Official Site – Back during all the wonderful chaos of C2E2 I had the amazing opportunity to lurk about and have a great conversation with Rag Tag Studio about their upcoming game: “Ray’s The Dead”; an innovative take on the zombie genre for the PC, MAC, and Linux. With a great overview of gameplay and the many prospective and engaging gameplay facets shaping up, I can say with all confidence that this is a game to not only watch out for, but support aggressively. That said, I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? What IS this game, and why should I give a crap? What’s so great about it? Why doesn’t my dog like his new dry food?
Fear not, I have the answers you seek. For starters, you spoiled your dog with wet food and you have noone but yourself to blame. As for the game, let’s start with the biggest hurdle: Gameplay and concept. So let’s cut the foreplay, sailor, and come right out with it: Another zombie game? I know, I know, zombie games are flooding the market worse than Deadpool variant covers and news about the Kanye West/Kim Kardashian demon baby. So why Ray? Why more zombies? The fact of the matter is, the game is innovative and original and no matter how tired a genre or theme can be, that spark of unique content handled capably will *always* make a game worth your time. Playing as Ray, you set off on a journey to figure out just what the Hell happened to you! Gameplay surrounds a Pikmin like mechanic, where you control a fluctuating army of zombies through strategic facets, action-adventure, stealth, and more all tied together with a truly engaging story (which in my opinion is the deal-breaker in almost any game that isn’t by-design some sort of party game). I could gush all day on the plot and mechanics, but I truly feel I can’t do it justice and happily point you towards raysthedead.com to check out their video and read over the features more at length. In my brief time with the game, watching Ray direct zombies to hide in bushes and snatch passing guards to convert into more fodder for his zombie army blew my mind. The gameplay has a depth I never could have forseen at first glance.
Now, as we all know, gameplay and story are the body and soul of any game. They are the deal breakers, and in that regard Ray’s The Dead come through in spades. But that’s not all there is to a game, and I think too often facets like the visual aesthetic and the severity of the game’s tone can bog down a game that’s otherwise ideal on paper. For it’s unique nature? Ray’s The Dead is, infact, ideal on paper. Fortunately for Rag Tag Studios, Ray’s aesthetic is both vibrant and engaging while at the same time carrying the necessary macabre a zombie game demands; the art style is both interesting and comedic without disarming the player with cloying cutesy BS. The game takes itself seriously, without taking itself seriously. I know, I just blew your mind with some Kung Fu-grade contradictions, but stick with me on this: The game remains true to it’s core premise, the reality it builds for itself, while keeping it light-hearted and fun. Any of these facets being just slightly off can tank even a well-written plot, and there are few things I place a greater value on than the story at the heart of a game.
As a Pre-Review, I am giving Ray’s The Dead a 5 out of 5. When the final product hits the market, the real stress test will begin, but as-is this is *the* game to watch.
As an aside, I need to clarify something; On a personal level, I feel a lot of the major game developers are so desperate to stay afloat that their willingness to innovate and keep the games fresh and eye-catching by taking risks practically withers and dies. This places unprecedented weight on the indie gaming scene. Players are increasingly more open to checking out these budding developers, who are producing not just quality games but labors of love. Passion is what drives gamers, and the indie scene needs to feed that passion with games like Ray’s The Dead. Labors of love worthy of an audience. I cannot stress this enough – As a community of gamers we need to support worthy games, so please, follow this link and take a look for yourselves and decide if this is a game worthy of the public. Even if it isn’t a game that is your particular cup of tea, if the quality is there, give it a vote on Steam Greenlight. If we can raise the bar, it only bodes well for the future of gaming.