raiden3.jpg Veteran UK game journalist Stuart Campbell has nominated his game of the year, and it's not Shadow Of The Colossus, or even Psychonauts, but rather the 2D PlayStation 2 shoot-em-up Raiden 3, which is out in Europe early in 2006 (but unlikely to be seen on U.S. shores, thanks to SCEA's draconian standards policies).

Campbell explains, very precisely, why the game stands out: "Raiden isn't like most modern shmups. There's no "bullet hell" here, no screens full of geometric snowstorms of enemy fire through which you have to pilot a ship with a "hit box" that's actually only one pixel square. Unlike the baddies of Giga Wing or Mars Matrix or Espgaluda, enemies in Raiden games don't just unleash a monstrous barrage of shots and hope vaguely that you blunder into one. These guys might only fire a couple of bullets, but they fire them right at you, with an assassin's precision and a sniper's economy. And it's that smart, aware opposition that sets Raiden apart from pretty much every other shooting game on the market." Oh, and there's a bonus Campbell shmup review posted since then, of the equally interesting (but not European-bound) Dodonpachi Dai-Ou-Jou from Cave.