Raystorm HD Review (XBLA)
Posted by Jim Cook, May 27, 2010 15:59
A game must be evaluated on at least two aspects; not only its overall merit as a game, but what kind of value it represents to the player. This leaves Raystorm HD in a bad position: It is a decent scrolling shooter, but aside from updating the graphics over its 1996 incarnation it does nothing special... yet its price tag is 1200 Points/$15. The end result is a game that is reasonably fun, but costs about triple what it should.
Raystorm HD is like most other games in its genre, giving you several short, arcade-style stages where you fly a plane on a vertical 2D play-field and blast enemies along the way. You have your choice between a few different planes, each with subtly different advantages, and power-ups along the way will help you out. The controls are simple, with the d-pad or left analog stick moving your plane, one button firing regular bullets, another firing lasers that can hit targets your regular attack cannot, and finally a ’bomb everything’ style move that you can use in emergencies. With each stage being only a few minutes long, you’ll likely complete a run through Raystorm HD in about half an hour.
While it’s a competent experience for a lone player, a friend can only join in if they’re playing in the same room as you; there is no online co-op. Perhaps to compensate for this, clearing the game a few times will unlock some additional modes including "13 Planes", where you get a limited number of each of the planes in the game and have to complete all the stages with them. It’s an interesting mode, though by the time you unlock it you may have had your fill of this game’s enemies and stages.
Since the heart of this game is very similar to the original version, the only huge change is the graphics. While still recognizable as Raystorm, this version of the game has been updated to modern standards and does look decent. The only serious complaint is that some weapon effects your planes can make will block your view of enemy attacks, and thus it’s very easy to get hit by things you can’t see. Thankfully this problem doesn’t happen too often, and the core game play of "fly around, shoot enemies, gather power-ups, and kill a huge boss before you repeat the process in the next stage" works out fairly well.
On the other hand, that’s really all Raystorm HD does. It’s a mid-90s shooter with nothing to make it stand out, and one can only describe it in terms like ’competent’, ’decent’, and ’okay’; it never rises above that. Fans of the genre should enjoy Raystorm, but this game will wear out its welcome fairly quickly.
Most of what you’re paying for is new graphics, and those do not make a game; they only improve something that is already great. Raystorm HD would be a fair buy for genre enthusiasts at 400 Points/$5, while 800/$10 would be a stretch and its actual price of 1200/$15 is absurd. There are several games in this genre that are in lower price brackets and are just as good or better than Raystorm HD, and with that in mind I can only advise you to purchase it if the price goes down; otherwise it’s a case of a merely competent game costing too much money.
Rating: 0.0, votes: 0