Blinded by the light
In Rays of the Light originally launched on Xbox One back in March of this year and now we have the chance to experience it again - this time optimised for Xbox Series X|S. The lonesome exploration/walking sim experience looks and sounds much better this time around with sharper visuals, better lighting and truly feels more immersive.
Developer Sergey Noskov has delivered an experience that is told almost entirely through documentation littered around the environment, missing even one takes away from the story being told. The tale is harrowing, tragic and bleak.
Despite the solemn tone In Rays of the Light is undeniably interesting, reliant though on exploration and the reading of the hidden documents. Light puzzle solving and environmental exploration comprise the core gameplay. It's simple and it works. If the gameplay were more complex it may detract from the tension and brilliance of its storytelling.
So much of what this game has too say is told through it's hauntingly beautiful score that dips in and out at moments of consequence, discovery and significant reflection of the events that have transpired in the derelict building it takes place in and around.
Sharp and effective sound effects add tension to the empty and uninhabited world, instilling moments of fear despite a complete lack of an actual enemy threat or presence. It is a genuinely masterful presentation, so minimalistic in terms of gameplay yet the execution of its sound design and thoughtful text driven narrative make it a truly next level experience.
My initial and incredibly minor grievances remain the same as my initial review as this experience is unchanged outside of its optimisation. If this game were just 30 minutes longer and had some sort of replay incentive it would be a masterpiece. In Rays of the Light is still an essential experience for players that enjoy thought provoking narratives.
My thoughts on the original release on Xbox One can be found in my review from March HERE.
So, what works?
Hauntingly beautiful score
Consistent atmospheric tension
Use of documents to clarify the story and provide puzzle clues
And what doesn't?
Lack of guidance for casual players
In Rays of the Light (Xbox Series X/S) was reviewed on an Xbox Series X and is available now on Xbox Series S.
Games of DAYNE
Games of DAYNE is a reviewer and Xbox Achievement Hunter based in Wangaratta, Australia. Video games keep him busy whether it’s playing, reviewing or achievement hunting and other than entering "Dad Mode" for two young boys under five and working full time as a cheesemaker, he exists almost exclusively in the world of gaming.