The Raiden series has come a long way since the first Raiden arcades appearing two decades ago. Now in its fifth iteration, the game has not change very much during its twenty or so years absence, aside from graphical improvements and some small changes. Raiden V Director’s Cut from Moss is a solid, down-to-the-earth, retro-themed vertical shooter that will give you exactly the experience you are looking for from the genre.
If you have dabbled in arcade/retro shmup (Shoot’em Up) games before, you know the drill here. You’re a tiny craft flying amidst swarms of seemingly endless enemies. Your goal is to make it through the end of the stage by dancing through the hailstorm of bullets that come your way while destroying as many enemies as possible to set the hi-score. Once you reach the end, there is a boss to beat and then the next stage starts. Rinse and repeat.
There are three types of crafts to pick in Raiden V - the speedy one, the powerful but slow one and the balanced one. Each type of craft has its own unique sub-weapons. There are also three types of main weapons to choose at the start; three types of bullet spreads, three types of frontal lasers and three types of homing plasma beams. The main weapons are fairly distinct from each other and fun to play around with, at least for the first run of the game. For example, one of the three lasers allows you to shoot a crystal forward, and hitting the crystal with the laser beam will turn it into a disco-ball of death as your laser will diverge into multitudes of white-hot laser beams, quickly clearing a swarm of enemies.
However, once you find the weapon type that clicks with you, this fun little experiment comes to an abrupt end. I’m particularly fond of plasma type weapons, since its smart homing system is effective and I can just focus on dodging the bullets and picking up collectables for points. Once I upgraded my plasma weapon to maximum, I found no reason to swap to other weapon types and ended up playing the majority of my first playthough with it.
Collecting points and setting the hi-score usually play a major role in shmup games and Raiden V is no different. Your secondary underlying goal is to collect as many points as you can to get a “S” Rank in each stage. To accumulate the optimal score, you have to kill enemies as quickly as you can and grab all the collectibles, medals, and bonuses that come your way. Sometimes, you can earn a huge bonus for completing minor/hidden objectives such as clearing all the enemies, destroying all the ships… etc. Setting the hi-score is important because it directly influences the game’s story.
In case you are wondering, yes, there is a story in this game. On the right-hand side of the screen, there is a HUD for story elements to be played out while you are playing. Pictures come up occasionally with fully-voiced dialogue to tell a somewhat complex story. However, it is as effective as trying to understand the story from a radio drama in the middle of a heated battle. (because that's exactly what it is) Unless you are an individual with a particularly good multi-tasking capability, you will be blasted into smithereens if you so much as divert your attention from the main screen for a few seconds. The only way to fully appreciate the story is to record your gameplay, as there is no comfortable moment to experience it in-game.
The game also has a standard couch co-op mode, but no online multiplayer mode. However, it does have online functions, which is rather strange. On the left-hand side of the screen, you will get notifications of occasional achievements from other players as long as you are online, and you can send a “cheer” to that player. In return, if you scored some achievement, you might get a “cheer” from other players. You can use accumulated “Cheer” to summon temporary power-ups to use in-game. A fresh idea but not a very compelling one.
In the end, Raiden V felt like a game that ticks all the right boxes for a “Solid Shoot’em Up”. It is not trying to be the most innovative game of the genre. It is only there to give you a solid gaming experience that you expect from a vertical scrolling, retro-flavored, bullet-hell game. Everything Raiden V has to offer is something you have already seen elsewhere, with some minor changes here and there. Overall, Raiden V is just another game in the long evolutionary process of Shoot’em Ups. If you’re looking for a casual and good vertical shooter to spend your time with, Raiden V is a good choice.
Lv-99 simple sheep