R-Type Final 3: Evolved Review

R-Type Final 3: Evolved by developer Granzella and publisher NIS AmericaSony PlayStation 5 review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

R-Type Final 3: Evolved takes us back to a classic horizontal shoot-‘em-up series. Whether or not this is the ‘final’ iteration or not is probably unknown at this point, but I can say it is a good entry into one of the long-running franchise.

The original R-type is a pretty old game – it released in the mid-80’s. For those who don’t recall the history here, it was actually the last arcade game that Nintendo ever released. Ironically, when it came to console during the 8-bit era, it landed on the Sega Master System – not the Nintendo Entertainment System. Why is that important? It’s probably not to most people, but as someone who had a Nintendo almost right out of the gates and had to wait a couple of years to get his hands on a Sega, the original R-Type was one of those well-reviewed, awesome-looking games that I wanted to get my hands on for some time.

Once I finally did? It did not disappoint. The most popular image from that game had a creature that looked like it came from the movie Alien, but with more of an orange and brown hue than the movie creatures. While R-Type was certainly a very challenging game, it was very rewarding and a lot of fun for me.

This image from the original R-Type is forever seared into my mind now

More than three decades later. R-Type Final 3: Evolved brings a lot of those same qualities that the series became known for, but with more bells and whistles. Some of them work better than others, but on the whole fans of the genre should find a great deal to enjoy here. The R-Type series certainly makes demands upon your reflexes, but it was never quite as quick-twitch as some other contemporaries. There’s always been a heavy emphasis on learning and understanding patterns, especially during stages where you are navigating obstacles or dealing with boss fights where they occupy a large amount of screen space, forcing you to hover and fight in cramped quarters.

R-Type Final 3: Evolved is a tough game. If anything, that has always been one of the hallmarks of the series, and that holds true with this release as well. Of course, as the name would indicate, it has evolved with the times a bit. For one, you have a lot of different types of ships and powers you can choose from. This release is more of an upgrade to R-Type Final 2  - you could almost argue this is a 2.5 version given the many re-used levels and how your prior unlocks from that game carry over. The naming convention here is sort of amusing – like a Capcom Street Fighter game with it’s hyper-ultra-super-flashy-pro-edition. All jokes aside however, the seven new levels in this release are most certainly welcome. They add some excellent visual variety and some new challenges in navigating the landscape.

It's worth noting that as of when I played and wrote this review, there were some online options, with a place where you can see other ships or a sort of ‘home’ space for yourself with some yet-to-be-released multiplayer options that have been proposed, but not fully baked as of yet. These types of features could offer a bit of separation in a genre that doesn’t traditionally have an interactive community, but it’s not really fleshed out at this point.

However, the content that is found in R-Type Final 3: Evolved is well done. Series creator Kazuma Kujo helped to design these seven new stages for this release, and generally look and feel more interesting that the holdovers from the prior game. Visually things look fluid, there has always been a great use of color in the series, but that can almost be a distraction at times. There’s often a lot happening on the screen, and various particle effects and bright bits of background can kind of obscure obstacles best to be avoided and in a game that is already pretty unforgiving, leads to a some cheap deaths that certainly left me feeling a bit frustrated.


For those willing to take on the challenge, there’s a lot to like about R-Type Final 3: Evolved. It’s interesting to look back at how the series started, and it helps me to appreciate where it’s gone. I will always have a soft spot for the R-Type games, and this one is no different. There is a lot of content here between unlockable ships and levels, though some of them are just rehashes of a release that came prior. The new stuff however, is thoroughly enjoyable. Fans of the shmup genre will find a very good game worth playing here.

Score: 7 / 10



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