It was 1987 when an arcade side-scrolling shooter took the world by storm. It was (of course) R-Type, the original, a game about piloting cool spaceships and killing evil biological weapons called Bydo. In the past 3 decades, the R-Type franchise got several new main entries and a couple of spin-off and console ports. The most notable is probably R-Type Final, the one they called "the last" R-Type game, released in 2004 (2003 in Japan) for the PlayStation 2. But if that had really been "the last one" we wouldn't be here, would we?
A Reason to Love the Eighties
In the eighties and early nineties, side-scrolling shooter games were the norm. Most of them were inspired by sci-fi movies, and it's safe to say that R-Type is a beast full of references to other fictional stories, but the lore is not enough if you're aiming for a successful video game. R-Type had something else. Both the graphics and sound effects were over the top, with colorful explosions after every encounter and lightning beams coming out of your spaceship to kill whatever dares to be near you.
Another reason for R-Type's success was its difficulty. Other than just giving you hordes of repetitive enemies to fight against, in R-Type you'd be thrown in the middle of frantic battles against gigantic monsters that would come at you and force a perfect choreography to dodge and strike back.
A Genre Out of Place
As you can tell, describing the essence of R-Type is talking about a genre that seems to not exist anymore—if it wasn't for remakes and sequels to 30-years-old titles most of us didn't play when they first came out. However, R-Type is still around, and R-Type Final 2 shows that the genre is alive and kicking, with sooo much to offer if they really want to put their love into a rather obsolete formula.
There's something in these archaic mechanics that feels nostalgic and, at the same time, extremely fresh. Charging your special laser beam, shooting at floating items that grant you new, upgraded weapons, deciding in a split second if it's better to destroy something or just try to avoid it... nothing new about it, but it still works. That being said, how many non-platforming games use side-scrolling environments? How many popular new IPs can you name?
If it wasn't for the flashy graphics and 3D models, one could say R-Type Final 2 is just a direct continuation to the old R-Type titles. It feels incredibly nice to play it, yet it feels like playing a game that came out 3 decades ago. Weird, but impactful. On top of that, there are no infinite credits or cheap tricks to make your life easier; you either get good or become friends with the idea of playing in "Kids" difficulty!
If This Is Your Idea of a Sequel, Keep ‘Em Coming!
Even the devs tried to kill it, but R-Type Final 2 proves we need more games, and the Bydo saga is far from being over. After all, we got used to playing a game that's called Final Fantasy, so we could easily forget about how silly it sounds to continue adding numbers to R-Type Final.
Right now, the market is full of old JRPG revivals with old-fashioned gameplay mechanics that don't work anymore and weird-looking pseudo-3D textures. R-Type Final 2 is different—yeah, it's not an RPG—because although it respects its own essence, it also shows the devs care about how it looks and how it feels. Okay, some cutscenes really look out of place, but we can ignore that given how good the gameplay is.
With actually revamped graphics, fantastic sound effects, hardcore mechanics, and a new excuse to kill the Bydo, R-Type Final 2 is a worthy sequel to a saga we all thought was dead. We don't know about you, but we're ready for R-Type Final 3!
Although short, this is not an easy game, so prepare yourself beforehand! Will you be improving your skills, or will you learn to deal with frustration and shame? If you want to give R-Type 2 a try, remember it's already available on PC, Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.