Early Access- Risk of Rain 2

On a mysterious planet with nothing but the basics and the goal is to survive by traveling to different parts and take revenge on the entity that put you on the planet infested with hostile creatures of all varieties. The first Risk of Rain released in 2013 and easily became one of my favorite indie games to be released in recent time. The game had immense charm. From the look of the game, the timed difficulty, to the random and ridiculousness of  the items, Risk of Rain was just plain fun. Hopoo Games released Risk of Rain 2 in Early Access secretly through Steam March 28th and I reignited why I loved the first game.

Risk of Rain 2 is a 3d reimagening of the first game and overhauls literally everything but keeps the essential predecessor’s formula. The game evolved from a 2D rouge-like to a third-person shooter and I have to say (from a gameplay standpoint) that it was the best decision Hopoo Games could have made. It just feels so natural, like the game should have been this way from the beginning. Port forwarding is scraped and it feels so good to join a lobby with three random people to play. The character models are sleek and environments look good even though there is not much filling the spaces. The control scheme has been shifted in its entirety away from just the keyboard to using the mouse and it is quite nice. Primary and secondary fire are on the mouse while shift holds utility and last ability is assigned to R. Hopoo included a sprint button, which let me tell you, damn, does it speed up the game. Characters are incredibly slow in the beginning but with the sprint it allows for more time to loot and explore. Timed difficulty is back and it still as fun as ever to either play fast or take the long game and make your character insanely powerful. What makes the timed difficulty a good addition to this kind of game is that the player also progresses as time passes, which does not make the player feel like they are always under powered unless they honestly were doing nothing the entire time.

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The commando, mercenary, huntress, mul-T, engineer and the artificer are unlockable characters this time around and other than Mul-T being a bit over powered, every character feels different, balanced and they do hit hard. The commando stuns, mercenary (my personal favorite) is agile and hard to hit, huntress deals high damage, mul-T has highest dexterity, the engineer lays down turrets and the artificer deals a lot of damage but does not have much to survive. All the characters can flourish when picking up the absurd items that inhabit the world. slowing enemies on hit, killing an enemy has a chance to spawn a spirit that fights along side you, chance to deal double damage, deal extra damage to bosses and critical strikes heal you. It is quite easy to obtain items that do not help your character, cue the 3D printer, which has a random item and players can gamble a random item of the same rarity for the item shown. This helps with players that have not achieved the proper items that assist their characters during the more difficult parts of the game.

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You and up to three other friends begin the game in a drop pod falling towards an unknown planet and you begin to fight monsters immediately for gold to open up crates, pray to shrines and open lockers for items. There are shrines to spawn more enemies to fight so more gold can be made, the “shrine of the mountain” that spawns an additional boss when the teleporter is triggered, a shrine that takes health and in returns grants gold and a shrine that randomizes stats. In the beginning hours of the game the shrines were definitely difficult to differentiate and I did on more than one occassion randomize my 55 minute build and then immediately lost the game. When you and all your friends are ready to leave the current level you are on, there is a teleporter that spawns a boss that you have to confront before leaving the level. You beat the big baddy and then rinse and repeat until you and everyone else has died. There is no end game for now, but this is the process of playing the game because of its Early Access.

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Risk of Rain so far is an absolute blast to play. The characters are diverse enough to learn their playstyle without getting bored with them. Games can be fast if the player is limited for time and if not can be anywhere to an hour or more. Jumping into games is easy and simple even though the servers shut down when the host leaves. Unfortunately there are no artifacts to enhance the gameplay but as it stands Risk of Rain 2, for and early access game,  has loads of unlockables and the tasks to unlock the other five characters are difficult enough without bordering the insane. Risk of Rain 2’s future looks incredibly bright and I will be looking out for every update that Hopoo Games realease in the coming months.

 

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