Raiden V: Director's Cut - PlayStation 4 Review

Bullet Hell at its best

Game Info: (Box Display)

  • System: PS4, PC
  • Publisher: UFO Interactive Games
  • Developer: Moss Co., Ltd.
  • Release Date: Oct 10, 2017

Who it Caters to

Fans of Raiden V, get your controllers ready developer Moss Co., Ltd has crafted an updated version titled Raiden V: Director’s Cut. Once more players will enter their various aircraft and launch against the enemy in several stages with branching paths. Those who love the classic shoot ‘em up style will be extremely happy with Raiden V: Director’s Cut as it stands as the definitive title offering hours of content, updated visuals and tons of difficulty settings to challenge even the hardest veterans of the shoot ‘em up genre. Raiden V: Director’s Cut was made for those who miss those classic days of arcade shoot ‘em ups but would prefer them not on an arcade cabinet but a home console or PC.

What to Expect

Raiden V: Director’s Cut continues the great classic shoot ‘em up gameplay seen from the original Raiden 25 years ago but with tons of modern enhancements. With two different game modes to enjoy—Story Mode and Boss Mode—players will experience tons of great vertical scrolling bullet hell glory. Choose from one of several ships and from several different weapon configurations and head out into bullet hell greatness. Tired of playing solo? Bring a friend for some fun co-op action and team up to take down the hundreds of enemy ships in front of you. HD 1080p graphics, fully voiced dialogue and new exclusive levels make Raiden V: Director’s Cut a game for both fans of the original version and newcomers alike.

Story

After losing communication with a North American Air Force Unit, Richard Maxwell—simply known as Max—requests the aid of the Raiden unit. As a Raiden pilot you are now tasked with heading out to defeat the enemy. Choose your aircraft and weapons then head off into battle against a massive armada. Based on your actions within the mission and your performance, your story will change in Raiden V: Director’s Cut. It’s one ship versus hundreds, time to show why the Raiden name should put fear in the enemy’s hearts!

Gameplay

Here at Honey’s Anime, we have played quite a few bullet hell/shoot ‘em up titles, but one of the best comes from the long running Raiden series. Back in the 1990s, Raiden was released on arcades and people fell in love with the frantic shoot ‘em up gameplay style as they guided their tiny ship through various hazards and tons of bullets/lasers. Raiden, however, hasn’t disappeared off the gaming landscape and only last year in May 2016, Raiden V was released to offer up more bullet hell greatness. Now a year later, Raiden V: Director’s Cut graces the PS4 and PC and we have to wonder is this entry in the series just as good as last year or was it just another attempt at making money off an HD port like some games do? Let us find out in our review of Raiden V: Director’s Cut.

First in case you’re new to the gaming landscape, it’s important for us to explain what Raiden V: Director’s Cut is all about. Raiden V: Director’s Cut is a vertical shooter—better known as a shoot ‘em up—where players use various weapons such as bombs, missiles, and lasers to defeat waves of opposing enemies. The reason why Raiden V: Director’s Cut is also known as a bullet hell title is because while you’re shooting at enemies, they are in turn firing a barrage back at you and if you wish to survive this, you’ll have to be prepared to dodge like crazy. This is the name of the game in Raiden V: Director’s Cut but let us explain why this title is either better or worse than others.

Raiden V: Director’s Cut offers two gameplay modes. Players can enter Story Mode where they will choose their craft—one of three—and also choose their weapons of which 9 options are available. Players must be smart and choose a ship they feel will work with their style of play as all three ships—the Azuma, Spirit of Dragon and Moulin Rouge—offer up different stats such as defense and speed. The same can be said of the weapons which range in three categories—Vulcan, Laser and Plasma—each with different settings in how they are fire at the enemy. This already takes Raiden V: Director’s Cut a leap above other shoot ‘em up titles offering players multiple means of play.

Now when you’re in Story Mode, unlike more traditional shoot ‘em up, Raiden V: Director’s Cut offers up some unique means of play. Besides choosing one of several difficulties, players will find the Story Mode to be quite lengthy. The length of play isn’t in terms of how many stages are available mind you but because players can actually change how the story plays out based on how they do on a specific stage. This means one play through won’t be enough to see all the bosses and stages that can be played in Raiden V: Director’s Cut.

Now, if you do grow tired of Story Mode, you can always play Boss Mode. Here players must beat bosses from the Story Mode under specific conditions. It’s challenging but tons of fun and in many ways, acts like a multiplayer mode to give players a means of challenging others to take the top spot on the leaderboards. Though we do recommend first playing through the Story Mode as Boss Mode might be a bit tough if you’re new to Raiden V: Director’s Cut and or shoot ‘em ups in general. Now let us talk about the graphics.

Graphically, Raiden V: Director’s Cut doesn’t look too shabby and that is thanks to the HD 1080p update found in this version of Raiden V. Ships look solid and the various flares from the chaotic bullets and lasers shooting on screen look impressive. Though what really steals the show in Raiden V: Director’s Cut is the soundtrack. We are never surprised by Raiden titles having epic soundtracks but Raiden V: Director’s Cut really is one of the better soundtracks we’ve heard in a bullet hell game in quite some time. Thus, Raiden V: Director’s Cut will hit you with impressive graphics—in terms of the ships and visual flairs—and great music.

Now Raiden V: Director’s Cut is an awesome title, but there are some issues that you might need to be aware of in case you’re planning on picking this title up. First issue with Raiden V: Director’s Cut comes in the form of the screen overcrowding. We aren’t joking folks; Raiden V: Director’s Cut has various charts, diagrams, text from characters, scores and leaderboards and that isn’t including bullets flying at you. The other issue we have with Raiden V: Director’s Cut comes in the form of mediocre voice acting. While some voices are solid, most characters sound like they’re speaking from the older days of anime dubs. Though thankfully, both of these issues are minute and not enough to make Raiden V: Director’s Cut a bad title by any means.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Shoot ‘em ups in the modern gaming landscape seem to be dissipating with time and the ones we do see tend to be sub-par reminders of a legendary age of gaming. However, Raiden V: Director’s Cut shows us that even after 25 years it still stands as one of the best bullet hell game franchises ever created. While Raiden V: Director’s Cut might not be perfect thanks to some weak elements in the form of the story, mediocre voice acting and overcrowded display, it still is a tremendously fun game with plenty to offer for the truest of bullet hell enthusiasts. If you haven’t already purchased Raiden V when it released last year, then we fully recommend picking up Raiden V: Director’s Cut whenever you can.

Honey's Pros:

  • Impressive Bullet Hell Gameplay
  • Branching paths for arcade gives incentive for multiple playthroughs
  • Solid visuals
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • Various difficulty settings for any level of gamer

Honey's Cons:

  • Screen is way too overcrowded
  • Background visuals are a bit stale
  • Voice acting can be a bit weak at times

Honey's Final Verdict:

We here at Honey’s Anime have been long time fans of the Raiden series since its conception back in 1990. Over the years, many Raiden titles have released and while some have missed the mark a bit we’re happy to say Raiden V: Director’s Cut doesn’t thanks to some impressive bullet hell gameplay. While it’s not perfect due to a few design choices—way too much info on screen—for most Raiden V: Director’s Cut will be the best shoot ‘em up title you can get even in this day and age. Are you thinking of picking up Raiden V: Director’s Cut or are you going to wait for a price drop? Let us know down below in the comments and for more gaming news and reviews stick to our hive of writers here at Honey’s Anime.

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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