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Raiders Sphere 4th Game Sample - PC/Doujin

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  • 3 years ago
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"Raiders Sphere 4th" (often stylized as "RaidersSphere4th" and "Raiders Sphere Fourth") is a relatively good Doujin game that draws most of its inspiration from the early "Ace Combat" games and "AirForce Delta" series. Originally released in 2013 by the Doujin group, Rectangle, it was eventually translated by Sekai Project and released on Steam under "Early Access" until 2015. It is sequentially the last title in the series and also the most fully-realized, as it has a better plot, more detailed story scenes, Oculus Rift Headset Support (though it's not great) and is overall more polished than its predecessors, though it lacks the mission creator of the third game. It is preceded by "Raiders Sphere 3rd ~3D-Dive Edition~" (compatible with 3D Glasses), "Raiders Sphere 2nd ~the Hidden Script~" and "Raiders Sphere" as well as various supplemental mission packs for older games. It is succeeded by 「Raiders Sphere Other Mission #3 "The 3rd Curriculum"」 which was a series of mini-missions made in the RS4th engine with no plot or mission correlation to the main game. The series was first introduced in 2003 and has slowly evolved over a period of ten years.

The setting is the on the planet Venus, which has been made habitable by humans in the somewhat distant future (the end of the 21st century). Two major conglomerations, the VMI (Venus Material Inc.) and UNSMF (United Nations Security Maintenance Force) have been fighting for majority rule of the planet for decades through geopolitical tension, threats, propaganda, and other measures short of open warfare (I.E. "Cold War II"). The player assumes the role of Ellea Southline, a private ace Raider-class pilot with a reputation of clearing any mission ahead of schedule, earning her the title of "Sonic-Venus". She's the daughter of the legendary George Southline who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years prior, and works with her uncle, Nobuyuki Sasaki (a talented mechanic), and cousin, Lisa Southline (who came to Venus to study abroad but got swept up in hacking and information gathering as a trade during the Venusian Conflict) to scrape out a living in the suburbs of Venus' 3rd Terastructure. All is routine until an unknown pilot goes overboard and opens fire on manned planes, which makes its way to the mass media and sparks all-out war. At this time, the three are drafted to work for the SoT (Sentinels of Terra, a mediator "peace" group) until further notice.

The game features a reasonably lengthy campaign of 30 missions (weighing in at 3-8 minutes each on average) with plenty of cutscenes and intermissions between each to move the story along, which features anime characters with fully voiced dialogue and is lighter in nature than AC and on par with AFD. For what it's worth, the voice work is great even though it's not dubbed (there's plenty of emotion and ad-libs for good measure) and most of the music is excellent and a bit on the jazzy side of things. You can also replay any missions you've unlocked in Free Mission mode. The gameplay is a little rough for various reasons, but at least some of this is actually intentional.

It's not because of the controls; though not as precise as AC or AFD, they handle well enough. It's the difficulty settings: the different difficulties reward the player with more things to shoot and more money-earning potential, but damage and enemy speed scale dramatically -- on Easy, the game is more than manageable, but on Normal and Hard, enemies effortlessly avoid most attacks short of a machine gun near point blank range (or if you can manuever from a distance and confuse them with a combo of missiles and machine gun) and fly extremely fast... even watching them on the game's excellent radar shows how quickly they can turn (often in place or while hardly moving). The intention is to play on Easy or Normal to unlock the better ships so you can start with them on a Hard Mode run, but even then, you'll never need anything other than standard missiles and your machine gun, making a lot of the other optional weapons feel superfluous in nature, though the thrill of the dogfight is still evident in this title.

The aerial battles are decent, but the best part is the mission variety; most missions have you doing something different to switch things up and most missions deal with ground targets while some even have more than one way to finish. There are a few graphics settings which do help, but the game is surprisingly resource heavy. At max settings, it looks like a mid-to-high tier PS2 game, which is fine by me. Overall, it's still one of the finest AC or AFD derivatives to come out of the Doujin scene. This is a video of the game in action. You can get it at:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/340860/RaidersSphere4th/

Enjoy.

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