Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Raiden III (PlayStation 2) artwork

Raiden III (PlayStation 2) review


"Imagine my surprise when I took Raiden III home, excitedly put it in my PS2, and found there were no surprises to be had. There is only one ship, and the weapon system is about as barebones as they come."



Nowadays, having a new shooter land on a US console practically calls for champagne. This is especially true when that game bears the illustrious name, Raiden. It was only last month that I was trying to explain what a shooter was to a friend. ďOh, like Raiden,Ē he exclaimed. Coming from a guy whose game collection was limited to Guitar Hero, that should be testament enough to the legendary status of the Raiden series. So here we are at number three. You can still get out the glasses if you want, but letís stick to wine coolers.

Imagine my surprise when I took Raiden III home, excitedly put it in my PS2, and found there were no surprises to be had. There is only one ship, and the weapon system is about as barebones as they come. You begin with a simple gun, with upgrades appearing on the battlefield via floating orbs. Collecting the colored orbs strengthens a weapon, but you can only have one at a time. Three main weapons are immediately available; the broad ranged Vulcan Shot, the narrow but powerful laser, and the Ghostbusters-esque Proton Laser. You can also receive three different missile-based sub-weapons. Add the usual bombs to the list and Raiden III is exactly like its predecessors.

To be fair, three weapons are more than some shooters offer. Still, itís disappointing when only one of them is worthwhile. With the Vulcan Shot, you can literally play through over half the game by sitting at the bottom of the screen and holding down the fire button. You might have to move a little every now and again, but there certainly wonít be any heated dogfights. The only time I ever got shot in the first half was when I tried using the lasers. Itís because I had to move in front of the targets, and moving is not something you want to do much of in Raiden III. The controls are fine, but the ship travels like a canoe in a speed boat race. At times, I couldnít even catch up to the weapon upgrades.

Perhaps speed isnít your thing, but give me a few moments and youíll see why it should be. Raiden III has seven levels, as well as seven difficulty levels to choose from. Since I wasnít feeling masochistic I thought I would ease myself into things with the second setting. As I should have expected, it was beyond easy, until the middle of the fifth level that is. Suddenly I was getting a decent challenge. After that, I pumped it up to the middle difficulty setting, only to realize that the difficulty setting doesnít manage enemy frequency, patterns, or intelligence. It just makes their bullets move faster. On the higher difficulties, the bullets move so quickly and you move so slowly that skill isnít even a factor. So where is the middle ground?

I was almost shocked to find that Raiden III even had list of extras to offer. Score Attack mode allows you to play any beaten level without plodding through the rest. There is a Boss Rush mode, but the bosses of Raiden III are absolutely unremarkable in every sense of the word. You could call a friend over for the two-player mode, but this always has one of two outcomes. 1) You play on an easy difficulty and breeze through everything, or 2) you both scream every curse word in the dictionary as your ships get unfairly ripped apart on a high difficulty. There is an interesting Double Play Mode, where you pilot both ships with one controller. It makes for a unique experience, but it simply canít correct all of Raiden IIIís mistakes.

Even considering the gameís balance issues, Iím sure that someone out there will stand up to proclaim Raiden III as being a return to the old-school days of traditional shooters, but the gameplay is hardly what I would call ďclassic.Ē Itís downright stagnant. Games like Einhander and Ikaruga have been called ďgimmickyĒ by some critics, but gimmicks are exactly what made those games so powerful. Itís no longer enough to haphazardly toss a few ships and guns on a screen and expect a hit. Itís time to step up and shove some innovation into the genre.

Rating: 3/10

pup's avatar
Staff review by Brian Rowe (May 02, 2007)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Brian Rowe
Turok (Xbox 360) artwork
Turok (Xbox 360)

Dinosaurs donít need help to be scary. Theyíre stronger, faster, more resilient, and better hunters than youíll ever be. That leaves one, powerful weapon that many FPSs frequently ignore Ė wits.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (Xbox 360) artwork
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (Xbox 360)

What makes the invasion of the U.S. different from that of France? Who would fight back, and who would manipulate the situation for personal gain? Instead of seizing the opportunity to dissect the American experience, Spark slapped some fedoras and Brooklyn accents on the scene and called it a day.
Shadowgate (NES) artwork
Shadowgate (NES)

How are you supposed to know that a ladder has no bottom end, or that a passage will suddenly collapse upon your skull? You do it, say hello to the reaper, and try again until you get it right.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Raiden III review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Raiden III is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Raiden III, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.