The latest iteration of R-Type lands on PC and consoles honoring one of the most popular arcade shooters ever.
There is a large number of video games with many years on their shoulders, but not everyone can boast of having stood the test of time and finally becoming great classics. R-Type, born in 1987, it is certainly part of this exclusive circle, unanimously recognized as one of the fundamental titles of the space shooter for a whole series of merits that it is objectively difficult to contest, from the particular gameplay philosophy to the exceptional attention paid to the aesthetic sector. Like many successful games, the work became serious in a very short time, reaching its peak in 2003 with an episode, R-Type Final, which should have definitely ended the long star war orchestrated by Irem Software Engineering, with good peace of diehard fans.
Fortunately, the game did not end at that moment, mainly thanks to a squad of ex-Irem (with the designer Kazuma Kujo at the head of all) who became part of the Japanese team Granzella, as well as the many loyal users who, by contributing to the success of a 2019 Kickstarter campaign, they enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to review the franchise on their home screens. From there, the development of the R-Type Final 2 began, which today, about twenty years after the “first ending“, lands on PC and home consoles in a form worthy of the illustrious leader.
Space (in) explored
Talking about R-Type Final 2 means first and foremost describe the characteristic elements of the original R-Type, being a version so expanded and modernized on the visual front, but playfully faithful to the core.
The campaign includes eleven horizontal scrolling levels in which the player, driving a spaceship model “R”, must get rid of the hordes of Bydo biomechanical creatures that will gradually try to stop its advance. A hit from the opponent is enough to make the aircraft explode into a thousand pieces, and on the other hand the vehicle we are called to manage can exploit different weapons, in addition to the simple shooting action, to get to the end of the picture unscathed. The first is the Beam, a devastating attack that, unlike standard bullets and missiles, requires a few seconds of charge before it can be launched. The performance of the Beam varies according to the type of spacecraft selected: in the case of the Arrowhead it is a common wave cannon, unlike the other two base models, the Shooting Star and the Andromalius, which use a laser beam and a circular energy blast respectively, and the same goes for the other unlockable space fighters after a few games.
Then the other symbolic object of the R-Type gameplay returns, namely the Force Pod, a sort of hyper-technological mobile nucleus of crucial importance in order to reach the exit of each stage safely. When intercepted along the way, it can hook to the front or rear of the ship, protecting it on the side just covered and even acting as a “ram” capable of knocking down rivals on simple contact.
If it does not join the vehicle, the pod will offer its assistance autonomously, fluttering around the frame and downloading bursts at each user’s order. The free choice of how to use the Force is the in-game reflection of that tactical heart that has defined the R-Type series since its inception as a cabin cruiser, the same heart that beats between the polygons of R-Type Final 2.
A chapter that is, like its predecessors, a slow-moving shooter, away from the frenzy of most of the congeners. In fact, the scenarios are not based on an excessively extended lateral development, however, where all the steps that lead to the boss at the end of the mission are studded with alien monstrosities to be faced by performing precise and thoughtful moves, using the range of elemental armaments and power-ups to the fullest. that occasionally reveal themselves in midair.
The result is an experience that knows how to put a strain on the concentration – and the nerves – of whoever wields the controller, even if you decide to set the challenge to lower difficulty than the Normal one. An aspect of the production that will make long-time admirers happy as always, and towards which novices must be well prepared in order not to run into an unwelcome surprise.
To enhance the inspiration “strategic“R-Type Final 2 also thinks about everything that concerns the” R “ships, which are varied – we are talking about a total of ninety-nine units -, equipped with peculiar and customizable features on several levels, cosmetic and otherwise.
The customization concerns the choice of the pilot and some secondary weapons (for example, the so-called Bits), but also the tint of the fairings and bodies and the application of stickers on the body of the vehicle. These are all things that can be purchased in a special Shop in exchange for the virtual points accumulated through the performances shown during each match, and then applicable to the shuttles already unlocked to finally register your creations in the hangar. Customization aside, the right selection of the model to be maneuvered – which can be replaced at each game over, until the credits run out, just like in a coin op – can really make the difference between victory and a premature defeat, and it is therefore a question to be evaluated with the utmost care.
R-Type Final 2 is in short a respectable product for lovers of the primitive formula, not to mention that, graphically speaking, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful R-Types to see in action, courtesy of an Unreal Engine 4 used in a workmanlike manner. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes aboard the spaceship to find yourself in the usual ballet of bullets, explosions, lights and colors, made more spectacular than ever by the camera movements that, at times, play to simulate the depth of field, although the title you remain a thoroughbred sidescroller from start to finish. The musical contribution is also pleasant, twenty-six background tracks that create an atmosphere that is sometimes electric, sometimes almost dreamy, always adequate to the “cosmic” tenor of the adventure.
R-Type Final 2Version Analyzed PlayStation 4It is hard to think of a product more suitable for experienced r-typers R-Type Final 2. In slavishly retracing the trail left by the famous eighties arcade shooter, the revival operation by Granzella Inc. here and there modernizes the starting playful recipe, finally returning an experience with a high nostalgic rate, complete with difficulties well above the average, just like in the old days. Whether this is the true finale of the series or not, try not to miss the exciting opportunity to take flight among the stars again.