Gradius V is a remarkable game for the primary reason that the gameplay has remained almost intact throughout the life of the series. It's really astonishing when you think about that in addition to the fact that it's still fun to play. The type of gameplay represented here does have significant drawbacks however and these are represented in Gradius V.
If you not familiar with the Gradius style of gameplay, it's essentially a side scrolling shooter where one hit will kill you while trying to navigate between numerous obstacles blasting anything in your path. Power-ups are also available when certain enemies are destroyed and can be used to upgrade your ship with a predetermined set of ship improvements. That's essentially the full scope of the gameplay and although some strategy must be implemented as far as selecting which power-ups are used when, it has a highly simple structure that you'll either love or hate.
Because of that, Gradius V is obviously not for everyone. For instance, to finish the game, each level will probably have to be memorized to reduce the potential of ship loss, when a ship is lost all the upgrades from the power-ups are lost which can be almost impossible to recover from in some cases, and losing a ship after only one hit will drive many nuts. However, there is a certain amount of satisfaction that's achieved when a level is completed without losing a ship in addition to chasing high scores.
There are also other features that help to make Gradius V appealing. The graphics really lead the charge here with beautifully detailed levels and highly creative enemies. Unfortunately the audio isn't quite as compelling but at least isn't distracting.
Gradius V is not going to appeal to a broad audience, but will definitely resonate with certain gamers. 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.