With the horror genre going through a sudden but welcome revival, a bang-average title isn't really going to cut it anymore as The Callisto Protocol and Dead Space loom on the horizon. Unfortunately, The Chant is exactly that. It's an okay game, but it's going to be forgotten about just as quickly as it comes.
A third-person title about fighting psychedelic threats rather than hiding from them, protagonist Jess has decided to take a spiritual retreat that manages to go pear-shaped inside maybe 15 minutes. The game leaves absolutely no room for suspense to build, immediately thrusting you into a fight against another dimension after a ritual goes wrong. What follows isn't nearly as interesting.
With a somewhat cinematic edge, the game funnels you through pretty linear locations, fighting monsters and solving puzzles as you go. The combat system feels clunky a lot of the time, with heavy-handed animations locking you into attacks and the lack of a lock-on making it more difficult to judge distance. Some of the powers you get are pretty cool, but you can only use them so much; their use is governed by a meter you never feel is quite full enough.
There are one or two neat puzzles in-between encounters, but again, they never go far enough to actually be impressive. The Chant feels like it was made to be functional and nothing more. Sometimes we enjoyed the five to six-hour title — particularly when the Jared Leto knock-off of a cult leader was ever on screen — while other times we didn't.
It's important to recognise this isn't a AAA game, though, so some of its visuals come off reasonably grand. With views across the island and the surrounding ocean, there are some picturesque shots to enjoy when the sun's up. A rock-solid 60 frames-per-second ensures everything runs smoothly too, no matter how intense the action gets.
If only the rest of the game could reach those standards; it's a frustratingly average title that does nothing particularly well nor insultingly bad. The Chant is just very okay, which is probably the most boring route it could take.