Chant: Is it worth it?

With the upcoming return of Alan Wake, Silent Hill, Dead Space, Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil, it’s safe to say: survival horror is very well represented. However, we know there’s always room in a fan’s heart for one more, especially if it’s competent and fulfills the genre’s proposition. And that title could be a chant.

Developed by Prime Matter, the game is a third-person action-horror experience based on the iconic plot. Inspired by the concepts of Lovecraft and the cinematic techniques of Gaspar Noé, the title stands out with its own personality and original concepts – all of which are still very familiar to the public.

The story of the song

The story of The Chant alternates between two different eras: the 1970s and the present day. In the past, the cult leader created the concept of prismatic science to idolize a being who should be able to remove people’s negative feelings. In an attempt to revive the concept known as “Penumbra”, something went wrong.

For decades the summoning ritual had been dormant, but the sect was still active in the backwoods of the USA. When Jess Briars decides to travel to Fame Island to deal with a childhood trauma, she finds herself left to the end of the event desired by mastermind Tyler Anton.

Source: Andre Custodio

While chanting, all the members gathered in a circle and the ritual began. However, in a moment of desperation, Kim Mallary, Jessie’s friend, experiences a hallucination. By escaping the tent and interrupting the event, he causes a connection between the real world and outer space, opening portals to other realities and flooding the island with nightmares.

Inspired by space horror, The Chant pulls references from films like “The Cult” (2017) and “Sect” (2015) to present its main proposition. In addition to its ghostly aesthetic and transcendental elements, the game is notable for its psychotropic effects, color symbolism, and constant physical deformation.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

Each character has their own story and motivation. And while there are scenes based on clichés, the performances should not be overlooked. Traumas, resentments, regrets and problems common to society are faithfully and convincingly drawn out, especially when there are desperate situations where it is necessary to move forward.

Recycled but functional gameplay

The Chant has a great background and an engaging and thought-provoking story, but it’s the gameplay that really shines. Fans of The Evil Within and Shadows of the Damned will be amazed by the precise movement, functional controls, and level of difficulty available, both during exploration and during combat.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

The game offers tool wheels, resource generation, free actions to dodge and trigger. Also, jumping, opening doors, fast travel (very interesting by the way) and alternate mechanics are done via the “X” button and are limited to limited areas such as houses, open windows, fallen logs and openings.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

The experience of Prime Matter does not appear fragile, and given its context, nothing is unrealistic. During the campaign, Jesse experiences the Penumbra and develops spiritual gifts. This mechanic has variations in combat and must be used strategically as each activation consumes a Spirit meter.

From “cousins,” so to speak, The Chant has battles at its core. Exorcism tools can be crafted after collecting specific resources, but without exceeding those items. This means that fans don’t have to worry about accumulating a lot of information.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

Finally, Jesse also manages to create “gadgets” that are very useful in battles: salt, explosives, and acid. These features have dual uses in the game and can be left on the ground as tactical traps or thrown at creatures to disrupt their movement or charge. And really, it’s all very intuitive.

How are plot and mechanics related?

In Chant, the gameplay is directly related to the story. After joining the sect, Jesse develops the abilities of body, mind, and spirit, and can enhance them not only through the attribute tree, but also through actions.

Chanting menu
Source: Andre Custodio

Escaping from areas occupied by Penumbra, defeating enemies in battle and choosing specific dialogues when interacting with NPCs help to improve the hero in the aspect desired by the player. In addition, the game offers an interesting meditation mechanic, where you can sacrifice a soul meter to strengthen your mind.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

Basically, how do these three segments work? Mind controls Jesse’s sanity. The more time he spends in the penumbra or experiences brain invasions from enemies, the lower his sanity meter decreases. If the counter reaches zero, he enters a state of madness and fear and must run away from dangers to regain his courage.

Body is the most obvious: this attribute determines Jesse’s health points. Meanwhile, Spirit allows special abilities to be used through primates, including Stasis to slow down time, create dark thorns, and summon cultists to attack and damage monsters.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

In addition, you can find more information about the cult of prismatic science through archives, images and video recordings scattered throughout the island of fame. Dozens of content include interviews with the previous sect leader, bestiaries with creature information, texts with puzzle progression tips, inventory keys, and more.

Chant menu
Source: Andre Custodio

All of this helps to make the gameplay worthwhile and not just “sausage stuffing”. The more you discover about the story through the game’s systems and progression, the more you understand the motivations and purpose behind all of this horror.

Presentation of the film

Chanting is truly a cinematic experience. The title grabs attention with its various narrative aspects, which are thankfully well conveyed by the on-point lines of dialogue, lip-syncing and facial expressions. In addition, the technical facilities such as the soundtrack, photography and lighting are eye-popping.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

The game is a native work of horror and both the psychological and tension part of jumpscares. During the campaign, the more fearful players should have a good scare, especially after going through the rare moments of little peace. The battles are also brutal and animated, with a satisfying hitbox and a sense of gravity.

The entire context of the chant is spot on and it is clear that this was a project created by experts in the audiovisual field. There are no excesses in the game: puzzles, even clever ones, do not take much time, and the back and forth search engine is facilitated by the objective and cooperative level design of the map.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

Horror and survival horror fans can expect some good moments. Even with the anticlimactic ending, the title offers a rounded plot and no loose ends – if the files are recovered. There is, in fact, a script that is committed to the viewer’s judgment and a journey full of twists and turns.

A game that does a lot but loves a little

This phrase may sound strange, but the chant was not loved as much as it should have been. That’s because the game is truly a love letter to fans of the genre and iconic stories, but its generational restriction is very, very poorly justified.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

Technically speaking, the scenery and particle effects in the game are exquisite; Be prepared to spend hours just enjoying the mountainous and desolate scenery. However, the lack of polish in the character designs and the game crashing at 30 FPS – with no major drops to fix – leaves something of an impression of its time.

We can say that it is impossible for someone to experience the title and not imagine it on PS4 for example. The Chant doesn’t “style” the new generation of consoles in terms of resolution and performance.

chanting game
Source: Andre Custodio

Another issue is the virtually zero repetition factor. After completing the first gameplay, all that’s left is to try again with alternate and standard difficulty – just easy, medium and hard. No unlockable content after completing the campaign, hard modes for speedrunners, info galleries in the menu…nothing.

Chant: Is it worth it?

The Chant is one of the best horror games of the year and has great potential to become a franchise. This is a recommended project for fans of the genre looking for a challenging and visually satisfying campaign. And if you’re looking for a project at a more affordable price, the title costs just R$199 on the PS Store.

Prime Matter is a must-have title for those looking for over-the-shoulder survival horror alternatives, and features many original mechanics. Undeniably, the game knows how to explore complex themes perfectly and touches the hearts of even the most sensitive people, despite its graphical limitations.

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