R-Type Final 3 Evolved (PlayStation 5)

R-Type Final was supposed to be the final mainline game in the series, released all the way back on PlayStation 2, before a sequel was surprisingly released just a couple of years ago. Now we have a third iteration, this time a PlayStation 5 exclusive ‘evolved’ version, that looks to expand on previous offerings. Worth returning to the cockpit? Lets take a look

As expected of a shmup there isn’t really a story to follow, sure it has a story and there’s some cutscenes, but its not something that comes to the fore or will engage you as is the norm for these type of games. Instead its all about gameplay & content. The game packs in R-Type Final 2 alongside this evolved third iteration, with additional spin-off stages also available that gives plenty to play through. These new exclusive stages, designed by Kazuma Kujo, should be quite the highlight for series fans.

Not only that, the first stage DLC is currently being offered for free (there are also more paid collections) so there’s more available to play beyond what comes with the game. As a side note, If you haven’t had Final 2 installed for a while then you may want to install again as some of this content will come in a future update that pretty much changes Final 2 into Final 3 – though this ‘Evolved’ version sporting all the new content is only available for the PS5.

Upgraded to Unreal Engine 5, the latest R-Type sure looks slick & punchy on the PS5. There’s more detail than I expected for a fully 3D shmup, each ship has its own unique flavour visually, and the backdrops can look busy enough without being overbearing. This is all also helped by good use of dynamic lighting which can have enclosed areas dancing in all manner of colours once the shooting starts.

The audio perfectly compliments the action with a soundscape indicative of the series and a punchy electronic soundtrack to back up the action. All that action doesn’t hinder performance much either, the game looks to be a rock solid 4K/60 for the most part with its crisp visuals and only the odd hiccup in frantic moments you may not notice. I guess the only stickler, for me anyway, is the lack of a 120Hz mode that would have some benefit for this kind of genre that relies on reaction speeds as much as anything.

R-Type is a legendary series that’s been around for decades now, so it plays out exactly as you would expect – you don’t fix what isn’t broken after all. The horizontal shmup gameplay is pretty much the same as the previous Final 2, not much of a surprise given how recent that released. Luckily the experience remains true to the core fundamentals of the R-Type experience, with a focus on defeating enemy waves, navigating environmental traps, narrowing paths etc and collecting powerups to boost your output while avoiding fire to keep your ship powered up. Irrespective of difficulty the game is still one-hit deaths which can frustrate as it sends you back powered down, but it’s generally never a cheap death, just the intensity can really ramp up during enclosed boss battles and swarms which may leave newcomers feeling helpless – veterans will revel in it.

What will no doubt keep you coming back, outside of bettering your friends scores of course, would be the variety on offer. There’s plenty of different ships to unlock with their own visual flair, each with their own firing style and charged abilities too, as well as parts to make use of in the museum. Not only that but these can also be customised further with some parts and a lick of paint, with the customisations sticking when you change ship and decide to customise another. There’s supposed to be a VR mode on the way, as well as the included online avatar hub to be fleshed out more, so there’s still more gameplay enhancements to come in future updates.

R-Type Final 3 Evolved has the content over its previous iteration, as well as some flashier visuals and features, but in reality it feels more like an R-Type Final 2.5 than a fully fledged sequel given how similar it ends up being outside of those new additions. There’s certainly enough here to entice series veterans, but the more casual player may not show as much interest given upcoming update to Final 2, which kind of leaves this unsurprisingly slick R-Type release in a bit of a precarious position as a single console exclusive.



Has some enticing features and content for fans, so long as they have a PS5

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Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.

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