Raiden IV x MIKADO remix Review
Raiden is a vertical shoot ‘em up franchise that dates back to 1990. The original version of Raiden IV was released in Japanese arcades in 2007. In North America, it was first released in 2009 on the Xbox 360, and was an exclusive until 2014, when it came out on PS3. Every version has had bug fixes and added content. Raiden IV x MIKADO remix has even more added gameplay features, and, as the title implies, a new soundtrack. The “MIKADO remix” is in reference to a famous Japanese arcade chain called “Mikado Game Center”. What an arcade chain has to do with a new OST is anyone’s guess though. This version of Raiden IV has been a Switch exclusive for the past year and a half, and as of January 31 2023, it will be playable for all consoles and PC.
Raiden IV x MIKADO remix retains the vertical shoot ‘em up gameplay the franchise is known for. Gameplay involves shooting floating enemies and dodging their attacks as the level auto-advances. But Raiden IV is all about points. The core game isn’t very long. It isn’t about a narrative or just making it to the end of the main set of levels. Raiden IV is all about replaying, perfecting and maximizing your score in different modes. Half the items are score multipliers. There are three characters to choose from, several different core weapons, and several bomb attacks. But they don’t shake up the variety as much as the different score modes do.
The original Raiden IV is found in arcade mode, which has seven stages and two difficulties. OverKill mode adds two stages, and features a point system where the player can keep shooting dead enemies as they go down. Additional mode adds two stages and has changes to enemy positioning and difficulty. The arcade and additional modes have a gameplay hook called the flash shot system, where the player’s score increases if enemies are killed really quickly after appearing onscreen. There are also typical score attack and boss rush modes.
Raiden IV x MIKADO remix has two new play styles. Double play allows the player to pilot two ships at the same time. As a casual shmup fan, I really loved this mode, and it helped to differentiate Raiden IV from other genre offerings. Dual play is couch co-op mode, and for me, this was an essential addition. I can’t believe Raiden IV didn’t have local multiplayer until now. While there are online leaderboards, there isn’t online dual play, which is a massive fail in this day and age.
The main advertised addition to Raiden IV x MIKADO remix is the new soundtrack. The music is mostly hard electronic, with sprinklings of metal every now and then. There are even some live performance versions of some songs. The original OST can be selected too, which is always appreciated. Overall the soundtrack really deserves the highlight it’s been given, and really brings to mind visions of Japanese arcades full of DDR consoles, shmups, and fighters. Other major additions to Raiden IV x MIKADO remix include replays, and a gallery. Some of the modes have additional levels. There are tweaks to enemy bullet patterns everywhere.
Raiden IV x MIKADO remix has really precise controls. There are tons of modes, and it has lots of content for genre fans. It’s a harder sell for casual shmup fans though. Presentation-wise, it’s very indicative of many Xbox Live shoot ‘em ups. It has similar sci-fi visuals to many games from that period. Upon first glance, it doesn’t have an interesting visual presentation like Cotton Reboot, or Abarenbo Tengu & Zombie Nation. It isn’t a full-blown bullet hell shooter. It doesn’t have an exciting gameplay hook like Ikaruga or Risk System; its flash shot system isn’t super unique.
Hardcore Shmup Fans Only
So Raiden IV x MIKADO remix is a tough sell. It’s a no-brainer for hardcore shmup fans. There’s tons of content, and score junkies will get a lot out of it. But to non-hardcore fans, it will be a very generic experience. It doesn’t have unique visuals or gameplay elements. It also lacks the wow factor of a crazy bullet hell shooter. Everything about Raiden IV x MIKADO remix is well-crafted, but it doesn’t focus on being unique at all.
***PS5 code provided by the publisher***
Lots of score-related content
Remix music sounds great
No online co-op
Lacks unique gameplay hook
Generic shmup visual theme