R Type Final 2 is a trip down memory lane, for me. I first flew an Arrowhead Fighter in the Arcades of 1987. Following it up with the Commodore 64 a while later. After that, we parted company for a number of years. From memory the original was a revelation in the schoolyard, Gieger styled enemies and the enigmatic upgrade ‘The Force’. After growing up on side scrollers like Scramble you had to admit R Type was an epiphany.
Back to the future
Fast forward to 2021, there are far too many R Type games to shake a stick at. It’s been ten years since the last one, what does R Type Final 2 bring to the table? The game basically honours a load of classic levels and adds some new with enemies. The package has over fifty Arrowhead ships to unlock for the obsessives. It also has an unhealthy amount of customisation on hand, ships can be coloured and stencilled. Loadouts can be updated to suit a level and you can edit your pilot, but that doesn’t really affect anything.
Graphically the game is beautiful in its modern day clothes, colours pop and the pseudo 3d levels have depth.
One of the most appealing aspects of R Type back in the eighties was The Force. A floating orb that can be attached to the front or rear of your ship, it focuses weapon upgrades. Shooting different effects depending whether it is attached or detached. The Force when attached is a handy shield and can be flung off to attack enemies physically. R Type Final 2 comes with a myriad of Force options, if you want the canon then go look at the wiki.
Use the Force, be the Force, fling the Force…
Arcade games live and die on their gameplay. R Type Final 2 comes with a handful of difficulty levels which must make a difference, but don’t feel too far apart. This version is standing on the Playstation and Switch, reviewing on the Switch the real estate on the screen felt really limited.
Having spent coins on the Arcade back in the day my rose tinted memories were of an enjoyable shoot em up. It was a game that took me leaps forward from the likes of Scramble. What I didn’t remember was this claustrophobic bullet-hell, which is not something I would baulk at, but today I’m not sure its for me anymore. The game doesn’t give you much room to move. If you miss-time a wave it’s easy to get trapped or exposed with your Force in the wrong place.
This leads to death, often and repeatedly.
Also one of my main concerns, one-shot kills are all too sudden, you don’t even get to see the full animation. The game freezing mid explosion, before throwing you back in again. Often you are left wondering what killed you, amid the chaos on screen.
There are fans who are being happily serviced by R Type Final 2, and props to them. As a gamer with precious time and joyful memories of playing R Type thirty years ago, this is the flash and fancy version I don’t really need. If you’re one of those fans, you’ll already be waiting on the download. So enjoy unlocking all the customisations and experiencing every ship in every level.
R Type Final 2, is a modernised treat for fans of the series. It’s not for the older, slower gamers than get nervous in tight spaces.