Right off the bat, I find the visuals to be vastly improved from the Saturn version. The backgrounds have a lot more detail and the bosses are much more colorful than on the Saturn version. The game’s sound is also done pretty well. The music is pretty much the same as the Saturn version’s, but the sound effects have been redone and sound a lot better than they did on the Saturn.

R-Type Final 2 is a side-scrolling shooter where you pilot a small ship through a series of increasingly difficult levels, shooting at bizarre alien creatures, and avoiding their shots. Different ships and power ups are available, which you can unlock during the game. The game also features a level editor, which allows you to create your own levels, and share them with other players.

If you like shoot’em ups, especially horizontal shooters, then you’ll love R-Type. Along with Gradius, the franchise is one of the most famous in the genre, with dozens of games on numerous platforms, as well as several strategy-focused spin-offs. Although the original developer Irem passed away a few years ago, the franchise lives on through Granzella, a company founded by former Irem employees. R-Type Final 2 is their first attempt to revive a beloved franchise for many years, and frankly, it’s their best work in decades.

Um… You look familiar…

I was shocked to learn that R-Type Final 2, the sequel to the game developed by Irem and released seventeen years ago, is actually a Kickstarter-funded project. Of course, we see many spiritual successors to classic franchises funded this way, such as Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained. But for a former development team to fund a sequel to a game that came out over a decade ago, with a lot of complicated legal wrangling? This is rare. What’s really impressive about R-Type Final 2 is that it doesn’t feel like a reboot or an entirely new way to introduce the series to newcomers. It’s a celebration of R-Type, with classic ships and enemies spread across brand new levels, and plenty of fan service alongside.

As far as gameplay goes, not much has changed. After choosing from a ridiculous selection of ships, not to mention the staggering amount of unlockable items, you choose a difficulty level and begin the first level, regardless of your previous level of play, in the old-fashioned arcade fashion. The same power balls that were always present in the R-Type games are present here and have the same functionality. They can be used as floating companions or strengthen the hull of your main vessel when they hit the bow or stern. There are new and old power-ups, ranging from simple target-seeking missiles to insane bursts of fire that can destroy every ship and alien in front of you with ease.

This flamethrower is completely out of control. I like it.

R-Type Final 2 was primarily intended to appeal to fans, and thus retained the totally chaotic difficulty that is typical of the franchise. Sure, a few simpler options have been added, but the real R-Type experience depends on the ability to dodge enemy attacks, as you can only ward off blows if you have a power ball attached to your ship. One shot and you’re dead. They also have a limited number of suites, which means the game is not for making friends. It’s always been that way with all other R-Type games, and I have no problem with that. The game never seems overtly unfair. Although the game has you fighting hundreds of aliens at once, you can learn from your mistakes, even though the gameplay is simple: hold down the fire button until you reach the final boss.

The number of unlockable ships is staggering, with dozens of perfectly designed fighters at your disposal, each with different features and attacks. You can unlock them by spending money earned from shopping, using passwords, and reaching certain milestones. I enjoyed this drop system that gradually gave me new gadgets to play with the more I played the game. You can also fully customize their stickers and turn your ship into a disgusting tasting abomination if you want.

You can spend a lot of time configuring your ships. It’s like there’s not enough to do in the main game anyway.

In terms of specifications, the R-Type Final 2 can’t be called exceptional, but it gets the job done. While many of the assets have a characteristic Unreal Engine 4 feel, the game’s strong art style, incredible amount of particle effects and excellent frame rates make the game fascinating. Finally, the soundtrack, which was also one of the franchise’s strengths, is as good as ever. Unfortunately, the sound mix is a bit clunky. There’s a bit of voice acting that seems completely unnecessary for a game where you have to shoot aliens a la Giguera until your fingers fall off.

Sure, it’s not the prettiest game, but it looks good on the road.

R-Type Final 2 is a hidden gem. It’s a love letter to a small but very loyal fan base of an iconic franchise, which is rare these days. It’s not about reviving the series or making it more accessible to newcomers: All it wants to do is celebrate the history of the R-Type series with what we love most: stupid, difficult but addictive gameplay and an incredible amount of unlockable content. It is one of the best, if not the best shoot’em up game available on PS4. So if you’re a fan of the genre, you’d have to be crazy not to buy it.

Even though many of the assets have the distinctive smell of the Unreal Engine 4, R-Type Final 2 is still an attractive game thanks to its strong art style, incredible amount of particle effects and excellent frame rate. Again, the button layout is a bit odd, but the game’s controls are excellent. It’s fast as hell, and all your weapons have a powerful charge.
The soundtrack is excellent, as in most R-Type games, but the sound mix and unconvincing acting are a bit disappointing. Like all of its predecessors, R-Type Final 2 is a silly and intimidating game for the uninitiated, but an absolutely wonderful shooter for the veteran. The number of unlockable items in this game is just overwhelming.
Final decision: 8.5

R-Type Final 2 is already available on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC and Switch.

PS4 Review.

A copy of R-Type Final 2 was provided by the publisher.

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