R-Type Final 2 Will Test Your Patience – My Review

The R-Type Final 2 title screen

It’s hard to describe my experience with R-Type Final 2 in one word. For the first hour or two of playing the game, I was absolutely frustrated with it. But, from hour three and on, I was still frustrated but I could start to see its charm. If you’ve never played a Shoot ‘em up (shmup), this isn’t the one to start with. Heck, if you’re not familiar with the R-Type formula, you might want to stay away. But, there is something there that kept me playing.

How do I fly this thing?

An R-Type ship firing at asteroids

R-Type is a long-running series of shooters, but this is the first game in over a decade. For a game that will most certainly be a first for a lot of people, it does a poor job of getting you familiar with its gameplay. This might be your standard horizontal shooter, but there are so many aspects of the gameplay that aren’t explained properly. Because of that, you can quickly see the Game Over screen.

There isn’t much of a story to speak about, but you’re commanding a space fighter as you’ll travel through various locales shooting as many foes as you can. While you’re trying to destroy the opposition, you’re also trying your hardest to avoid getting hit. You don’t have a shield, so the first time you get hit by an enemy or touch an object you’re not supposed to, you will die.

The game doesn’t give you any sort of tutorial, to teach you about the controls. There is quite a bit to learn, including understanding the Force pod that accompanies your ship or the special weapons you have in your arsenal. You have to dig through the game’s manual to learn how to properly use these stuff. 

A sample of the R-Type R Manual, showing the Force

The Force pod is a sphere that you can fire from your ship or connect to the front or back of it. This serves as an assisting firing option for you. When you collect power-ups, it can do different attacks. At the same time, when it takes fire or interacts with enemies, a Dose meter fills up. Once that reaches 100%, you can unleash a massive attack that does significant damage to all enemies on the screen. It takes a bit of time to fill up the Dose meter, so you won’t have too many opportunities to use it.

Get ready to die…a lot

Again, none of this is actually explained to you in-game. The developers didn’t bother including an intro-mission that could serve as a tutorial. The first mission could have been optional, but it certainly would have better prepare me for what I was about to experience. Instead, I simply had to die and learn through experience.

The game has difficulty settings but the noticeable difference between them appears to be that you get more credits to use the easier ones. Sure, you can play the game on “Practice” mode, but you still die from a single hit. Thankfully though, when you do die, you don’t have to restart the mission from the start and you don’t lose any of the Dose progress you were making. 

The R-Type ship firing in an underground, water-like environment

There is no shield option that I could find. As you play the game, you collect various resources that you can use to unlock new ships. Perhaps there are ships later in the game that is impenetrable to damage. While the ability to unlock new ships gives you a reason to replay the game multiple times, I’m not sure how many people will unlock all the possible ships.

Back for more

But with all the frustration I was having with R-Type Final 2, I couldn’t stop playing. I would die over and over, I still wanted to keep going, determined to see the credits roll. It took me some time to get through the first four missions. However, once I started to get more comfortable with what I needed to do, I was able to complete them with only a few deaths (but still on the game’s easiest difficulty). 

However, the last three missions are all over the place. At the tail-end of the fifth mission, there is a point where you select an orb and that dictates the next two missions you’ll play. Based on the mission select screen, there are three possible options for missions 6 and 7. I haven’t been able to unlock all of them, but the ones I have played are wildly different from each other.

An R-Type ship in a post-level cutscene

I really wish R-Type Final 2 was more newbie-friendly. Games like this are so uncommon and what got me so interested in this one was that it was a new shoot ‘em up from a notable franchise. I’m not sure how much more I’ll play and it’s tough for me to recommend this to anyone outside of the absolute hardcore shooter fans.

Note: a code of the game was provided to me by the Publisher.

If you liked what you read here, why not check out my other game reviews