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E3 2013 | “Ray’s the Dead” Raises My Hopes for a Good PS4 Launch

Posted on June 28, 2013 AT 12:30pm

One of Sony’s biggest focuses going into E3 this year was making their platform more accessible in terms of development and publishing. With that promise in mind, the console-maker brought along a parade of titles developed by small teams that will be available for the PS4 down the line. One of my favorites that I got to try ended up being Ray’s the Dead, a zombie-based game that had some interesting ideas.

Lately, it’s been hard not to notice the large amount of zombie games that have been hitting the market. With all these games out there, you’d think it would be a little more common than it is to put us in the rotting shoes of the living dead. In Ray’s the Dead they do just that by putting you in control of a zombie that it able to command a horde of ghouls.

With a special light attached to his head, the titular character is given the ability to raise the dead (see what they did there?) and progress through the levels using this horde. The challenges you can face getting through the world involve getting enough undead to break through barriers, sneaking around the world while quietly turning people into zombies and just chowing down on cops and angry mobs.

The demo starts you off in a graveyard, which has a fence that needs knocking down before you can progress. Any time you stumble across a glowing grave, it means there’s a zombie that can be added to your horde by holding the L2 trigger. As well, if you stumble across any unsuspecting citizens, you can send in your undead buddies to take them down and then resurrect and add them to your team. Once you’ve obtained enough walkers to break down the fence, it’s as simple as directing them with the right analog stick to accomplish your goal and move on. If you’re trying to imagine how the game plays, it’s quite similar to Nintendo’s Pikmin with a bit more linear of a progression.

The next sequence puts you on the road during halloween. The citizens of the town can’t tell you’re real zombies and blowing your cover could be bad, so it has you sneakily taking down the townies and turning them into your undead cronies. To do this, it has you hide a zombie inside a bush or outhouse until an unsuspecting person walks by and gets pulled inside. Stealth isn’t something you usually expect from a zombie horde, so this was a pleasant surprise.

The final sequence first has you meet up with a zombie dog that has the ability to rush in and stun whomever they’re sent in to attack. This is especially helpful against the live dogs which can sniff you out if you get too close to them. Like other enemies, when you take down a dog, they can be added to your zombie team. Once you’ve gotten the hang of everything else, the last section of the demo takes you and throws you against crowds of enemies.

With the varied types of areas and gameplay styles illustrated by this demo, I’m very excited to see where this game goes from here. The art style is a beautifully goofy mix of 2D and 3D and the humor of the game is chuckle-worthy several times in the demo alone. If this game is any indication, it looks as though Sony’s dedication to make the PS4 a console for developers is going to benefit all involved.

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