This is easily one of the hardest games I have played as of late. Raiden V: Director’s Cut takes the classic shoot ’em up formula that it helped popularize in the 90’s and brings it to modern platforms along with some shiny new upgrades.

Raiden V Director's Cut (3)

Pros:

Superb soundtrack. I absolutely loved the soundtrack for Raiden V. I do not have any prior soundtracks by Yoshimi Kudo, but after hearing his work here on Raiden V, I definitely should seek those out. A fantastic blend of guitar shredding, techno beats, and orchestral climaxes. I often found myself distracted by just how good the background music was when playing, causing me to take a hit or two. The soundtrack work here reminds me quite a bit of the Ace Combat soundtracks, which I also loved. My favorite track here being “Crystal of Abyss”.

Plenty of replayability. Raiden was originally an arcade game, so it should come as no surprise that it is built to have high replayability. This is immediately evident by the plethora of leaderboards offered by the game. The story mode barely lasts an hour, so such emphasis on the leaderboard feature is warranted, to encourage players to go back and beat their high scores. Additionally, the player can choose from a wide variety of weapons, one for each slot (of which there are three). All of these elements combined make for some great replayability.

The “cheer” mechanic. While playing, the player has the option to “cheer” on other players by simply tapping a button. At first, I did not understand the cheer features, as I saw other people’s achievements being shown to me in the upper left of my screen during regular gameplay. I later figured out that I actually could “cheer” on other players, giving them cheer points. This all happened live, with other people playing the game at the same time as me. At the end of the story mode, it listed those people and the cheers they gave me, a whopping total of two people giving me 12 total cheers throughout my playthrough.

There is also a “cheer attack”, which is basically just a boost to sub-weapon damage, but despite the name, it did not appear to be affected by the cheers received or sent. It just refilled over time regardless (or instantly if one dies and respawns). This is most likely the case so that those playing when there are no others playing the game can still use the cheer attacks. It was fun to see my own achievements cheered on by others, even if it did not appear to have any sort of impact on the gameplay.

Raiden V Director's Cut (1)

Cons:

Bullet and background coloring. I noticed a few times during my playthrough when enemy bullets blended in with the background. This makes dodging a whole lot more difficult, something which I already struggled at. This may have been intended, but it certainly did not seem fair that I could barely even see the bullets coming my way. Blue bullets on top of a blue ocean and yellow bullets that blend with the game’s collectible trophies hardly seems like a good idea.

The story. This is a shoot ’em up game, so I did not expect a good story going into it. Cannot say I was surprised that the story was just bland and uninteresting, tacked onto the game for the sake of having a story to begin with. It is hard to notice though, as most of the story is told through dialogue during gameplay, where most of the player’s attention is on landing his/her shots and avoiding being hit. Well, I at least applaud the game for having a coherent story, even if it does not add anything of value to the experience.

Raiden V Director's Cut (2)

Raiden V: Director’s Cut does not really bring anything new to the genre, but it does capitalize on what made the series popular in the first place, and that is just enough for me. The soundtrack and cheer mechanics were just added bonuses on top of that. The bullet and background coloring could have used some work, but it is a decent shoot ’em up game regardless.

Score: 6/10

You can buy Raiden V: Director’s Cut on Steam here.

I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.

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