Review: Raiden V: Director’s Cut (PS4)

Review: Raiden V: Director's Cut (PS4)


  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV


  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Raiden V: Director’s Cut
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (3.24 GB)
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: UFO Interactive Games
Developer: MOSS
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The arcade classic Raiden has made its way to the PlayStation 4 in the form of Raiden V: Director’s Cut. The game is your standard shoot-em up (shmup). It’s a vertical shooter in which you pilot a ship and battle waves and waves of enemies and try to survive the onslaught of bullets.

There are three weapons to choose from, each with their own specs including a standard shotgun type weapon, a weird one that involves aiming a laser at a prism that then shoots more lasers, and finally a pink tentacle-like weapon that auto targets nearby enemies.

You can swap between the different weapons by collecting tokens during the game that appear at random and you can also use the tokens to upgrade your current weapon. Their frequency is rare and honestly after I found a weapon I liked I almost never felt the need to switch off to another.

The action is fast and it can sometimes be hard to tell what’s going on. For example when taking damage your ship quickly fades in and out of sight and rotates. This can lead to sometimes not knowing you are one hit away from death because the screen is often so frantic that you don’t notice you even took damage. There’s a health bar on the right side of the screen, but with the frantic pace you won’t want to take your eyes off of the action even for a second.

There is a story that I wasn’t really able to follow. The game opens with a text scroll and the rest of the story is told during and between missions through voiceover that is often hard to hear with the action going on. The subtitles don’t help much as they can be hard to read against the backdrop of the action on screen. It’s there though for those that want a story. It’s not why I play these sorts of games, but it’s there.

It’s an arcade game so there are still remnants of that with the dreaded continue screen after you run out of lives. The only penalty for having to hit continue is that your score is reset to zero, but you keep your upgraded weapons.

Despite its flaws, the gameplay is really fun and it’s surprisingly long. Trying the higher difficulties is worth the challenge. And as an added bonus if you are able to follow the story there are multiple endings based on how well you play and on which difficulty.

The screen is divided into three sections with the middle being the gameplay and the two side panels having a lot of data. You have both in-game and leaderboard stats on the left side while the right has a lot of the story information. There are a lot of numbers on the two panels all of which is easily ignored because your main focus is on that middle panel where all the gameplay is taking place.

Raiden V is a colorful and flashy shoot-em up so it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the action on the screen with all the chaos unfolding, but it’s a beautiful mess. Ship designs don’t stand out too much as they’re rather generic though things pick up in the boss battles as those designs were consistently creative.

The music is classic arcade style music, meaning lots of power guitar. If you want to listen to the dialogue during the mission though I’d suggest adjusting the audio in the options before playing as it is quite hard to hear the voices with the music playing at its default volume.

You can play the campaign in co-op locally with another player. It doesn’t change much as the playfield is the same and the enemy count appears the same. It’s just additional chaos added to the screen. It’s fun, but not my favorite way to play.

Online leaderboards are a big part of the game and with different boards for each difficulty there’s a lot of potential for replayability thanks to their inclusion.

For fans of shmups, Raiden V: Director’s Cut is a good shooter that has its flaws, but it has core mechanics that are strong enough to overcome them. The story is hard to follow and that isn’t too big of a deal because I don’t come to these types of games for their story.

Shmups live and die by their gameplay and this one is fun and chaotic. Like the story, it can be hard to follow sometimes, but overall it’s great to play and master while working your way up the various difficulty levels.

The only thing that might prevent players from jumping into the action is its price tag. Typically for this style of game the price isn’t as high but Raiden V: Director’s Cut is slightly longer than others in the same genre and it has a lot of replayability potential. The price is really the only hurdle that makes me hesitant to give it a full recommendation.


* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.



Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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