E3 2003: Gradius V hands on impressions
2D space shooters were like second nature to me back when I was a kid, so naturally, games like Life Force and Gradius have special places in my heart. However, some of the sequels in the Gradius franchise have been far less than stellar, so it was really nice to see that Gradius V is shaping up as an excellent game.
Visually, V is amazing. With the return of the 2D side scrolling action, the backgrounds are seriously good looking, and the visual effects, such as the several explosions that take place on screen, often simultaneously, are beautiful. The Vic Viper is looking sharper than ever, as well.
The gameplay is classic Gradius, with a return to the simplistic yet challenging formula that made the original so much fun. I teamed up with a colleague, and together we blasted our way through the demo, blowing up asteroids, knocking the crap out of enemy forces and beating the snot out of boss enemies. Sure, we died a lot, and used several continues, but the fun factor was undeniable. Gradius V is a lot like the original in that it delivers fun you can’t qualify, but wouldn’t care to anyway because you’d rather just play it.
Look for more information on Gradius V as it becomes available.
5/14/2003 Ryan Hartmann