R-Type Final 3 Evolved review

by on May 1, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

April 25, 2023


Irem holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but none more so than the R-Type series, which provided gold-standard horizontal thrills in the arcade, and on the first two incarnations of Sony’s PlayStation. Delta is arguably the best horizontal shooter on the PS1, and along with Treasure’s exceptional Gradius V, R-Type Final was a classic PS2 title, that didn’t set review scores alight when first released but has been quite rightly re-appraised and for me has aged like a fine wine. Deeply atmospheric and with a palpable sense of isolation and even melancholy, it would have been a fine place for the series to bow out as originally intended.

Alas, we had not seen the last of the iconic R9 fighter, in 2021 Disaster Report veterans Granzella dropped the amusingly named R-Type Final 2 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Whilst not a patch on the two games that immediately preceded it, it was still a nice looking and competent entry in the franchise and featured design and production work from verterans of the earlier PlayStation titles. The positive feedback spurred the developers to expand their assault on the Bydo empire even further and after an announcement last October, we now have this PS5 exclusive sequel, R-Type Final 3 Evolved, which packs in not only a brand-new campaign but all of the content from RTF2 (allegedly remastered, although it is hard to tell) as well as a bunch of other features, some of which are roadmapped out as future DLC. There is a proposed, and rather unnecessary, VR version of the launch sequence that kicks things off. There are going to be downloadable stages from previous R-Types. There is a hub where you can interact with other players and participate in minigames to earn in-game currency. You can unlock and customise your own ships and weapon loadout, which is cool.

Despite its Unreal Engine 5 clout and the power underneath the hood of the PS5, this doesn’t seem much of a huge step forward from the PS4 game. The core action generally looks lovely and the level design is inspired with a wide range of biomes in which to blast Bydo scum. Rather than go down the traditional route of the opening stage taking place in a desolate sci-fi setting, proceedings begin with a lush tropical island. There are some lovely lighting and particle effects, although the plethora of different enemy projectile types can make things a bit busy at times. There are some cutscenes and introductory vignettes, some of which seem to go on for far too long, and can look muddy, suffer from framerate jitters, and are packed with nonsensical voice acting that attempts to further the non-plot. Thankfully the soundtrack is ace. I particularly loved the compositions with soaring vocal elements which put me in the mind of classic Darius territory.

The fundamental shooting action is rock solid, and vintage R-Type. It is still immensely satisfying to wield the various incarnations of the Force device, and there is a tonne of unlockable alternative spacecraft to unlock all with different varieties of attacks and employable add-ons to tinker with. One-hit kills will decimate any arsenal of weapons you have collected. There are moments when you are left with very little in the way of breathing space and have to carefully manoeuvre your craft to avoid death. And herein lies my main gripe with the game. The movement of your avatar just doesn’t feel quite right to me. I sometimes felt the manoeuvrability was off, and that movement was jerky and not as smooth or responsive as I am used to, perhaps even a little oversensitive. Coupled with the slow and deliberate scrolling rate, it doesn’t make for a fun experience and had me hankering for a crack at the original PS2 game which did things so much better.

R-Type Final 3 Evolved is still a decent shooter, which many will enjoy, and has a lot of replay value and unlockable content, however, it lacks the finesse and stark beauty of the titles that inspired it, and you can probably find much more dynamic and intuitive titles that do this sort of thing much better.


Looks nice, and has a great soundtrack
Lots of content
Some nice level design


Poor cutscenes
Odd spacecraft movement
Very difficult

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

R-Type Final 3 Evolved is a decent shooter, which many will enjoy, but it lacks the finesse and stark beauty of the titles that inspired it.