Less bang for the buck.
To this day, shooters have never been as popular in the West as they are in Japan. Which makes it all the more weird that so many staple franchises in the genre have been appearing exclusively on Xbox consoles for the better part of a decade. Raiden V is yet another example, as the 20+ year old franchise delivers its fifth entry on Microsoft’s latest console.
Raiden V is a vertical shooter, and the Xbox One version keeps that perspective by filling out the screen with plenty of information on both sides of the action. The left side of the screen keeps a tally on current progress, and can even be switched to display various bits of info by pulling the left trigger. The right side of the screen houses the dialogue and character portraits of the story. While it may seem like an overwhelming amount of information, it really only serves as screen filler, as the action in the main window demands the player’s full attention at all times.
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
The story plays out during each mission, and the characters never seem to stop talking. It is an interesting effect, but one that wastes its idea. I was always so focused on what was happening onscreen, that I was never able to pay attention to what anyone was saying. The same can be said for the stats on the left side. There is an abundant amount of good, detailed information that I simply never had time to appreciate.
The scoring system will be familiar to anyone who has played a Raiden game before. Mowing down enemies in quick succession builds up a multiplier over time. The faster I took down enemies, the higher the score. Balancing that with dodging the array of bullets onscreen became a dance of skill and tension. The game uses a health system as opposed to the traditional one hit-one death mechanic of most shooters. However, when all my health and lives are spent, the game stops tracking my score for the leader boards. I can still continue my journey, but I am no longer in the running for a high score.
The mission mode also has branching paths that can be unlocked through normal play. After completing it once I noticed I still had plenty more to discover. The game never details how to get these optional paths, and to be honest, I am not sure my skills could deliver the necessary requirements to see them.
There are three main weapons in the game, and each one has variations on their theme. Switching between them is done via a power-up that appears during game play. Sadly, it is not frequent enough to experiment, and I found myself sticking with the large pink laser simply because it was the most effective. I was definitely not a fan of the blue diamond laser; again my skills are just not in that place anymore.
There is a unique community system called Cheers. Basically, this is supposed to work via the Xbox Cloud, and players playing at the same time are able to send Cheers to other players based on their progress. When Cheers are sent, a power-up is delivered that gives players an advantage. It is a neat system, but one that feels hampered by the amount of players at any given time. Also, the absence of a true cooperative mode feels lacking.
Speaking of modes, Raiden V feels extremely bare-bones for a $50 game. There is a story mode, boss rush, and that is about it. There are branching paths to the story mode, but without much else to dig into that doesn’t require hefty amounts of skill, this package feels a little light for its price tag.
I love the shooter genre, and feel like we don’t see enough of these titles anymore. I am always happy to see a new one crop up, but with its lack of modes and hefty price tag, it feels like this game is really taking advantage of the players like myself just wanting a new game in the genre.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.