The high price of shooting.
I’ve played a fair amount of shoot ‘em ups in my day. While I enjoy them for the most part, I usually end up dropping them after about two playthroughs. I just don’t feel compelled to get the highest score imaginable for each stage/level. I understand there are many people out there that really do, and Raiden V: Director’s Cut is the game for them.
Raiden V is a shoot ‘em up in the same vein as the other style games from the arcade. 1942 and even Galaga come to mind. While I wouldn’t classify Raiden as a “bullet hell” game, it most certainly has its fair share of difficulty. I was never bombarded with enemy fire in fast moving patterns more than I was attempting to wipe out every enemy on screen, and Raiden V works really well in that regard.
Platforms: PS4, PC
Price I’d pay: $20
Before each game, players choose both which ship to take into battle along with what style weapons. There are three main types: spread shots, lasers, and homing attacks. After choosing these, they go into a stage and begin their assault. Finding pickups along the way can level up their weapons to do more damage as well as possibly change their patterns. There are also the screen-clearing bombs that can be used when in a pinch. Instead of lives, ships have a health bar based on the type of ship and their armor rating. Once the health bar is depleted, the ship is destroyed. One unique mechanic is the cheer system where while playing, the player can cheer on other players’ accomplishments that are shown on the screen. Doing so can result in a bomb-esque attack that doesn’t kill enemies, but does neutralize their bullets.
The scoring system is based on killing enemies as well as gathering pickups. Players gain a score multiplier when continuously defeating enemies. On top of this, players can gather medals from fallen enemies either by flying over them or sucking them up when ceasing their fire for about a second. It comes as a nice risk/reward system, because holding my fire could result in getting overwhelmed or missing enemies, but offer up some major points for collecting all the medals.
Aside from the story mode, which has a pseudo radio drama feel to it, there is also a boss challenge mode where players take on the bosses of the game with special requirements or limitations. After exhausting these modes, that is about it. Granted, this style game is meant to be played over and over to perfect scores, but for the average player, they can get maybe four hours out of it before seeing pretty much everything the game has to offer.
There is a two player mode that is offline only, but it does offer up some extra fun with a co-op partner. While the game itself works really well, I have to say that the backgrounds tend to blend both enemies and bullets in with it, making the game even more difficult but for the wrong reasons. But the biggest issue, and one I’ve seen with the Raiden series as a whole is the price point. The game is most certainly fun to play, but when I have seen everything I can within four hours and I’m paying 35 bucks for it, I just don’t see the value unless I’m one of those hardcore score chasers.
All in all, it’s a decent ride of a game and done really well, but I find that because of the high price point, only the shump veterans should look into getting it. Casual fans will find themselves done with the game way before they get their money’s worth out of it. If you can find this at a discount, I would say grab it for the game play alone, but for $35, I’d hold off for now.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.