R-Type Final 2
There are three things that are certain in life; taxes, death and a video game series abusing the word ‘Final’. In fairness, it’s likely that if a developer includes ‘Final’ in the title, it is often the case for the first entry into the series. That is until it sells millions of copies and the developers are forced into creating a sequel for the fans. The 2004 arcade style shooter, R-Type Final, was supposed to follow this trend. That was until Granzella Inc took the opportunity to crowdfund a sequel which raised over $1 million. Enter R-Type Final 2.
At A Glance
|Positives||+ Challenging gameplay|
|+ Fun arcade shooter full of delightful explosions|
|+ Customisable loadouts with loads of options|
|Negatives||– Inexperienced players need not apply|
|– Lacklustre graphics in places|
|– Music is forgettable|
|Our Playtime||7 hours 45 mins|
|Available On||PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One,|
Starting life in the arcade explosion of the 1980s, R-Type plonks players in a spaceship to explore the final frontier and stop an enemy race known as the Bydo from invading Earth. The left to right side-scrolling action is a tried and tested formula as the ship moves around to dodge and return enemy fire. Pleasantly, in a world of huge 3D open world vistas and far reaching environments, R-Type Final 2 sticks to the formula and keeps things simple – a 2D space shooter that goes from left to right- after all, if it’s not broken, why fix it? And because of this ‘more of the same’ approach, the game appeals to both newcomers hopping into the cockpit for the first time, and diehard veterans of the series. Having dabbled in some R-Type action back in the black and white days of the 90s, I was interested to see how the series has evolved.
For newcomers, a warning: The R-Type series has never been known for being an easy ride, and Final 2 is no exception. In fact my only note on the matter simply reads ‘It’s bloody difficult’. Even as I stare at my notepad, I think this is an understatement. Even the entry level difficulty setting – ‘practice’ has frustrating moments and as you ramp up through the difficulty levels, things just get worse, as not only do more enemies appear, but they move at greater speed and shoot more frequently too. This is no doubt a hangover from the old arcade mantra – make it harder so the kids fire in more coins, and even though slotting 50ps into the console is no longer required, there are only seven levels to the main campaign, meaning that R-Type Final 2 relies heavily on the difficulty to pad out the run time.
That being said, the developers certainly coast down the fine line between making the game too difficult and giving the player just enough slack to keep pushing through. Granzella Inc have made the controls responsive enough, and slowing down or speeding up the ship is a simple button press. Various power-ups litter each of the stages, and all manner of orbs can be fired from the ship to aid in the destruction, though trying to control them in tight tunnels is an effort in itself. It is safe to say that all of the tools needed to make it through the levels in one piece are present, and only human error behind the controller, rather than unfair AI or simple bad luck, were to blame for failing missions. ‘Git Gud’ is certainly the message here.
R-Type Final 2 ticks a lot of boxes in the looks department. Environments take inspiration from previous titles and are just as engaging as ever. As critters spawn out of various orifices, large ships move into attack formations, and enemies come whizzing into the foreground, the constantly changing world is full of life and energy that promotes frantic battle sequences. Complimenting the landscapes, enemies are thoughtfully designed creatures that pull inspiration from existing alien films, and much like any arcade shooter, explode into a vibrant mess after a few hits with the ship’s laser. The only points against the game’s design are the menus, and the pilots and ships are lacklustre at best. They are somewhat dull and feel like more of an afterthought. It seems like a small point to pick up on, but between restarting and testing different loadouts, more time will be spent in these menus than you’d expect.
The soundtrack to the game is another missed opportunity. Much like the difficulty, it seems the game’s music has been designed with loud arcade halls in mind, as it’s a quiet repetitive techno beat does nothing to inspire play. It is simply there to replace the silence and be drowned out by all of the on screen ‘pew-pew’ sound effects. I feel if it had been worked on a little bit longer, it could have been something more memorable that packs as much of a punch as the on screen action.
Once enough progress has been made, the game will give players the ability to unlock additional goodies such as additional ships, weapon upgrades, countless cosmetic upgrades and even higher difficulty levels, just in case the challenge was too easy. While there is a lot to unlock, for some the grind might be a little much but there are some lovely pieces of concept art to look at and build into a sprawling gallery as new enemies and evronments are discovered. It doesn’t add anything vital to the experience but it is fun trying to complete the various codex entries.
If you’re looking for a tough as nails arcade shooter, R-Type Final 2 is the game of choice. The controls are tight and although not perfect, the environments are pretty enough to keep you entertained. R-Type Final 2 treads a fine line between too tough to enjoy and just hard enough to keep you coming back for more, and even on the easiest difficulty there is a steep challenge where casual players will struggle. It would be hard to recommend the game to anyone who isn’t either an arcade professional or a glutton for punishment, but it’s one that long standing fans of the series will enjoy .
In the interest of full disclosure, the publisher provided VGamingNews with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.