When it comes to video game developers the name Sergey Noskov isn’t the first you think to. Some of you may be wondering “who is this guy and why am I talking about him so much in this article?” Well, to answer that question, Noskov is a Russian game developer. You may of heard of his previous game ‘7th Sector’, the cyberpunk style puzzle game. His latest project ‘In Rays of The Light’ is in fact a remake of a 2012 video game called ‘The Light’. This new instalment is a first person post-apocalyptic puzzle game. So let’s dive right in.
You wake up in a decrepit room staring at a television filled with static. You don’t know where you are or what you need to do. You look around the room to find it is in a ruined state. Nature has reclaimed this room and maybe the rest of the building too.
You open the door and straight ahead of you strapped to the wall is your first tool that will become valuable throughout your playthrough. A flashlight.
You walk around a bit more and a you start to think something isn’t quite right. You find a pipe in a nearby sink and use it to pry open a plank of wood off of a door. Once your through you realise how big this building is that you find yourself in.
At first it takes you about 10 minutes to understand what is going on in this game. There is no direction of what to do in the conventional sense. You kind of pick it up as you go along. The games formula is basically to solve an assortment of puzzles and complete tasks. While you are doing this the environment tells you the story, along with a few notes scattered around the playable area.
It’s a fresh take on a post-apocalyptic genre. Games like ‘The Last of us’, ‘Days gone’ and ‘Fallout’ have a clear narrative told to you via cutscenes and dialogue. The fact that this game is a first person perspective in a post-apocalyptic setting really speaks to how you would be in that situation. You wouldn’t have a clue what is going on and you would have to explore in order learn the story of what happened in order to fully understand it. That’s what I love about this game, the subtly visual narrative to tell a story. It’s very atmospheric and very interesting. And once you get further into the game the tone shifts and you find yourself in a very tense and nerve racking scenario.
Sound wise the game uses its music and sound to help elevate the narrative along. Each location has different musical cues to set the atmosphere. Along with this is the great use of sound effects to add to that sense of ‘You are alone’ or are you? Feel. You’ll be walking around a corner and suddenly hear a creaking of a door closing before you run back and stare at the source of the noise.
The sound effects are used to tell the story of the locations previous inhabitants, almost like the echo’s of a ghost. It’s a cleaver and unique use of sound design.
My only criticism of the game is that some areas (like the stairs leading to the basement for example) have this weird kind of power drawing the playable character to a certain spot and not letting you move beyond it. At first I thought it was a glitch, I had walked down the stairs to the basement and now I couldn’t move. It was like I was stuck to the door. I was only able to break free by holding the run button to leg it back up the stairs. This happened in quite a few of the playable areas which is a shame as it did bring you out of the immersion a bit.
That being said, my overall experience of “In Rays of The Light’ was an enjoyable one and also very interesting too from a narrative standpoint. Unfortunately the game is really only good for one playthrough as once you’ve completed it, the magic of the unknown is gone. However it is definitely worth a play for a smart personal take on a post apocalypse inspired by the events of Chernobyl.
In Rays of The Light gets a 8 out of 10.
Available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox one and Xbox Series X.
This review was based on a playthrough on PlayStation 4
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