WARNING: The following review contains images depicting gore that may not suitable for children and/or sensitive individuals!
Humans have always been fascinated with the occult and the unknown. So, what would happen if you take elements from series like Stranger Things and mix them up with a Silent Hill kind of vibe? The Chant happens!
Follow along the path to your spiritual awakening as we dive deep into the secrets behind this title.
Story and Gameplay
Developed by Brass Token and published by Prime Matter, The Chant takes you on a single player spiritual journey to heal your emotional wounds. The game is a third-person, horror, action-adventure in which you must craft, fight, flee and do anything you possibly can to escape from the terrors hiding around Glory Island. As you explore, you'd also be faced with occasional puzzles you need to complete before progressing.
You begin in the middle of an ongoing ritual. The camera focuses your view on a pregnant woman who seems preoccupied during the activity. Suddenly, she feels it's better to run away than to stay there, literally beginning the first chase sequence inside the game as other members that were also partaking in the ritual begin to follow her in hopes of bringing her back and completing the rite. After some successful dodges, her story comes to an end and a cinematic begins showing us the protagonist, Jess. You quickly learn that she's carrying a heavy burden from the past that involves the death of one of her loved ones.
Trying to make peace with herself and bury all the pain from her past, Jess arrives at Glory Island in search of enlightenment. Once on the island, you meet the other members of the retreat: Kim, Maya, Sonny, Hannah and Tyler. Each one has a very specific task in the community and a past they're also running from. After talking with each and every one of them, a daily ritual commences and you soon discover that what at first seems like a wonderful getaway to ease the soul, is actually a nightmare unfolding in front of your very own eyes.
When one of the members breaks the circle and runs off, sudden psychodelic horrors begin to haunt everyone. Covered in some kind of mist, they are known as The Gloom and feed off negative energy. You get tasked with finding the others, which seem to be disappearing one by one. Throughout your exploration, you learn to craft weapons, discover new abilities, face off (or run from) a variety of enemies and find secrets about the members and the island. The deeper you delve into the story, the more you'll realize that we can't run away from our problems.
The Chant offers many interesting elements to keep you occupied. Let's begin with the enemies. You quickly unlock a bestiary that as you fill it up, will provide you with important information and description of each enemy encountered. Some enemies will bind to you, making them more powerful and harder to beat. You will face cultists, flower like monsters, toads, specters, what looks like demogorgons and many other crazy creations. However, the decision to fight is entirely up to you. There will be moments when it will be almost required since your life is at stake but with some planning, most fights are avoidable, if you choose to flee.
The game also includes 3 main aspects that, when well balanced, guarantee survival: maintaining your "healthy" levels, crafting and abilities. As you begin the game, you quickly stumble upon an enemy made of flies that sends you into a panic attack. Kim teaches you how to meditate to calm your mind and raise your mind's energy. Each time you go through The Gloom or encounter an enemy, your mind energy will decrease, if it gets completely depleted, you'll enter into panic attack mode and won't be able to use any of the weapons you've crafted to fight. Health is also a big aspect, as monsters and enemies not only hurt you psychologically but physically too. The last level is spirit. You'd need this one for abilities and meditation. Throughout each area of the map, you will encounter the necessary items to upgrade these levels and even combine them for stronger resistance and better chances of survival.
Let's talk about crafting now. If you've played any survival game, you'd usually think of crafting weapons such as knives, bats, and even firearms. Well, not here. In this game, the weapons you craft are designed specifically for fighting against dark and occult entities so ready that sage smudge stick, the salt and those essential oils since you'll need them to deal damage to the creatures you'll encounter. Yes, you heard me right, the weapons, while some deal physical damage, most concentrate on the psychological aspect. You'll find crafting items along the map but the game does a good job at pointing them out with their glow texture.
On to abilities. Each member holds a sacred prism of a different color. You are granted the blue prism upon arrival. This lets you roam freely through blue glooms. It also grants you a special ability to use against your enemies. As you progress in the story, you gather other abilities from the rest of the prisms which help you an immense lot! Depending on the ability you choose to use, it will cost you some energy from the spirit level. Even after getting all 6 abilities, my favorite one was the spikes, as it was a great way to get enemies away from you if you ever were surrounded.
Another thing worth reminding is that the game has puzzles. They aren't hard to figure out but some times can take a while to complete, depending on the enemies and your "healthy" levels. The puzzles are required to progress in the game, so you won't be able to move forward until you complete them. Most of them involve finding key parts that you will combine to unlock new areas. So, be prepared to spend some time searching and looking around for the necessary items but pay good attention to your surroundings as some times what you need, may be between walls or protected by an enemy.
Pros & Cons
- Multiple endings. The game offers 3 unique endings depending on what you focus on the most during your gameplay. Will you be able to unlock all 3 endings? Which one did you get first?
- Superb sounds. The Chant has a rocking soundtrack and awesome sound effects. If you listen closely, you can even tell when enemies are getting closer to you.
- Outstanding graphics. Wow, wow, WOW! This game has some incredible and out-of-this-world graphics. I was amazed at the level details all around from the locations, to the enemies and the characters. The cinematics made me feel like I was watching a series instead of playing a game.
- Full on controller usage. If you choose to use the controller, I can guarantee you, you will use most of it. Joysticks move you and the camera, D-pad heals the level of your choosing, bumper and trigger buttons deal damage and abilities, they also craft and use special battle items, like salt.
- Difficulty customization. Wanna give it a go on easy to get the feel of the game before diving completely in? Go ahead. Feel like you already know how to deal with the enemies and want to try Magister (hard mode)? Sure, why not?
- Lost in the mist. The island can be quite confusing at times and without any map in the pause menu, you're left to explore using the best of your abilities and the signs posted around.
- Story felt short. While there is a lot of lore to explore and read, I felt like we got the story about the island but barely touched on Jess' story. Sure, between discussions with other characters, her story is talked about more but... (spoilers ahead!) why was she able to resist the Gloom?
- Price. I battled between adding this or not, but felt is was important to mention. The current set price for this game is a bit high and each DLC also costs you extra. I would have expected the game to include the added extras for it's price and maybe having them unlock as you progress in the story.
(On a scale of 1-5, being 5 the absolute best)
For a game whose main targets are horror fans, The Chant felt short in delivering the spooky/scary factor. The jumpscares were expected and nothing really stood out enough to scare me. Maybe it's simply because I grew up playing horror games but I was actually kind of bumped because I had very high expectations for this title. Sure, the game has amazing gory moments and scenery that fascinated me though. It can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to finish the game completely. There's also an achievement for quick run which means finishing in less than 4 hours. My run took me around 8 hours to complete and I was still missing around 5 documents around the island. Since there are multiple endings, you can try and play different rounds to unlock them all.
If you want to have some fun facing against occult forces and cultists, then by all means, give The Chant a try. In the end, I still have a lot of questions that were left unanswered. I wanted to know... were they aliens, demons, apparitions created by the collective mind? Did the prisms really contain unknown power? Up to what point was this just a manifestation of euphoria mixed in with whatever was in that ritualistic drink? Sure, the game teases with some of these answers but hey, as a Silent Hill fan... you can never be too sure that what you're seeing is actually reality. What are your thoughts?
Available now on:
For more info about this game, you can visit their official website!