- Platforms: PlayStation 4/PC
- Developer: MOSS Co.
- Publisher: UFO Interactive Games
- Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 PRO
It is hard to believe the Raiden series is already 25 years old. The frantic shooter that was the first taste of bullet hell for many gamers has now made its way to the PS4 with Raiden V: Director’s Cut.
The game offers both Story and Boss Mission modes. In each you start off by choosing the ship you will fly into battle. There are 3 ships to choose from and each varies in Attack, Armor and Speed attributes. Each ship also has its own sub shot attack that fires along with the main weapons that you select after choosing a ship.
There are 3 weapon classes and 3 variants to pick from. You have Vulcan cannons, lasers and plasma at your disposal and you select one of the 3 variants to fit your play style. You can have a loadout that covers a wide area with bullets, focuses attacks on a central area or a combination of both. During gameplay, a weapon pickup will drop after defeating certain enemies that when collected allows you to swap to one of your pre-selected weapons. In Boss Mission you only have one weapon to choose from when you begin each battle.
The good thing about this franchise is that any gamer, regardless of skill level can jump in and have a good time. You may not get through a mission but you’ll have fun trying. The opening mission is deceptively simple and ramps up from there. There are a few things that the game offers that can keep you in the fight longer. The first thing is that your ship now has a health gauge instead of having a set number of lives. Finding and collecting certain pickups will replenish your gauge but they don’t come by often. There is also the Cheer Gauge that when full, allows you to “summon” another Raiden V player to battle alongside you in a devastating attack for a short period.
The Sights and Sounds of Battle
Graphically RV:DC looks great but by no means pushes the PS4 to its limits. The look is still that of the classic top down shooter and that is more than OK. There is a lot going on either side of the screen however as there are a lot of HUD elements. The HUD on the left can be swapped around but not removed completely. The right is mostly the visuals and text from the story that plays as you shoot. With all the bullets flying around and the focus you will need to dodge all that incoming fire, you won’t really have time to look at any of it anyway.
The soundtrack is a nice mix of Japanese rock and action movie style fare that always matches the action on screen. The voice acting is 100% anime which is either good or bad depending on your point of view.
Raiden V: Director’s Cut is fun pure and simple. It adds just enough new ideas to warrant its existence as a sequel without straying away from the roots of the series. There is plenty of replayability with the story’s branching paths and multiple difficulties. It’s accessible enough to bring in new players and is nostalgic enough to make an old guy like me really, REALLY miss the arcades.