Last year, Xbox One gamers experienced the incredible shoot 'em up action of the latest title in this classic series. Now that Raiden V: Director's Cut is available on PlayStation 4; let's see if it's worth picking up another copy.
Considering I reviewed the original Raiden V on Xbox One last year, I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about the core experience. Therefore, I highly recommend reading that review first. Thankfully, the same fantastic gameplay has carried over to Raiden V: Director's Cut beautifully. You have the same ships, variety of weapons, and branching stages as well as the addictive Cheer system where players can tap a button to applaud each other's efforts and charge a special attack in the process. It all adds up to one of the best shoot 'em ups on the market and as a huge fan of the genre who has played tons of shmups over the decades, that's saying a lot. Unfortunately, the original game's baggage carried over as well including the distracting HUD and forced story integration but these small gripes don't take much away from the ultimately enjoyable arcade shooting experience.
So, what's new in Raiden V: Director's Cut? Basically, you get 2 extra missions and a dual play option which allows you to enjoy the story mode cooperatively with a friend. First, let's discuss the missions. They act as bonus rounds where you shoot at a boss and collect falling medals. Once you get hit, a lot of your collected medals are removed. As a result, these missions can be very tricky to master and I found the challenge of trying to perfect them to be very enjoyable albeit nearly impossible. Simply making it to the next stage within these missions is rewarding considering how tricky they can be. Overall, it's great to see that extra content like this is included.
Dual play allows you and a pal to shoot alongside each other in the story mode. In my review of the original game, I criticised the fact that it omitted a cooperative option so having it available here is a welcome inclusion indeed. Even though there is no online multiplayer, shooting through the campaign with a local chum by your side adds a fresh dynamic to the gameplay.
Seeing as that's basically all the new content, it goes without saying that if you own the original Raiden V then this Director's Cut version is only worth purchasing if you're a hardcore fan who desperately wants a couple extra missions and the ability to play with a friend. This is disappointing because they could have done so much more to make Raiden V: Director's Cut a must-buy shmup for those who already own the original. Merely having a fresh take on the OverKill mode or perhaps some additional ships from previous games would have made it worth another purchase. Heck, even an expanded gallery that had an option to view the 3D models would've been great.
Although Raiden V: Director's Cut isn't a substantial step up from the vanilla version, what's here still makes for an incredible shoot 'em up that's a must-buy for those who don't already own the original Raiden V.
- + Same great Raiden V with its classic shmup gameplay and a few twists
- + 2 bonus missions are pretty fun
- + Added cooperative multiplayer is great
- - If you own the vanilla version then this probably isn't worth getting, too
- - Still missing a lot of content from previous games in the Raiden series