Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype

Final Prototripe

Soldner-X 2 checks out of Bullet Hell and into Bullet Heck...
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: June 23, 2010
Let's make one thing clear right straight away, ok? Aging reviewer reflexes might not combine all that nicely with a "Bullet Hell" shooter, and despite Soldner-X 2 : Final Prototype being pretty tame in the side-scrolling shooter genre, it still features some fairly frenetic action that might be a bit much for someone who thinks that the conversation choices in Heavy Rain are somewhat stress inducing.


Right off the bat, you can see that Soldner-X 2 shines in the graphics department. The HD backgrounds and sprites look absolutely amazing, and even when there is a LOT going on in the game, the frame rate locks in nicely and you can find yourself admiring the visuals. Which of course you don't have time to do, since if you spend too long not shooting and avoiding being shot, you die pretty quick. I'd tell you the thrilling back story of the Soldner-X universe, and why it is so important this final prototype be put into battle before they apparently roll out the production models, but I didn't pay any attention to that at all. Just know there is some semblance of a story here (in the same way Mortal Kombat had a story that was delivered in a few screens of text in the attract screen at the arcades).

Gameplay features nothing revolutionary, although there are the usual variety of power-ups and somewhat underwhelming boss fights that feel a little bland. One nice feature (for folks like me who are getting a little long in the tooth) is that the game scales difficulty on the fly based on your play. If it thinks you can handle bullets being spammed at you faster than websites trying to sell me C!al1s or v1@gr@, well then it doesn't hesitate to fill the screen with glowing orbs of doom. Die (or at least get hit, since this game actually has a health bar rather than one-shot kills) enough times, and suddenly things tame quite a bit, and you find yourself being able to zoom around the screen safely. There is a nice system of achievements and awards that unlock as you progress, offering bonuses for surviving levels without dying, and going as long as you can without shooting. These do add a little replay value to a fairly short and repetitive game. There are 7 levels total, although the last two will be locked until you complete certain challenges, which is both a boon and a frustration, depending on your skill level and patience.

If you love breaking yourself on the Touhou games or anything by Treasure, then you likely will find this game to be a walk in the park. If you love UN Squadron and find the challenge level of that to be right up your alley, then Soldner-X 2 is calling your name. If you only like your shooters vertical scrolling, well stay away because this is old school side-scrolling goodness. If you don't care about the genre at all, well then stay far away because this game is a pretty rote example of what they offer with little innovation but some pretty graphics.
The Verdict
7.5

Fun, but ultimately unrewarding, Soldner-X 2 brings a gorgeous looking side-scrolling shooter to the PSN, but they forgot to bring the innovation along with it. Definitely worth checking out if you need a fix though.

9.0Graphics:

The graphics look fabulous, and the particle effects are stunning. Easily the high point of the game, although the boss design makes you wonder why they didn't put more effort in there.

7.0Sound:

Sounds find, and the score was decent if not particularly memorable. I found the weapon sounds to have a nice punch to them.

8.0Control:

Move around, fire, shoot superweapon. The controls work exactly as you would expect them to. The game is pretty simple, damn it!

6.0Gameplay:

Sure it looks nice, but all you do is shoot shit, pick up powerups, and shoot more shit while picking a path through the bullets. Nothing here will wow you, although the tool-tips system is pretty nice.