After nearly 20 years, R-Type Final 2 is back and it brings along with it some stellar visuals and great action gameplay. This is the first R-Type title to release outside Japan since 2009, so this is a big deal for western gamers and fans of horizontal shooters. The classic series has made a comeback, and it is now time to decide whether this is a series that deserves a revival or not.
So is R-Type Final 2 worth your time and money? Let’s find out!
Humanity is on the brink of extinction because of an alien organism that has been destroying them, and they built and developed many weapons over the course of this time to combat this Bydo invasion.
The objectives of the current mission, R-TYPE FINAL 2, are to compile the military history of the war between humanity and the Bydo, and to pass down the know-how for anti-Bydo weapon development. Yet unpublished military records and war memories are required over the course of this compilation, and as new war records are still being discovered, humanity foresees that mission will stretch over a long period of time.
To be honest, a lot of these shooters try to have some deep or meaningful sci-fi storytelling to add some value to the experience, but R-Type Final 2 just simply fails at giving their fans a reason to care about what is going on. The story is convoluted and not told very well, and the random “dialog wheel”, if that’s what you even want to call it here, is meaningless and adds nothing. Not only that, but like in old arcade fashion, there is no explanation from beginning to end, which also devalues the story and takes your ability to connect with things out even more.
But thankfully, this is the normal case for horizontal and vertical shooters, so it is hard to knock on it too much. What about the gameplay?
Well, R-Type Final 2 plays very similarly to others in the series and those in the genre. You control a ship (There are a ton to unlock, choose from, and customize, too!), and you make your way through a series of stages and bosses en roue to saving humanity. One hit, and you are dead, which makes this one an extra difficult shooter even on the lowest setting.
Movement in the R-Type series is a bit sluggish when compared to others in the genre, which does take some getting used to, as dodging and weaving is a lot more difficult here, especially when the bullet hell unleashes. There are so many points in the game when enemy bullets just start spraying out from random areas without an enemy ship contributing, and this can be quite annoying as it diverts your attention away and seemingly throws more things at you instead of offering a better challenge of enemy units.
One of the special mechanics of the series is the Force, an assistant gunner of sorts that is picked up during gameplay and evolves with each additional pick up. This is no different in R-Type Final 2, and the ability to attach it to the front and back of your ship is also possible. This really mixes up combat and provides a lot more helpful firepower for those tight situations, particularly the bosses, which are a nice bag of challenging and fun.
In addition to Force, there are other points that make each ship unique, including the build, the charge blast, bits, and specialty weapons. Between the hanger and R Museum, you can unlock more ships and customize the look, feel, and more to your liking. The ship customization options are tremendous.
There are five difficulty options at the start, which include Practice, Kids, Normal, Bydo, and R-Typer. Clearing the game on R-Typer will unlock R-Typer 2 difficulty, and clearing the game on R-Typer 2 will unlock… you guessed it, R-Typer 3 difficulty. This is where things get insane in R-Type Final 2. The difficulty levels even at the bottom, like Kids, are a serious challenge and will be enough for a lot of players out there. However, if you are looking for a serious challenge, R-Type Final 2 brings the real heat and will throw everything including the kitchen sink at you in R-Typer 3.
The game needs all of these difficulties, though, because the campaign itself is rather short. Start to finish, it takes about 3 hours to clear, but with all the difficulty options and the variety of stages at the end, replay for R-Type Final 2 is incredibly high. The first 5 stages are fixed, which is odd in my opinion, but stages 6 and 7, the final two, are decision-based and branch out, which means the base game has 11 total stages, a bit on the low side for a shoot ’em up. Despite, with all of the customization options and decisions at the end of the campaign, this is a pretty meaty title that offers a lot to shmup and R-Type fans.
The graphics are a weird one for me, though. On the one hand, it is quite stunning, as the polished, high-definition graphics is a welcome improvement to a genre that usually holds on to its old, bit-style visuals. But on the other hand, it seems like the Switch version is filtered in a weird way, and the visuals in docked mode take a strong hit, unfortunately. It is not “ugly”, per say, but it is noticeably dull at times, especially in areas that tend to be a bit more empty and lacking substance.
Music and sound effects are pretty solid, and there are certain tracks in a couple stages that really get the blood pumping and ready for an alien onslaught. It is not an area I tend to listen out for in shooters like this, but there are definitely some moments that will get your groove on.
R-Type Final 2 is one of those shoot ’em up series where the reputation exceeds itself. This is an incredibly popular series from Japan, where arcade shooters are still quite popular. However, this crowdfunded sequel fails to bring the series into 2021 in a bright light. Instead, some of the series’ flaws are exposed a little bit more here, and R-Type Final 2 suffers a bit in bland storytelling, overly difficult gameplay, and visuals that should not look questionable in this day and age.
But it is a solid package still, and fans of the series will get an incredibly amount gameplay for the price. Unfortunately, if you are not a fan of the R-Type series, this is a tough pill to swallow, as there are significantly better shoot ’em ups out there to introduce yourself to.
At the end of the day, though, R-Type Final 2 is a game for a particular crowd, and they will most likely love it. For others, this is something to avoid unless you are a masochist and want to see how long you can play before you pull your hair out.
R-Type Final 2 Review provided by Nintendo Link
Review also found on OpenCritic
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Granzella Inc / IREM SOFTWARE ENGINEERING
Release Date: April 30th, 2021
Price: $39.99, £35.99, €39,99
Game Size: 8.4 GB
Lots of potential gameplay
Force and Bit are great mechanics that add a lot to the action
Difficulty is a bit painful
Story is lacking
Visuals are a weirdly mixed bag
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.