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Aug 22, 2023

We all bought a PlayStation 5 a few years back expecting for the new console to be an actual new generation in gaming, one that would push gaming forward with hardware specs and titles that had never been possible before. With the exception of just a few games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal, we still haven’t seen these PS5 exclusives, these games only available on the system and nowhere else, not worried about cross-gen parities or anything like that. Weirdly enough, R-Type Final 3 Evolved is supposedly one of these games. A full-fledged PS5 exclusive. Not even a PC port. A game touted to take advantage of this vastly superior machine’s capabilities. That, coupled with the fact I just love a good shoot ’em up, piqued my curiosity.

As cool as this enemy design is, this isn’t exactly a jaw-dropping graphical showcase for the PlayStation 5.

R-Type Final 3 Evolved weirded me out even before I booted it up. For reasons beyond explanation, the game’s background image on the PS5’s main menu is literally, and I do mean LITERALLY, the same as its PS4 predecessor, R-Type Final 2. Was that an honest mistake? Was the game just an update on a previous PS4 title? Things improved upon actually booting it up and realizing that yes, this is a sequel to Final 2. But that also made me a bit worried, as if I wasn’t supposed to expect a lot of improvements over that game.

Upon booting R-Type Final 3 Evolved up, I was greeted with the same degree of presentation seen in its predecessor. A lengthy cutscene detailing R-Type‘s convoluted and pointless plot. Voice acting best described as “done with enthusiasm”. Obnoxiously loud sound mixing. A very similar UI and overall graphical style. In fact, way too similar. The more I played the game, the more I realized: this is just more R-Type Final 2.

The first boss. You have three square inches of real estate to move your ship around. One hit, and you’re dead. Have fun!

Visually speaking, it barely feels like an improvement over its predecessor, which was a neat-looking game, sure, but not something that would be downright impressive for a PS4 game. This, on the other hand, is a PS5 game. A PS5 exclusive, mind you. Weirdly enough, R-Type Final 3 Evolved features more instances of framerate hiccups than its predecessor, despite having access to vastly superior hardware and horsepower. It doesn’t affect the gameplay that much, as R-Type isn’t exactly the kind of shooter where the screen gets filled to the brim with enemies and bullets to avoid, but it does feel like a very slight depreciation of what its predecessor achieved.

Therefore, at the end of the day, R-Type Final 3 Evolved felt less like a sequel and more like an expansion with new maps and enemies to defeat. The weird thing is that this isn’t, by and large, a bad thing. R-Type Final 3 Evolved is still a very good shooter, and being a microscopically worse version than R-Type Final 2 still means you’re a damn good shooter. I had a good time with it, despite its issues. There’s still a lot of content and impressive production values, especially when compared to most low-budget shooters in the market. But still less surprising and impressive than what R-Type Final 2 achieved a few years ago, especially when you consider the fact that game was a Kickstarter project with a more limited budget.

Cutscenes feature lots of framerate issues.

In the grand echelon of modern bullet hell shooters, R-Type Final 3 Evolved is still one of the most advanced and featured-filled games available right now, but as a game only available on the PS5, supposedly taking advantage of what that hardware has to offer? Yeah, I don’t see the point. It’s barely better performing than its predecessor, sometimes featuring framerate hiccups not even R-Type Final 2 had. I don’t see why this wasn’t a cross-gen title, since its exclusivity will do nothing but hinder its sales. It’s still a good shooter, don’t get me wrong, but I expected more from it. This isn’t what I expect from the next generation of the genre.

Graphics: 7.0

For a so-called PS5 exclusive, it barely looks better than R-Type Final 2. Not terrible by any means, but it doesn’t justify its exclusivity.

Gameplay: 8.5

Plays just like its predecessor, with a bizarre button placement but stupidly responsive and fluid controls. With that being said, it’s prone to the occasional framerate hiccup.

Sound: 8.0

It also follows its predecessor: good music, underwhelming voice acting, stupidly loud sound mixing.

Fun Factor: 7.5

It feels less polished than its predecessor despite being a PS5 exclusive. It’s still a really fun shoot ’em up, but I honestly feel R-Type Final 2 was much, much better.

R-Type Final 3 Evolved is available now on PS5.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of R-Type Final 3 Evolved was provided by the publisher.