Steve Huey at AllMusic gave Rising Force four stars out of five, calling it "a revelation upon its release" and "The true inauguration of the age of the guitar shredder." He praised Malmsteen's technique and "blinding virtuosity", as well as highlighting his "obsessions with Bach, Beethoven, and Paganini".
In a 2009 article by Guitar World magazine, Rising Force was ranked first in the all-time top ten list of shred albums. The staff wrote: "Yngwie J. Malmsteen was, is, and always will be the greatest shredder of all time. Hell, he invented the genre with his 1985 debut."
"Black Star" and "Far Beyond the Sun" have endured as two of Malmsteen's most popular songs, as well as being staples of his live setlist. In a 2008 Guitar World interview, Malmsteen said of the two songs: "I'll probably play 'Far Beyond the Sun' and 'Black Star' until the day I die."