As promised, here are my first thoughts on Raiden 4, sorry if it seems a little scrappy I'll tighten it up at some point:
+Most of the menus are in English so itâ€™s very import friendly
-Saving messages are in Japanese so youâ€™re not 100% sure what you are saving and where.
+Graphically the game looks great in HD, thereâ€™s a wonderful tate mode with plenty of sizing and positioning options to get that perfect screen set up. This is particularly useful if you play in Yoko mode as optimises visibility of the playing area. The increased clarity means that all the detail in the backgrounds is particularly clear which helps with the mission based achievements and actually seeing what is attacking you.
+The Achievements seem to be well balanced and cater to both the hardcore (1ccâ€™s on various difficulty levels) and the casual (beating bosses) and there seems to be a real eclectic mix of requirements also.
-Maybe a few more really challenging achievements would have been a nice addition.
+There are quite a few unlockable ships with different weapons and power up systems adding longevity to game play.
-It might have been nice to have at least one more ship to choose from at the start to add a bit of variety.
+The power up system is brilliant just like in previous incarnations it seems very natural and familiar. Youâ€™ll turn that pea shooter weapon system that you start with into a death spewing laser curtain from hell in no time. There are three main shot types (Vulcan, Laser, and plasma â€“ two types one is a huge homing laser and one that consists of 3 streams of laser that is less powerful but can take out multiple enemies) as well as a secondary weapon that consists of powerful straight firing missiles and 2 types of homing missiles. There are different weapons systems for the different ships but as yet Iâ€™ve not unlocked any of those yet. If you refrain from firing for a short period of time you charge up your secondary weapons system and when fire next youâ€™ll fire off a huge volley of missiles (you score higher for doing this). When you start destroying all these bad guys the feeling is very satisfying as the screen erupts in explosions.
+Boss encounters are exiting, they donâ€™t rely on a screen full of bullets â€“ the bosses have multiple weapons systems that you have to create a strategy to avoid or destroy. Memorisation helps with these encounters but you can also play reactively and off the cuff.
-The design of the bosses Iâ€™ve seen so far seem not hugely original, theyâ€™re very competent and enjoyable to kill but they donâ€™t do anything particularly new.
-I seem to find the second boss really easy to beat, thinking about the missions side quest I can understand why (wonâ€™t spoil it for you) but I can beat this one every time without dying.
+/- The soundtrack harks back to the previous games in the series with remixes of previous songs, itâ€™s ok if you like it and not intrusive if you donâ€™t. The explosions are awesome, Iâ€™ve got my 360 set up to my amp and they are earth-shatteringly awesome. Just to note that with the first print run of the game you get a soundtrack CD.
+ No infinite continues so the only way youâ€™ll see the later levels is through your own skill!
- The difficulty ramps up from level 1-3 itâ€™s more a jump in difficulty though that might but some players off
+There are loads of play modes, Arcade mode which is a perfect conversion and 360 mode which is where youâ€™ll get most of your fun, thereâ€™s a score attack, and an unlockable boss rush mode also.
+ Most of the game modes are two player, thereâ€™s also a barmy mode that you can control two ships with one controller â€“ truly mind numbing.
+ Thereâ€™s also a leader board mode where your best score and replay can be saved â€“ I was 419th in the world at one point but I suspect there were only 420 players in the world
+Mission mode â€“ This is a series of criteria that must be hit on a level to get a bonus e.g. level 1 shoot a certain cooling tower and an angel will appear Level 3 shoot a certain car etc. To get some of the achievements you must get all these level bonuses consecutively â€“ an added feature that adds a bit more of an interesting challenge to the game.
It has to be said that Raiden 3 is one of my favourite PS2 shooters so I approached this game with high expectations and I can honestly say this game takes everything great about that game and enhances it, as a Raiden fan Iâ€™m very happy . The controls are spot on, thereâ€™s a real challenge, and thereâ€™s definitely that one more go factor. The thing I like about it most is that itâ€™s firmly old school itâ€™s fire dodge fire, no complicated power up system, no complicated chaining system (the quicker you kill an enemy the more points you get) itâ€™s a pure shooting experience. Not up to the standard of daddy of vert shootersTM on the 360, Ikaruga, but a worthy second place 8/10
Next Stop Raiden Fighters Aces!