Quick recap- Nerf's 'Light it Up" series of blasters (from here on I'm just going to drop the 'It' because it sounds dorky) are probably one of the more interesting releases that have come out of the stable. In the past, the blasters were essentially just repaints of of 4-5 existing blasters, but this Light Up series was somewhat different, with a repaint of a blaster that had only officially been out for a few months (the Vortex Praxis), and another completely new blaster design in the motorised Rayven CS-18. The blasters have been then accompanied by factory 'modified' ammunition clips fitted with LED lights to charge up specially made glow in the dark ammunition (be it streamline darts for the Rayven and XLR discs for the Vortex). And, there's only two blasters (at least thus far) in the series.
But you already knew all of this huh? Sooo.. let's get into our thoughts, now that the dust has settled. Because we absolutely love them:D
At the time, I was thinking that with an N-Strike vs Vortex line, I'd have chosen the Praxis vs the Alpha Trooper. In my opinion, they would have been quite obvious rivals and well suited against one another; it's a well known fact the AT is our personal favourite in the UT HQ but the Praxis was definitely our pick of the Vortex line and after a while became quite a well received blaster amongst visitors to the apartment. The interesting thing is, as controversial as this might sound, but we started to find the Vortex line out of the box DOES outclass N-Strike- they go further, faster and with more accuracy than a streamline.
When it was officially announced that the Rayven CS-18 and the Lumitron were a part of a new "Light Up" series, I found it pretty intriguing- why bring out only ONE new blaster, and a repaint of another? Why not make them BOTH a repaint, or BOTH new blasters? Why rename an existing blaster a NEW name even though for all intended purposes it's the same piece? Why make ONE of them motorised/flywheel but the other not? If it was Vortex vs N-Strike, why make them BOTH in the same colour scheme? And why revive "Firefly tech" when they only ever brought out one blaster previously with this glow in the dark ability?!
I have no answers for any of those questions. I could speculate, but I'd probably be wrong. The story teller in me NEEDS to find some form of continuity and link between these two blasters but it seems like we won't get a definite answer (maybe the boys from Foam from Above and Adult Fans of Nerf can shed some light on this when they hit the Nerf launch parties this year).
But! Lets get into this. The thing is, given technically the Praxis/Lumitron does outclass most blasters its size in the N-Strike line, it makes sense they decided to develop a new blaster for the Light Up line. If you think about it, whatever the blaster would be, it'd have to be a Clip system blaster first and foremost so that it could accommodate a Firefly tech clip; but every blaster in the N-Strike line would just not have the range or accuracy required to match the Praxis/Lumitron. Sooo.. why not up the rate of fire and go for a semi automatic blaster instead (alternatively they could have gone with a Stampede I guess?!)
Again, we're just speculating but it resulted in the very cool Rayven CS-18. Never before has a bull pup Nerf blaster been available that takes clip system darts; hell never before has there been a clip system blaster that was semi automatic! And it very quickly became one of our favourite blasters ever, for the sheer cool factor of it all. We loved the "accelerator" switch to power the blaster up, a la Vortex Nitron, although the losing of velocity on each shot was a bit of a pain and having to wait for the flywheels to power up was also frustrating for those impatient- that being said with some voltage mods it became an absolute monster to contend with:)
That being said, I was VERY surprised that when it came down to it, even though I loved the Rayven, there was just something about this updated Praxis that won me over. I LOVE the new Lumitron; the new Light Up colour scheme suits it to a tee and I always preferred my Praxis sans stock. It always looked better with the longer Nitron clip anyway, and with this new Firefly tech Light up clip, it has the same appearance (albeit only 10 rounds).
The batteries in the clip give the Lumitron a fantastic solid weight to it; the LED in the clip also shines through the muzzle of the Lumitron like a makeshift night light. And the glow in the dark discs are just awesome and for me are a more natural progression to make them glow than the darts.
On to the night games:) Turning off the lights and charging around my apartment in the dark was awesome and watching these green darts and discs whizzing past all over the place (discs especially were bouncing off walls) just gave apartment warfare a whole new tilt. We could still make each other out, and the glow of the LEDs through the blasters' plastic obviously gave away positions, but it just became this very different experience to with the lights on.
For you "serious" nerfers, I can see how it'd probably be not for you, but especially those who enjoy laser tag- it's a sort of similar experience to the run and gun in the dark tilt that we're used to when playing night games. It just adds a whole new level of fun, and while I applaud the new Rayven's wholeheartedly, I just found myself loving the Lumitron in action. Sure it's a gimmick; a repaint, whatever. It's so much fun, and that's what all of this is about isn't it?! :D