R-Type Final 2
The Most Humiliating Words A Gamer Will See -- Game Over
Usually, the featured image of a "First Look" article is a title screen or a relevant image to kick things off and running, but I feel this very screen is enough to encapsulate how the R-Type Final 2 First Look experience went for ya boy this time around. Suffice to say, I died. A lot. Too many times. R-Type Final 2 was frustrating, but it was fun as it didn’t deter me from playing nor did I get embarrassed at my performance. More on that in a bit as I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
R-Type Final 2 is the first R-Type game to be released outside of Japan since Dimensions back in 2009, 12 years ago, to the excitement of fans of the series and sh’mups in general. Japanese shooters have been a bit of a delicacy, existing in the form of various indie titles ranging from amazing 3D visuals to retro 2D graphics. The Switch alone seems to be the console of choice for such shooters, perhaps because of the portability of the console?
Regardless, this game is released on all platforms from the PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. There isn’t an exclusive “next-gen” version though there isn’t a need for such a port, honestly. The game is only a handful of gigs in size and setup was finished in two to three minutes at max. It’s a simplistic horizontal shooter, piloting your mech as you dodge enemies, obstacles, and bullets while gunning things down, but there’s a lot of layer of depth to the madness.
True To It Roots, This Space Shooter Requires The Bare Minimum
The graphics and presentation are up to par with most modern titles even if the gameplay is nostalgic, as players are greeted to an opening cinematic with their pilot being issued their task while awaiting deployment. The premise is simple, comparative to other games of its ilk. You pilot a craft as “humanity’s last hope” in saving them from an alien army. You blow everything up, mission success, then leave the premise. As basic and simplistic as the prequel, R-Type Final was released all the way in 2003.
Playing the game like any other Japanese shooter is a death wish, a wish that was granted to me time and time again, as trying to play “avoid the bullets and obstacles” gets difficult when you realize that the enemy swarms your craft quicker than you can see the “Game Over” screen flash before your eyes. You have a droid-like companion, known as the Force, that assists you in combat, firing when you fire as well as tracking your general location. You can call the Force to your craft and have it attach to your front or rear, allowing the Force to fire directly in front or behind you respectively.
R-Type Final 2 Offers Many Customization Options
Another special detail about the Force is that it can absorb almost all attacks and enemy fire, defending your rear and front by adjusting the angle in which an attached Force can properly absorb the enemy. Attaching and detaching the Force also allows it to “absorb” enemies by crashing into them and their projectiles. Utilizing this, a gauge increases on the bottom left where, when filled, can unleash a special attack. The more enemies and bullets the Force absorbs, the stronger the special attack.
Using the Force is also key to getting yourself out of jams, at least smartly. Without using these mechanics, players are severely limiting themselves yet it also takes a fair amount of dexterity and awareness to survive as players could be doing exceptionally well, only to get hit once, lose a life, then start back from an earlier checkpoint.
It was frustrating, but it was trial and error that I was able to understand what I should be doing and I’d blame not the game, but my fault. Granted I didn’t make it far at all, only up to the second stage, but it was fun enough to be addicting as the game’s difficulty adjusts to how you’re performing and giving you extra credits accordingly.
R-Type Final 2 Is Frustrating, Yet An Honest and Fun Experience.
There are various colors you can apply to your ships to make them stand out and personalize your craft. You can also dress your pilot in various outfits that you can buy in the shop with your accumulated points earned in-game. There’s a glossary of enemies detailing how many you’ve killed, there are bonus modes that are unlocked as you play through the game, and there are even language options, changing the voices from English to the original Japanese.
The game looks amazing and it’s easy to get lost in the flashing lights as enemies fire across all angles, only for a small speck of a bullet to destroy your craft. Thus, players will need to know how to soak in the environment but not let the environment soak them if that makes any sense. Overall, R-Type Final 2 is the return to greatness similar to other “revival” titles like the Raiden series. It’s a game meant to bring a younger fanbase along, while also preserving the near-masochistic difficulty that Japanese shooters were known for.
R-Type Final 2 is now available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.