Shoot-em-ups – or “shmups” as they’re called by many fans – deliver a great little premise, pitting you against the world using an unlimited amount of firepower and a few bombs. And you’ll need these, mainly because everything that the game throws at you requires imminent destruction, especially large vessels that won’t go down without a fight.
Raiden V fits nicely into this mold, and when it came out for Xbox One a while back, it gave fans just the fix they needed. Now, we have a Director’s Cut available for PC and PlayStation 4, and while it continues to deliver the status quo when it comes to all things shooting, I can’t help but think it would’ve benefitted with just one small adjustment.
In the game, you select your vessel and firing type (lasers, bullets, whatever you prefer) and set out across a series of stages, taking down enemies, collecting power-ups and bonus little goodies to up your score. You can actually see how this all gets affected in real time, thanks to Raiden V’s intricate format, which points out everything from performance to energy to other little stats. You can also call upon “secondary cheer” support, which grants you additional firepower when you need it the most.
The format can be confusing, especially if you grew up on a number of Cave’s offerings or the likes of Mars Matrix on the Dreamcast (wow, now that’s a throwback), but the general graphics are very well done, with fireworks-like displays taking place often, with nary a bit of slowdown. There are times that the enemies can blend in to the background, but it’s very seldom, and you can pretty much destroy them quickly anyway.
Raiden’s gameplay will be very familiar to players who have gotten into this sort of thing before. You hold down the fire button to deliver your deadly spray of armageddon (that sounded weird) and drop bombs when you need to. That’s about it. Fortunately, you can adjust the difficulty if you really want to step things up, and try out the boss challenge, where you take on an incoming plethora of big ships and tanks. That’s really all there is to the game, but, then again, that’s all it needs to really succeed. It plays well, and that’ll be more than enough for “shmup” fans.
In addition, you can call in a friend to help you out in two player mode, though it’s local only. That’s fine, because had the developers gone for an online thing, we probably would’ve seen a whole lot of lag. This is fine, and really allows you to work better as a team when it comes to dropping off explosive devices and hammering away at a boss.
So, the game has a pretty good presentation and wild gameplay to suit any “shmup” fan. So what’s this big drawback that stands in the way? Well, it’s the price. A game like this usually goes for $19.99 and gets a good audience that way, but, for some reason, Director’s Cut is priced at…$35? There are those that are probably willing to make the jump, and will get their money’s worth, but here’s hoping the publishers find it in themselves to drop the price and make this affordable for everyone. Otherwise, it feels like a limited club that only a select few will join…until the price goes down.
I reiterate, Raiden V: Director’s Cut is not a bad game. It’s entertaining for “shmup” thrills, has plenty of difficulty, and no shortage of imminent destruction. But the game needs a smaller price point to really find its appeal…and hopefully it’ll get there sooner rather than later.
RATING: Three and a half stars out of five.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.