R-Type Final 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Shoot-'em-up
Developer: Granzella Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Tested on: Switch

R-Type Final 2 – Review

Site Score
6.3
Good: Extensive customisation system for your ship
Bad: Seems afraid to modernize the series
User Score
7.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s been so long since we last saw an entry in the R-Type series that we wouldn’t be surprised that the majority of the current day gaming audience has never heard of the series. The franchise still has a dedicated following, however, and it is thanks to their crowdfunding efforts that R-Type Final 2 came to fruition. Does the series rise from the ashes with this new chapter or is it a sizzle?

Story

As the title indicates, R-Type Final 2 is a sequel to 2003’s R-Type Final, which launched on the PS2. Although there is plenty of lore to be found on the R-Type series (it even has its own dedicated wiki), the game eschews this and throws you straight in the action instead. There is plenty of fan service here, but unless you’re familiar with the series’ backstory, it will all fly over your head as there is practically no narrative to speak of.

Graphics

Although R-Type Final 2’s ships and environments are rendered in 3D, the game manages to capture the feeling of the old-school sprite-based visuals of the ’90s. This is in part due to the game’s dedication to sticking to a 2D perspective. That said, the game looks decent, if a little muddy. Your mileage may vary depending on which platform you’re playing the game on, of course, but the Switch version looked better in handheld mode than undocked, as a big screen actually highlighted some of the title’s lower visual fidelity. One visual gripe we ran into during our time with the game concerns the camera. Moving the ship up and down forces the camera to tilt slightly as well, distorting some of the 3D elements. This took some getting used to as it also affected gameplay, making it more difficult to move precisely or to focus on hitboxes. We couldn’t find an option to lock the camera, but hopefully this is something that can be resolved in a future update.

Sound

The game’s fast-paced techno music suits the game’s atmosphere, although it never really takes the front stage as it is drowned out by the sound effects. These are plentiful and help sell the impact that your shots make. There is plenty of variety to be found in the soundscape, with beam weapons sounding very different compared to explosions, for example. R-Type Final 2 has very little to offer in the sound department otherwise.

Gameplay

The R-Type series has received praise for being among the best shoot-’em-up games, with the original R-Type especially receiving praise as one of the best games of all time. R-Type Final 2 hopes to continue that legacy and sticks close to the spirit of the series, offering a modern interpretation of a classic shmup title. R-Type Final 2’s gameplay is a far cry from the bullet hell genre that has come to eclipse the more focused experience that you’re getting here. The goal is to navigate your ship through maze-like levels filled to the brim with extraterrestrial enemies. Of course, if you want to survive this ordeal, you’ll need to blast your way through. Unlike some of the more chaotic shooters out there, R-Type Final 2’s pace feels slower and more minutious. The game tends to keep you on your toes and forces you to focus your efforts rather than simply blast randomly and hope for the best.

At times, R-Type Final 2 feels like a platformer as much as a shooter. The game offers up environmental puzzles that you’ll need to overcome to progress and uses a checkpoint system rather than respawning in the same spot as the one where you died. Respawning also leaves you somewhat vulnerable, although you have a chance to regain some of your firepower before things become too overwhelming. It’s a showcase of how R-Type Final 2 strays away from the conventions of the genre, and the key to defeating a level often lies in memorizing it. This means retrying over and over as you chip away at whatever the game throws at you. Unfortunately, this also comes with lengthy load times, which can be a little frustrating when you get stuck at one of the game’s many harder sections. Boss fights can be especially painful, but anyone familiar with the series will know that this is par for the course.

One of the game’s best features is the ability to customize your loadout. The game boasts an impressive selection of weapons with which to equip your ship. Not only does this mean that you can finetune R-Type Final 2 to suit your playstyle, but the sheer amount of options also gives you plenty of reasons to revisit the game and find the most efficient way to get through a level in order to beat that all-important high score. Of course the game’s signature Force weapon plays a key part in this, although this part of your loadout requires more strategic depth as you are limited in using it. You’re also able to personalize your ship and its pilot in cosmetic ways.

It’s clear that developer Granzella has plenty of love for the franchise and tried to stay as true to the spirit of the series as possible. Unfortunately, this dedication also highlights some of the flaws of the series, and we feel R-Type Final 2 could have improved on some of the weaker points of previous entries in the series. For one, the game feels terribly unbalanced at times. There are a number of difficulty settings at your disposal but none of them felt quite right. The difficulty spike between “normal” and “Bydo” is immense but at times it feels like there is not enough action on screen when playing the game on “normal”. In addition to these balance issues, the overall experience feels soulless and empty at times, and although the gameplay feels suitably classic, it also didn’t stand the test of time very well.

It’s emblematic of how R-Type Final 2 is a title that plays it too safe and doesn’t want to take any risks, to avoid criticism from the fans that pledged money to revive the series. The game banks a bit too much on the legacy of the series and had it launched with the exact same dated gameplay but under a different IP, we doubt that it would have made an impact. We’re not asking here for a complete rework of the game’s core mechanics, as these stood the test of time relatively well, but some finetuning and additional polish could’ve really made an impact here to bring the game in line with the expectations of a modern-day audience without sacrificing the unique selling points and key elements that made the franchise so beloved in the first place.

Conclusion

Die-hard fans of the R-Type series will find plenty to love here, although we don’t think R-Type Final 2 does enough to modernize the series. We understand this dedication to stick to the series’ roots -especially since this is what the people crowdfunding the title signed up for- but we’re not convinced if R-Type Final 2 will have the same impact on newcomers. If anything, R-Type Final 2 left us hoping for a reboot of the series, because the franchise deserves better than this.

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Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
R-Type Final 2 - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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