R-Type 2 Final - XB1 Review

R-Type 2 Final
by developer Granzella Inc. and publisher NIS America Inc.Microsoft Xbox One review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

It’s been a long time since we saw a new R-Type game released, despite being one of the great series in the genre. This latest iteration in the series doubles down on the things that have made the series so great over the years, which should please hardcore fans of the series and genre. It’s not perfect, but R-Type Final 2 is still very good.

R-Type is one of those franchises I will always have fond memories of. I still remember the original game and some of its crazy boss fights. So to say I came into this title with a potent case of nostalgia is a safe bet. The good news is, R-Type Final 2 pretty much hit most of the expectations I had for it, even if it did not offer much in the way of surprises.

The first thing to understand about the R-Type games, and it holds true in this release as well, is that it is a shooter – but not exactly a bullet hell one. There is a greater emphasis on memorization than reflexes to be successful. There is plenty happening on the screen, but it seldom reaches the insanity of shooters that paint you into one of two or three one-inch spaces of safety on the screen amidst waves of projectiles. Enemies move relatively slowly, and their numbers and gunfire seldom overwhelms – but you still have to be quite careful. This is one-hit-and-you-die territory, not a life bar that provides room for error like in many others in the genre.

Instead of fast-flying debris to contend with, R-Type Final 2 focuses on more persistent threats. Objects or enemies that take multiple shots to kill and environments that have a knack for cramming you into narrow, claustrophobic spaces provide plenty of challenge, despite the somewhat slower pacing of R-Type. Like most shoot –‘em-up games, you earn power-ups as you play that help to even the odds.

Bouncing lasers, wide rings of energy, homing missiles and more factor into your ability to take out enemies that are not directly in front of you, but still a threat. These come in very handy when you are flying through some of the narrow passageways and have enemies at ground level just waiting for you to emerge. It never feels cheap – but it does require that you start to memorize patterns to lean from your mistakes. There are not just the power-ups, but there is your primary weapon which has some flexibility to it as well. You can charge it up – hitting different ‘points’ of power. It’s tempting just to hold down the rapid fire button, and that’s good enough for the average enemies, but those charged shots are a huge help against enemies that take multiple hits – especially bosses.

Part of learning the lay of the land is in how to make best use of your companion pod, as it can help deal additional damage, shoot enemies that might not be horizontal to you, or used as a sort of barrier to prevent your ship from taking a critical hit that has you dying. Like the older games in the series, you don’t spawn right where you died – you go back a bit. That can be particularly frustrating in boss fights, as it makes you learn how to be perfect in besting them.

You can’t just mess up, take a hit and respawn with a few frames of invincibility that allows you to get some cheap hits in. Despite the slightly slower pace - R-Type Final 2 is not an easy shooter. Checkpoints can be a bit rough, especially when you don’t always have the opportunity to replace your lost power-ups, making it even harder to survive the spot where you just died. The game feels unapologetically old-school in this regard, for better and for worse.

In terms of the presentation, it’s more good than not. The music is generally peppy and fits the action nicely enough, with the requisite sound effects as you blast away enemies. Visually, it’s the best-looking game in the series, but is not the flashiest shooter out there either. I’ve always enjoyed the use of bright colors and creative enemies though – especially the often distinctive-looking bosses.

In terms of overall replay value, the biggest hook are the numerous ships and weapons configurations that can be unlocked. There’s about a hundred ships – so there’s plenty to unlock along the way, and those who enjoy collecting / unlocking will have a lot of content here. There is also a Score Attack mode, though it doesn’t really offer anything all that compelling above and beyond the core campaign.


R-Type Final 2 wears its classic shoot-‘em-up trappings on its sleeve. This was a game funded by fans of the series, and they should be happy with what’s here as R-Type Final 2 absolutely feels like a part of the venerable series. It may not be the most approachable game though, for those who don’t have nostalgic love for the series or sometimes find the genre inaccessible. There are different difficulty settings, but on any level – you will die a lot as it really does boil down to your persistence and your willingness to memorize the stages.

Score: 7.5 / 10




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