Available exclusively on PS5, R-Type Final 3 Evolved is a bit deceptive.
You see, while its name suggests that this is a brand new entry in the R-Type Final series, and perhaps even an improved one at that, it’s actually more of a remaster. Utilising the power of Unreal Engine 5, R-Type Final 3 Evolved is basically R-Type Final 2 with the addition of extra stages. And so, whatever your thoughts are on that title, they’ll likely apply here, too.
Unfortunately, our thoughts were mixed on R-Type Final 2. While we were glad that it brought the classic series back into the fold and provided us with snazzy visuals, we didn’t like that it wasn’t particularly welcoming to newcomers. There’s also the fact that there’s been an abundance of great new shooters released in the last decade, many of which are simply faster and more exciting. But still, for veterans of the genre and die-hard series fans, R-Type Final 2 did admittedly have a lot to offer.
So, what’s new in R-Type Final 3 Evolved? Well, the visuals have been given a noticeable upgrade for one. Thanks to Unreal Engine 5, this might just be the most visually stunning shoot ’em up available right now. It really does look rather special, with crisp, detailed textures and sumptuous lighting. It’s a treat for the eyes. But impressive graphics don’t make a game – it also needs excellent gameplay and plenty of content.
R-Type Final 3 Evolved has those, but it also has its fair share of issues and a hefty price. Alongside the original R-Type Final 2 stages, for example, it also offers seven all-new stages for players to make their way through. At launch, the first Stage Pass for the game will be free to download, too. While much of the content may be familiar to those who have played R-Type Final 2, then, at least there’s plenty of it.
It’s just a shame that nothing has been done to make playing R-Type Final 3 Evolved more exciting or accessible to newcomers. Its menus are still unintuitive to navigate, for example, hiding some of the game’s features. You might not realise there are loads of alternative ships to unlock unless you go digging around, and make sense of the game’s multiple currencies. It just doesn’t explain some things very well. Or at all.
It’s the gameplay that will make or break R-Type Final 3 Evolved for players, though. For those familiar with the series it’s business as usual: you fly through stages, blasting pretty much anything that moves. And making things unique here is a “bit” that you have limited control of. Detach it from your ship and you can re-attach to fire backwards if you wish. You can also use it to destroy enemy bullets and more in order to charge up a devastating special attack.
In the long-term, fun can be found trying to push for high scores, as well as unlocking the many ships available. Even better, these ships have their own loadouts, making them not only unique to look at, but also take control of. The trouble is, some just won’t find R-Type Final 3 Evolved all that exciting to play. And some just might get overly frustrated by it.
As shoot ’em ups go, the scrolling speed is slow, and just being hit once is enough to make you lose a life. On top of that, you’ll be taken back to a checkpoint each time you die, making you replay tricky sections over and over again until you succeed. Run out of credits and it’s game over for good. Though thankfully, the number of credits available increases over time.
Like R-Type Final 2 before it, R-Type Final 3 Evolved is a game that some will likely adore. In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s not the pinnacle of the shoot ’em up genre that it once would have been. Those who already own R-Type Final 2 might feel like this should have been offered as an upgrade rather than an updated re-release parading as a sequel. And while the visuals have been spruced up and more content has been added, notable core issues haven’t been addressed to create more widespread appeal.