There was once a time when shooters were the big thing in games. That’s because back in the olden times, arcades were spicy stuff and shooters were a great way to suck quarters out of unsuspecting patrons’ pockets. Plenty of legendary game series originated back then, from Gradius to Raiden, and there’s a fair amount of nostalgia for those days that shows up in modern releases.
R-Type Final 2 is one of those games that remembers the glory days of what once was and hopes to harness that classic feel all over again. That’s a noble ambition, and I’m happy to report the game is actually pretty successful at doing just that.
The evil Bydo empire is attacking yet again! It’s up to you, the pilot of one of the R-series fighter ships, to take the fight to this viral menace and bring it down before the entire universe is converted into Bydo goop. That’s…basically the plot of most of these games. Final 2 sticks to its guns in terms of being an R-Type game, as we’ll see.
The big selling point for both this and the original R-Type Final (nearly 20 years old now) is the absurd number of different customizable ships available for unlock and use. You’ve got the ships from all the other R-Type games, ships from the first Final, new ships unique to this game…ships galore. It’s a little absurd, really, and you can even adjust the ships’ gear to suit your needs.
Each ship has a specific Force ball as well as different missiles, bits and special weapons. This means you’ve got numerous different playstyles to check out as you go through the vast web of ships, unlocking them as you progress via collectible resources.
Having so many ships available might be a little overwhelming! There’s tons of different ways to play, after all. It’s good that you can keep a roster of different favorites available and switch between them as you proceed from stage to stage. Having the right ship for the right stage can be a huge boon, after all.
That’s great, but what is it like to play? R-Type Final 2 is true to its home series, so it’s a horizontal-scrolling shooter focusing on the proper use of the remote-controlled Force ball. It also leans hard into the classic shooter genre as one would expect. By that I mean it’s tough as nails – you’ll die, die and die again. You’ll even die a bit more than you’d expect because when you respawn your ship is fully depowered, forcing you to scrape by with the basic shot and whatever scraps the game feels inclined to throw at you.
Sure, you’ve got plenty of ships to choose from, but each is subject to the great equalizer: the crappy starting gun. Expect to get well-acquainted with it. It just might save your life.
Isn’t that why you’re here, though? It’s not like games like this comes out often these days, after all. R-Type Final 2’s gameplay and level design both hearken back to a forgotten era. You’ve got your spooky abandoned labs, your giant battleships, your impressive bosses, everything you’ve come to know and adore from this series is present and accounted for. You can expect to see all of it plenty of times, too, as you die constantly and restart or, as you become a bit more of a shooting god, replay the game to check out alternate paths and see new endings.
One significant thing about this series is the way it’s been used time and time again as a showcase of presentation power. Who doesn’t remember the SNES’ Super R-Type, for instance, a launch game made to demonstrate some of the most impressive graphics of 1991 (and some of the worst slowdown)? Naturally, we’ve come to expect some solid aesthetics from R-Type and that’s what we’re getting with Final 2.
It’s still a very stylized game, one spawned from a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign, so don’t expect the same level of fidelity as some of the harder-hitting PS5 games or such. But everything looks and sounds great and the game will happily run on a potato.
Between the vast array of ships to collect and its impressive presentation, R-Type Final 2 gives you plenty of reasons to persist. The addictive nature of the new playstyles offered by each ship establishes plenty of replay value, to say nothing of the multiple routes available to the end of the game. As they say, they really don’t make ’em like they used to…except when they do, as in this case. If you can think back to the arcade, the SNES, Genesis, the TG-16 or even the PlayStation 2 and fondly remember R-Type, R-Type Final 2 will make for a blast right back to the past.