Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
August 12, 2020
One of the most successful Early Access titles in recent memory would have to be Risk of Rain 2. The game released onto Steam Early Access alongside PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch back in March of 2019. The game quickly gained a lot of attention as a solid foundation for an amazing sequel. Now, with the game’s 1.0 launch finally arriving, players are able to jump back in to see all the latest updates and advancements of this already content rich game.
A combination of third-person shooting and Roguelike elements, Risk of Rain 2 offers a lively gameplay loop for those ready to take on the challenge. This 1-4 player cooperative game throws players onto a hostile alien planet where they’ll have to face off against swarms of aggressive monsters whilst searching for a teleporter that takes them one step closer to their goal. There’s a collection of heroes that can be unlocked and played, each with their own set of active and passive abilities. The playstyle of each hero is genuinely quite unique and interesting, with the Artificer becoming my go-to for their powerful crowd control and multi-target abilities.
With your hero selected you’ll explore your environment, kill foes, gather gold and upgrades, level up, fight bosses, and become a powerful entity of pure destruction!
Risk of Rain 2 feels like an absolute classic Roguelike title. Each run feels very different, challenging, but always surmountable. The items you obtain throughout any given run can stack in unique and interesting ways with so much potential for amazing synergy. The world around you has randomly generated elements to keep you on your toes, never certain of what’s to come next. A single death will pull you out of your run but it’s very easy to jump straight back in and start a new game.
The game feels incredibly well balanced. Developer Hopoo games have done a remarkable job of keeping the game challenging whilst also making the player feel very powerful. I still consider myself a novice at the game, although I was able to defeat the stage 8 boss on rainstorm (medium) difficulty. That final fight was so enlightening. I had amassed a superb collection of pickups that left me feeling very powerful, although the enemies hit hard and constant movement was paramount to my survival. That final fight was a chaotic yet controlled cluster of raging foes and abilities. Visual effects danced across the screen as I ducked and weaved around the battlefield. Once the health bar of the boss was completely depleted I was able to breathe and take stock on exactly how chaotic, tense, and rewarding Risk of Rain 2 can be.
There’s a huge variety of pickups you can obtain throughout the game with everything gated behind gold. The variety here is superb and the varying stages, bosses, and enemies help make each run feel special. It does take a while to feel like you’re getting a good grip on the game however. With so many items doing so many different things, expect to sink a good handful of hours into the game before you start memorising and understanding what items do what and what items you should try and prioritise.
“There’s definitely a daunting element to Risk of Rain 2… the game won’t be shy to kick your ass for being slow.”
There’s definitely a daunting element to Risk of Rain 2. It works fantastically as a co-op game but if you don’t have somebody there to show you the ropes then you’re going to find some challenges in getting started. Memorising pickups aside, the game also tasks you with playing against the clock. This is an awesome mechanic for veteran players who already know what they’re doing, but newbies are going to feel the pressure. Risk of Rain 2 is all about speed. You’ll need to be constantly moving to avoid enemy attacks and you’ll also want to progress through the stages in a timely manner because the longer you take, the more challenging the game becomes. There’s always a looming time mechanic in the corner of your screen that will show you how you’re progressing through the game’s various difficulty levels. You can’t take this lightly either, because the game won’t be shy to kick your ass for being slow.
Risk of Rain 2 is a game with absolutely no chill. From the second you drop from a capsule and land into the game you’ll be hurriedly killing enemies, dodging attacks, amassing gold, looking for treasure, and attempting to find the portal to take you to the next area. You have to learn to juggle how much time you spend searching for powerups. Not collecting enough treasure will leave you weak, but searching too long for treasure and you’ll be in for a bad time.
There’s definitely an initial hurdle new players will have to leap over before becoming too comfortable with Risk of Rain 2, with the time penalty not really allowing newbies to take their time to learn the ropes. Online multiplayer with strangers has the potential to further exacerbate the problem as your teammates can absolutely leave you in the dust as they power through and nab all the kills and pickups for themselves. Even just the sprint mechanic will take new players some time to get used to, with your sprint breaking every time you jump, attack, or interact. Whilst you definitely get used to how sprinting works in this game, it doesn’t feel immediately intuitive and can instead feels clumsy and cumbersome.
If you’re able to get over that initial difficulty hurdle however then you’ll be in for an absolute blast. The amount of hours you can sink into Risk of Rain 2 is phenomenal and I know for a fact that I’ll be returning to the game long after this review is written. It’s a classic Roguelike experience that is more than capable of sinking its claws into you and encouraging you to give it one more go… over and over again.
- An awesome cooperative experience
- Feels like a classic Roguelike, in the best of ways
- A great variety of content
- Gameplay mostly feels really good
- Can be a mighty challenging game for newcomers
- Some elements could still benefit from fine tuning
Risk of Rain 2 is definitely a content rich experience. The game has ripened and matured throughout the Early Access process and has turned into a co-op game well worth experiencing. Even solo, the Roguelike elements keep things feeling fresh and fun with so much potential for satisfying chaos. Take a bit of time to get over the initial difficulty barrier of this game and you’re set for an incredibly cathartic experience.