Raiden V: DC
Switch version tested
Review code provided
The last time I played a Raiden Trad title was for the Super Nintendo and now it’s time to step up to the big leagues with Raiden V: Director’s Cut. A big contender in the shmup genre, this game has been on my ‘want list’ since it was teased. I’m very happy to be reviewing it on Two Beard Gaming and can’t wait to tell you about it.
Turn the game on and enjoy the awesome visual display that gave me the chills (it happened, don’t judge me) until the main title screen hits with a haunting sound, prompting the player to begin. Main menu options allow the player to choose story mode or boss mission in addition to leaderboard, gallery, option and credits. Seven difficulty options are available, making Raiden V the most approachable shmup known to man? I’ve never heard of that many difficulty options, one being practice mode. Each has a great description, Very Hard mode is “not for the faint of heart”. Three ships are available to choose from, I chose the Azuma. There are three weapons types and each has three to choose from that will appear in-game. My favourite weapon type is the Vulcan which is a spread shot. The laser and plasma are the other two. In Raiden fashion, stack the same colour upgrade to strengthen that weapon. Once these options are chosen get in the pilot’s seat and take off.
First impressions? Fast, loud, and AWESOME! I’m reminded that I DID play Raiden arcade games in Japan and V feels very familiar to them in a good way. Even the backgrounds remind me of the SNES game a bit and I like that. Enemy explosions are satisfying and achievements pop up saying you’ve killed x enemies or reached x score. The game is pretty fast and intense, even on normal mode. Raiden V is a great arcade shoot’em up to play at home that makes you feel like you’re at the arcade.
Music is overshadowed by the sound of explosions and the narration is difficult to hear as well. There will text at the top of the screen to accompany the characters speaking, but it’s shown while you’re in the heat of battle. It’s really funny that the game trolls you when the level score could be better. The trolling voiceover happens to be before battle starts, just to keep your focus on it. I changed the sound settings on the main menu screen multiple times but haven’t found the sweet spot yet. If this option were available on the pause screen it would be an easier fix.
The waterfall level area is amazing and it showcases the insane background visuals. Another favourite is the space area shooting asteroid and satellite bits while turning over and above Earth. It may be a top-down shooter (my favourite type) but it is not a “flat” game by any means. Your ship will always be shown in the top-down perspective during gameplay but the background is another story. Right now I paused it while being diagonal to the ground above some buildings. I just went twisting sideways, then kept turning and spinning then was launched into a boss battle. This game is great. Bosses are these futuristic, wild transforming machines that will take many shapes during their fight sequences. My exclamations were in the tune of, “whoaaaaa” most of the time and took my focus off the fight at hand.
I’ve been playing in handheld mode and it’s been great but I wish the game was widescreen and didn’t have the sidebars of information. With such a great amount of information available in those areas, it’s silly to provide it when it can’t be read or assessed unless paused. That kind of makes it useless and I would have rather had a bigger screen with more action. In bigger action areas of gameplay the camera zooms out in a very nice way that would look great all the time and make up for the sidebars. Switching to docked mode is wonderful and I would recommend everyone play Raiden V that way. It slightly makes up for the side areas not being used but not entirely.
Medal missions appear after some levels and require the player to absorb as many medals as possible. They are released from enemies after being shot. At first I scrambled to collect them both here and in the regular game, but if you let go of the shot button they auto absorb. This is also useful in-game to boost your score.
My favourite gun is the Vulcan spread but in addition to that, you have two other weapons to help you along. The first being bombs which show the current amount in the bottom left. It is a massive explosion perfect for boss battles. Additional bombs can be found in-game. Our second additional weapon is “cheer support” showcasing the blue friend of Raiden’s combining their ship with yours to unleash destruction. The cheer gauge is refilled by other online players cheering for you by pressing X after you receive an achievement and vice versa. The game states it will automatically full up otherwise for those that don’t have online support, but it likely does for either. Both of the special weapons deal a great amount of damage and will help you out of tough spots.
Bullet hell areas can be overwhelming but Raiden V has infinite lives to keep the fun going. If the game didn’t have unlimited continues that would discourage a lot of players. I recently tweeted with someone that was saddened by the rogue-lite aspect of a different shmup game and luckily this game is not that same case. Save your quarters, restart your score, and continue the same run. Once you’ve completed a run check the leader boards for your name.
I can’t thank UFO Interactive enough for the opportunity to review Raiden V. It was very fun to play and will continue to be entertaining, I plan on trying co-op mode in the near future. Most everything is great about Raiden V if you couldn’t tell by the paragraphs I’ve written. Two things I would change is the default sound options and remove the side panels during gameplay, utilizing the entire screen. Raiden V is a game that shmup lovers will enjoy and beginners can play as well.
TBG Score: 9/10
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 25/07/2019
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Shooter, Arcade
Publisher: Tommo Inc. / UFO Interactive Games
Download link: eShop