R-Type Command Reviewed
R-Type has always been famous for being a side-scrolling space shooter that focuses on plowing through endless hordes of aliens and other-worldly abominations with your lone (though extremely wel-armed) spaceship. R-Type Command however changes all of that by turning the side-scrolling formula into a turn-based chess game with you as the commander of an entire fleet of cruisers, bombers, fighters and the like. Though it's a rather big change from the traditional game play, the essence of R-Type has all but dwindled.
The gameplay, as stated earlier, is now turn-based and this change alone may be enough to disappoint fans and newcomers to the series. But trust me, the gameplay (though not so much the story) is still as exciting as ever.
Commanding a fleet of over 50 ships against an enemy with twice as many numbers is a daunting task. Unlike other R-Type games, which focuses on mashing the same button over and over again in order to fire a steady stream of bullets, beams and lasers, R-Type Command demands a well thought out battle plan of ship placement, movement, number and variety of ships, as well as attack and defence strategies especially when it come to defending your flagship (Flagship destroyed = GAME OVER dude). It may seem complicated at first but it gets really fun and rewarding when you get the hang of it. Hit hard, and hit fast.
The AI of the enemy is also quite formidable; often targeting the most vulnerable or the ship which the enemy considers as the biggest threat. Just when you thought you could fire your battleship's charged shot during your next turn, a lone laser shot lands and forces you to charge all over again (w/c will take around 4-5 turns). Because of this, the game can get quite difficult and some stages demand some serious thought and planning.
What makes the game more difficult is the fact that you have to assign pilots to your ships. You can buy as many ships as you like, but you can NEVER buy the pilots to fly them. Pilots are instead unlocked and join your fleet as the game progresses. With that said, getting the right balance of the many different kinds/classes of ships is absolutely crucial to achieving victory especially in the early to mid stages of the game where you can never hope to outnumber your opponent. Buying only the best kind of ships available at the time won't work either because not only do all the ships have their own weaknesses, but each kind ship has a unique capability and armament that are effective only against certain classes of enemy ships.
With over 40 different ships at your disposal and hordes upon hordes of aliens (called the "Bydo") who will stop at nothing to crush your fleet, R-Type Command is a game you won't be putting down any time soon. It brings something new and innovative to the R-Type series that, in my opinion, is a welcome change to the age-old formula of side-scrolling, alien bashing. It's time to stop mashing the attack button and start using your head!
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