Classic goodness with a modern shine.
As a kid, I grew up adoring R-Type on the original Gameboy. I put hours into it, and, of course, never made it too far. I was only a kid, remember? Flash forward some 20+ years, and I’m still trash at the game – but I love it just as much. I won’t lie: I’m not great at side scrolling games like this, so I probably struggled a bit more than the average gamer. With that said, the game itself is a pleasure to play and an absolute blast from the past.
In R-Type Final 2, the sequel to 2004’s R-Type Final, you’ll assume the control of a pilot in command of a number of vessels (you can choose from three at the beginning and customize them as you like with many more ships and options available as you progress) as you explore the space around your home base. You can outfit your ship with a small choice of weapons and customize it according to your tastes aesthetically, and that is enough to get you through the opening segments. Each ship is designed for a different play style, so you can choose between what you want to take into combat.
For those unfamiliar with the R-Type franchise, the games present as side-scrolling bullet hell experiences that pushes heavy difficulty but yields satisfactory victories. The game requires a lot of skill, or, if you lack the necessary skills like I do, a solid memory. Fortunately, as you progress through the game and earn materials (and when you complete set stages), you can unlock better or new models of a slew of ships to help you progress. There are additional upgrades to weaponry and power ups you can also purchase, making the game more approachable – but never easy.
The great piece of R-Type Final 2 is its replayability. In order to fully collect and complete everything, you’ll need to spend oodles of hours grinding through levels (on difficulties that range from kids to more extreme difficulties), collecting materials, etc. I found enjoyment in strategizing on which ship would be suitable for each stage (if I needed to use a continue, of course), and playing around with various outfitted ships was also a boon. In games that are intentionally difficult, such as R-Type, said difficulty is not a detractor. You should know what you’re getting yourself into before buying or playing – and I can assure you that, if this is what you’re looking for, you won’t find a more enjoyable release in recent years.
When you put it all together, R-Type Final 2 is a satisfying side-scrolling bullet hell that fans of the franchise will love and newcomers up to a challenge will dive right into. There’s a lot to complete for the completionists – and, really, there isn’t much negative to say about this experience. I grew up loving R-Type, even though I was straight trash at it, and R-Type Final 2 brought waves of nostalgia alongside a terrifically difficult game – but one that allows the player to grow in skill and strategize as he/she sees fit.