PSP Review: R-Type Tactics

Turning a space shooter into a tactical one is an odd choice, will it work for R-Type?

In a desperate war against the mysterious alien race known as the Bydo, humanity sends wave after wave of fighters into Bydo space – none of which are ever heard from again. Mankind’s main hope now resides with a lone commander, sent to lead a small armada on a perilous mission into the heart of the Bydo Empire. Low on fuel and forced to scavenge resources and equipment from his surroundings, the commander must use all his cunning and wits if he hopes to succeed, let alone make it home alive.

R-Type Tactics for PSP Features:

  • R-Type reborn: The highly acclaimed franchise moves into the strategy genre with exciting tactical gameplay!
  • Control the Bydo forces: For the first time in the series, take command of the Bydo forces as they launch their assault on Earth!
  • Intense strategy gameplay: With nearly 100 different units at your disposal, it’s up to you to choose the best fleet for battle. Upgrade your existing units or purchase new ones!
  • Head-to-head local multiplayer: With the PSP wireless communication feature, play against a friend in Wireless Ad Hoc mode for a one-on-one strategy battle!R-Type is quite a popular space shooter, so why turn it into a tactical strategy game? I have absolutely no idea myself and it seems a very odd path for the series to take, does it work or does it ruin the series?

    Well it hardly ruins it, but it does feel somewhat out of place when compared to the previous titles…but that’s obvious. The game opens up with an impressive cutscene, although it looks nothing like the actual game. I did notice that some of the aliens in R-Type Tactics did look identical to Metroids; I wonder why this was allowed and why Nintendo didn’t sue them silly. Maybe I’m the only one who noticed that in the opening cutscene, seems a little weird though.

    When each stage begins, you can place a number of ships on a grid and move them to the enemy, but it’s turn-based. The enemy is on the other side of the screen, it’s not usually a long way to get to them…and you can sometimes attack from long range, it does seem that units have a lot of health though…you can be attacking one ship for ages until it blows up. You do see a few battle cutscenes as you go, but they can take longer to load then they actually are in length and they aren’t that impressive.

    It all comes down to your own gaming preference, strategy fans will have a great time with R-Type Tactics…but fans of the series will be disappointed by this unexpected change in the franchise. For a game that’s on the PSP, you’d expect the visuals to be somewhat impressive…prepare to be disappointed, all units are 2D but those cutscenes are in 3D and they don’t look that good either. Looking at the way the game works, I’d have thought a DS version would have worked much better and been more fun to play.

    Moving units with the stylus has worked for many DS games, so why not R-Type Tactics? It seems a mistake for it to be on the PSP and I believe it would sell much better on DS, especially considering the rate they are still selling at now. Local multiplayer is included and while it can be fun, it seems like a missed opportunity to lack online play for those who don’t have 2 PSP’s. The soundtrack isn’t too bad, but it’s hardly memorable.

    The Verdict

    R-Type Tactics is a good strategic game for the PSP, but I can’t help feeling that it’s on the wrong system. It’ll be interesting to see what path the series takes from here, if they go for a sequel or go back to the classic gameplay that most crave. Tactics is an odd choice for them to begin with, but it does work and can be fun in small doses.