Ray’s the Dead sees the titular Ray meet an unfortunate end before coming back as a zombie. It’s silly and the writing is definitely one of the weaker parts of the game, but the general concept is sound and ripped straight from the 80s.
Playing as Ray, you need to amass a zombie army to make progress, and this is fairly straight forward. You can attack enemies and kill them, then you can reanimate them as zombies to join your shuffling horde of the undead. The bigger your army, the more damage you can deal and receive.
If you’ve played a Pikmin game, you’ll be familiar with the mechanics on show, as the general group health and power is what you’ll need to be keeping an eye on as well as Ray’s own health. You can command your minions to attack enemies, smash objects, and scurry to out-of-reach areas to solve some of the game’s puzzles. Again, it’s simple stuff, mostly, and not too taxing on the grey matter – perfect if you’re already a little brain dead.
I started my adventure in Ray’s the Dead with high hopes due to the production values. The cartoony aesthetic was lovely and had a nice charm to it. Then there’s the music. I’ve never been more inclined to jiggle to the beat in a game than I have with Ray’s the Dead. The soundtrack is excellent and easily my favourite part of the game. However, this ain’t Guitar Hero, so the soundtrack takes a backseat and it’s the gameplay that stands before the judge. The verdict? Not great.
The general gameplay is fine until you realise that there’s little else to do outside of spamming the attack button, killing the enemies, and then moving on. The game does try to mix things up with some quasi-stealth sections where you need to avoid getting your mob too close to the living, lest they realise you’re a zombie and not just a really dedicated Halloween fan. Unfortunately, these moments fall flat, too, and it’s not helped at all by the game’s atrocious performance.
Whenever there are more than a few characters on the screen, the frame rate dives and it becomes a really clunky and frustrating experience, especially during the sections where timing and responsiveness matters most.
I wanted to like Ray’s the Dead, I really did. I liked the ideas, the art style, and most of all, the 80s thriller-esque pop numbers that are still stuck in my head. However, the poor execution means poor Ray gets to die another sorry death as this one goes down as a stinker.
Ray's the Dead PS4 Review
Ray’s the Dead has one of the best soundtracks in gaming, and that’s about all it has going for it. The gameplay is OK but repetitive and the performance is woeful. Unfortunately, none of the post-release patches have managed to raise this one from dead.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.