “varying”, it is a combination of the prism and chanting that should allow enlightenment. It is here that things take a turn for the worse and Kate screams at Jess, telling her not to blame her and runs off breaking the circle.
The breaking of the circle opens The Gloom which is a parasitic dimension that engulfs the island creating prismatic creatures and cultists. As other members of the retreat slowly become consumed by The Gloom, Jess finds herself as the only one that can gather the prisms and stop the evil force.
Mind, Body and Spirit
The three core stats necessary for Jess’ well-being are Mind, Body, and Spirit. They each serve a different purpose:
- Mind: Panic occurs when it is empty.
- Body: The degree to which you can take damage. When empty you die.
- Spirit: Can be exchanged to regain mind, or spent on prism abilities
There are consumables that can help to restore these core stats.
- Lavender: Calms the mind.
- Ginger: Helps restore the body.
- Spirit Cap: Regains spirit.
There are also skills that you can level up which increases your core stats, alongside craftable items so you can rid the island of the parasitic creatures.
Graphics & Audio
Playing on the Playstation 5, before the Day 1 patch goes live. There are areas in the game that are fantastic, these tend to be the wide spaces. There are a few graphical issues close up however, the patch is due to clear up most of those as well as level balancing the weapon damage.
The use of colours for the different prism areas provides barriers that, unless you have the right colour prism, you aren’t getting through. It is worth keeping an eye out though as there may be certain ways around it.
The way Jess moves during fighting is at times very limited, there is a dash as well as a fall to the floor mechanic to get out of the way of attacks. Personally, I would have preferred a more varied approach however, being the studio’s first release and a mid-tier price range (£34.99) I think the team has done an amazing job.
It is the Audio in the game that brings that horror aspect and is reminiscent of many supernatural experiences. The creaking of the floorboards and the banging of doors all add to the tension. Later on, you receive a radio which whilst meaning you are more contactable adds to the tension with crackling. Slightly Silent Hill style.
You can hear the projector and the poor film quality (by design not a flaw in the game). There is so much going on with the weather it can lull you into a false sense of security.
The Chant comes in at around 6 hours of gameplay which feels it is in the right place for this mid-tier title, there are numerous collectibles throughout the game that can give you more of an insight into the retreat and the people who have chosen to be there.
With 3 possible endings, there is certainly replay value, I haven’t experienced a different ending yet, however, I believe the endings may correspond with your choice in dialogue.
The Chant is a great Journey and a massive step away from the usual style of survival horror. With an everyday character who doesn’t wield axes or guns to take down enemies. The puzzles within the game have you searching for keys or items to combine to open doors. I really enjoyed the game and it is for that reason I award The Chant the Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Release date: November 3rd 2022. Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.