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Mini Review: R-Type Final 2 (PS4) – One of the Greatest Shmups Ever Gets a Timely Sequel

Blast the Bydo, again.

When you’re taking time to consider the true greats of the shmup genre, a few names tend to crop up with alarming regularity. Darius. Gradius. Space Invaders, if you’re feeling particularly bookish. However, few shooters have had the same degree of impact that R-Type achieved when it hit arcades way back in 1987. The savvy combination of often grotesque visuals with the iconic Wave Cannon and Force Pod made for a shmup that played and felt totally different to any other – and over the years, a host of sequels have built on that reputation, right the way up to R-Type Final on the PS2, the supposed swansong for the entire franchise (not counting the turn-based R-Type Tactics / Command games on PSP, of course).

The recently-crowdfunded R-Type Final 2 proves that its PS2 predecessor wasn’t quite as final as Irem made out, and serves as the perfect companion piece to its 2003 forerunner. It’s a slow and often methodical affair, with rote memorisation as important as lightning-fast reflexes. The screen is rarely filled with bullets but you’re tasked with using the Force Pod as effectively as possible to shield yourself from incoming threats, while the Wave Cannon should be deployed carefully to ensure you’re never left vulnerable during its multi-stage charge-up time. To complicate matters, you’ll also need to use the speed setting feature (controlled by the left-hand shoulder triggers) to ensure you can navigate the often claustrophobic levels safely.

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