Radiant Silvergun Review thumbnail

Radiant Silvergun Review

Treasure's greatest shmup returns

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 💥

Radiant Silvergun is also available for Xbox 360

Radiant Silvergun is rated Teen by the ESRB

When I think of the best shoot 'em ups of all time, Radiant Silvergun is near the top of my list so get ready for some arcade action.

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Radiant Silvergun screenshot 1
So many potential targets...

What is Radiant Silvergun?

Radiant Silvergun was developed by Treasure who are most famous for Ikaruga which released a few years later. With that being said, I actually prefer Radiant Silvergun to Ikaruga as even with the latter's cool polarity system in mind, it still doesn't quite get its hooks in me as much as Radiant Silvergun does. This is primarily due to its clever weapons system and sword mechanic which come together to form a winning gameplay formula but on top of that, the detailed visuals and satisfying audio make blasting away enemy hordes and tough bosses an absolute treat. It's also one of the most difficult shmups ever made so be prepared to fail again and again and again. v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106

An impressive arsenal

Let's get to my favourite part of Radiant Silvergun which is its array of weaponry. At its core, you have 3 separate core weapons that you can deploy using their corresponding buttons and you can combine each set of 2 to form 3 additional weapons. For example, if you hold the vulcan button, you'll fire straight ahead but if enemies sneak up behind you, you can hold the spread button as well to fire projectiles behind your ship. It takes a substantial amount of time to get comfortable with all of these weapons but once you do and strategically use them to your advantage in every given scenario, you'll understand just how carefully-crafted and enjoyable Radiant Silvergun is. 😊

Radiant Silvergun screenshot 2
Be attitude for gains... gamely fight!

Die by the sword

So, what happens when you press all 3 weapon buttons together? Well, you deploy a little sword that swipes the area around your ship. That might sound disappointing but it's actually the most gratifying component of Radiant Silvergun's gameplay. For starters, this sword removes any pink projectiles that it comes in contact with and as it does, it will increase a gauge. After it fills completely, you'll unleash a devastating screen-clearing hyper sword attack that feels incredible, especially when it depletes a large portion of a boss's life meter. In the end, the 6 weapons that use elements of vulcan, homing, and spread combine with this sword attack to make for one phenomenal formula. Although the challenge can be brutal, mastering this array of weaponry will make you achieve the impossible. 🏆

Scoring and level-ups

Radiant Silvergun is tough enough on its own so it's one of the rare shoot 'em ups that I don't try to get a high score in. However, if you're a more skilled pilot than I am then you'll enjoy the fact that there's a clever colour-based chain system where you're granted score bonuses for each group of 3 red, yellow, or blue enemies that you defeat in a row. Needless to say, this requires a lot of precision. 😅

Anyway, score also factors into weapon power because as you earn points, they're allocated to your 3 core weapons. Levelling them up will increase their power and once you reach the max level of 33 for all 3 weapons, you'll be a powerhouse on the battlefield. 🚀

For skilled pilots only

With all of these elements in mind and considering the fact that its stages are brilliantly designed with clever enemy formations and challenging boss encounters, Radiant Silvergun is definitely not a shoot 'em up with wide appeal. In other words, those who enjoy it will enjoy it a lot and everyone else will likely get too frustrated with it to continue playing. Also, I wish that this Switch release included more content as simply having a straightforward campaign that you can either play solo or co-op with a local friend isn't all that much. There is training mode where you can practice any previously-accessed stage but that's about all there is when it comes to extra content. 😐

Radiant Silvergun screenshot 3
Let's collect some bullets to power-up the old hyper sword

Radiant Silvergun remains one of my favourite shoot 'em ups of all time with its mind-blowing array of weaponry, steep challenge, and clever mechanics. It's been a long time since it released, though, so I was hoping there would be some new content included here.

  • + Challenging shoot 'em up fun with oodles of satisfying weapons
  • + Neat level-ups and cool sword mechanic
  • + Detailed visuals and superb audio
  • - Definitely not for anyone besides hardcore shoot 'em up fans
  • - I wish there were more additions to this new Switch release
8.3 out of 10
Gameplay video for Radiant Silvergun thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Radiant Silvergun
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