• Publisher: Konami
  • Release Date: Sep 14, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
Buy On
  1. 77
    There is little to make such a game appealing to those who don't find the idea of billions of options for instantaneous death exciting.
  2. Gradius V's particular brand of hard-boiled shooting mayhem is so intense that it can keep you breathlessly entertained for as long as your extra lives don't run out.
  3. Though the difficulty level is steep, it isn't the type that sends you home with a gauzy head and a fractured spine. It's more of a glove slap to the face - a challenge from a worthy foe that keeps you coming back for more. [Oct 2004, p.136]
  4. The only downside is that there isn’t as much to Gradius V as there is to some of its competition (R-Type Final, for example) in terms of variation and replay value, but the key element of Gradius V is its challenging and fun gameplay.
  5. Cheat Code Central
    It's also incredibly challenging. You might want to purchase another controller just in case you hurl your present one at the wall.
  6. Even with only seven levels, which are huge, it will take even the best shooter fan quite a few tries to complete this one to the end.
  7. Unless you’re a shooting god, it’ll be a while before you beat this… and even then, once you do, you’ll unlock lots of new ways to play it all over again.
  8. 100
    Combines best-of-class graphics with a surprisingly back-to-basics approach to the series' familiar gameplay. The result is a sublime shooter that not only does its legacy proud, but actually transcends it.
  9. Serving up a reheated portion of old school retro gaming might satisfy a few hardy souls, but it's hard to see its appeal extending much beyond that. If stupendously hardcore shooters that require the skills of other worldly beings are your thing, then the chances are you'll be in some sort of perverted masochistic heaven. [JPN Import]
  10. GamePro
    Incredibly difficult and insanely enjoyable, Gradius V is one of those magical games that you can pick up and play instantly, but spend weeks mastering. [Nov 2004, p.104]
  11. 90
    It's pretty, it's accessible, it has a nicely-balanced difficulty level (hard, and frequently quite hard, but practically never unfairly so), and it doesn't hurt that Konami's asking only 30 bucks.
  12. games(TM)
    For all its tight gameplay and superb visuals, this is simply Treasure by numbers and if you’ve played any of its past games you’ll find nothing here that you haven't seen already. [Oct 2004, p.104]
  13. And while previous games like "Silpheed" and "R-Type Final" are both excellent games, there is something about the style and the legacy associated with the Gradius franchise that makes Gradius V a force to be reckoned with.
  14. One of the best games I've played this year, and belongs in any former arcade rat's game library.
  15. Edge Magazine
    The action creeps up slowly, starting out like a gorgeous-looking but fairly standard shoot 'em up. However, by the middle of level two, it's pummelling you with a relentless parade of conceptual set pieces so audacious and inventive you'll laugh with delight as you gape in horror. [Sept 2004, p.94]
  16. Very challenging and incredibly addictive. The game does a great job of doing what it set out to do and this is a solid side scrolling shooter.
  17. 80
    While non-fans probably won’t dig in as much, this is still an exceptional example of the side-scrolling shooter. It looks great, plays better than ever, and the addition of a two-player option gives it significant staying power.
  18. About the only things that keep the game from scoring higher is the lack of any meaningful innovation in the gameplay and the fact that the game only has seven stages to play.
  19. Gradius V may not reinvent the wheel that is the space shooter, but it refines it to near perfection. This is a title that no serious gamer should miss.
  20. Play Magazine
    The graphics are stunning and the enemy and boss patterns will have you laughing with delight at their ingenuity and hand/eye stimulation...This one's not to be missed. [Sept 2004, p.72]
  21. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Whatever your skill level, good luck finishing the last three levels without unlimited credits. [Nov 2004, p.143]
  22. 70
    Memorization is only a small part of success, and we suspect that some inhuman quality is required to fully conquer the game.
  23. 80
    Quite simply put - this is the finest horizontal shooter on the PlayStation 2. In fact, it’s the finest horizontal shooter on any of the next-generation systems.
  24. Despite the game's incredibly high difficulty level (that sometimes borders on the frustrating); the intricately designed levels, sumptuous aesthetics and razor sharp gameplay will constantly pull you back, until all you can live for is annihilating your previous high score.
  25. Doesn’t do anything to attract new followers to the genre; it knows its market and is more than likely content with its piece of the pie. Those who love such themed releases will be satisfied with Gradius, but some of us wanted more, or at least a new plateau in shooters.
  26. It's just too bad that there isn't much to it beyond the standard gameplay. [Oct 2004, p.92]
  27. PSM Magazine
    Everything blows up really well, too. Konami has preserved the classic, 2D action, but rendered the graphics in full, beautiful 3D. [Oct 2004, p.40]
  28. Players who are looking for one of the most charming, addictive, and challenging shooters to come along in a long while should waste little time in picking up Gradius V.
  29. The good news is that although it does require more patience than most games, you at least are rewarded with stellar visual effects that make it worth your while.
  30. It's fast, it's intense, and it looks really good. But it's also very short, and slightly repetitive.
  31. The production values are excellent, and the simplistic gameplay is classic and at the core of so many old games as well as those new today.
  32. Hard as hell, scored like an epic sci-fi movie soundtrack, tighter control than Billy Joel’s car and more gorgeous than a dozen Victoria’s Secret models put together; Gradius V is a real man’s shooter (sorry ladies).
  33. New school gamers may be turned off by the simple play mechanics, 2D graphics, and intense challenge, but old school fans know this is THE holiday title to buy.
  34. netjak
    If there's to be a Gradius VI, please, Konami, ditch the insistence on the six power-ups. Give your weapons a lot more variety, give the multipliers options, too. Equip them with say, rate of fire and damage boosts, maybe even so AI so they stray and stay locked on to the boss when the player gives the order. Anything but the same maps, system and enemies we've fought before, only in 3D.
  35. Two-player action can get a bit confusing, though, and the game will appeal to a niche audience only. But for those with the fever for quarter-crunching thrills, consider the eagle landed. [Oct 2004, p.94]
  36. The perfect successor to Ikaruga and the space shooter genre for this PS2/Cube/Xbox age. The action is intense. The control is smooth. The game is screamingly difficult.
  37. The star of the game is your own craft, the Vic Viper, which comes in four flavors. Each offers a similar set of basic upgrades – missiles, lasers, forcefield – each of the four types has slight differences in these upgrades.
  38. 90
    Balanced, tuned and counter-weighted to within a pixel’s distance of perfection, Treasure have masterminded a game both technically adept and visually astonishing. Revel in this pean to the art of destruction. [JPN Import]
  39. 80
    The best side-scrolling action game for $30 this side of buying $30 worth of live crabs. That means buy it.
  40. With just the main game and the Score Attack mode, it's a bit short on play options; however, for what it does offer, you get a lot of game for just $30. If you're into this type of game or if you have even a remote interest in space shooters, you need to buy this game.
  41. Sporting incredible visuals and gameplay incredibly similar to the older Gradius games, a Gradius fan or even just a casual Shmup fan should love this.
  42. Quite simply put; this is the finest horizontal shooter on the PlayStation 2. In fact, it’s the finest horizontal shooter on any of the next-generation systems to emerge in some time - a game that can sit proudly in the upper echelons of gaming excellence.
  43. 83
    It's a short but sweet experience and unquestionably worth the effort to fight from the beginning to the end. Just don't expect to get very far on the first couple of plays.
  44. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 7 / 8 / 9 - 32 gold [Vol 815; 30 July 2004]
  45. 78
    Space shooter games are a very specialized taste, but if you get it, it’s very hard to lose the taste and Gradius V has enough variety in it to absorb new players to this genre.
  46. Even though its more visually polished than some of the other shooters out there, the lack of innovation and the small number of seven stages makes Gradius V a must for fans of the series only. [JPN Import]

Awards & Rankings

#70 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. May 21, 2018
    Uno de los 5 mejores Shmups de todos los tiempos, lastima que el genero esta finiquitado y casi ya no salen juegos de esta factoría para lasUno de los 5 mejores Shmups de todos los tiempos, lastima que el genero esta finiquitado y casi ya no salen juegos de esta factoría para las nuevas consolas Full Review »
  2. Jul 21, 2011
    This isn't Gradius.. this isn't Gradius at all. However, what it is- is in fact a much better, much improved, and much better looking GradiusThis isn't Gradius.. this isn't Gradius at all. However, what it is- is in fact a much better, much improved, and much better looking Gradius than any other installment in the series. Even though at times Treasures influence is incredibly obvious, seeing as they had everything to do with making this title, you'll still see some glimpses of original Gradius concepts from older games and maybe even old bosses or enemies. Its been re tweaked for awesome throughout, has a pretty cinematic quality to it and it even quite challenging in a relentless sort of way. However, the power-up system overhaul has left the room for error less-so than in the older games, seeing as you can do quite well with a fully powered ship in each stage. That doesn't mean you won't get you're ass murdered by level layouts or strategically placed enemy patterns of fire or otherwise. You may in fact enjoy this game or hate it for being nearly completely different the the other games. Full Review »
  3. JoseN.
    Apr 8, 2005
    Perfect!! The Best Gradius of the history!!