Let’s just skip the recap because you can go back and read my initial impressions for that, and get right to the point. R-Type Command is the most addictive and enjoyable strategy game I’ve ever played. Part of what makes it so great is that it cuts out all the tired cliches and gets you right into the action. There are no unconvincing A.I. characters to send you on frivolous side quests. There’s no overarching philosophy that the game uses to make itself seem intellectual. There’s no intricate system of item and weapon alchemy that you have to master in order to succeed.
It’s simply select your ships, try your best, read a couple paragraphs about your success, and repeat. The game has a few more intricacies than that like scouring for resources during battles and keeping a lazy eye on which units need to beef up their skill rating, but it’s essentially strategy, streamlined. This streamlining does take some of the edge off of the game’s challenge but the shear number and length of missions kept me playing for months. And it wasn’t simply a grind-a-thon either.
Each map presents a unique challenge whether playing as the Humans or Bydo. Several missions require a delicate strategy to balance the limited number of turns with your limited number of ships. Things get so tense at times that I frequently broke a sweat as units were picked off and the enemy battleship drew closer. All of this happening at a blistering minutes-long, turn-based speed.
Capping each mission is just a wee little bit of text in the form of your character’s diary entries Captain’s Log, the culmination of which has forever changed the way I think about R-Type games. It’s really beautiful in its simplicity and the promise of a revelation kept me hurtling through the menu screen to get into the next hour-long skirmish.
Sadly though, I’m finished. Unlike other games that I whittle away at just to reach the ending, I could keep playing R-Type Command seemingly indefinitely. The final mission was a great climax and an epic battle but even after three months of playing I wish it could go on and on. And that’s why I have to recommend that anyone who still owns a PSP at least check out the demo. I’m not a hardcore strategy fan or even a hardcore R-Type fan and I was sucked into the most rewarding experience I’ve paid for in years. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to load up R-Type Final and whimper every time I kill another Bydo.