Given the awful weather forecast for this weekend, it seems appropriate that the Defective Inspector is playing Risk of Rain 2...
The curse of writing in the Indie World is the sheer bulk of Early Access games. There are so many titles I want to review and share but these games are also openly unfinished. The developers don’t hide behind this fact, on the contrary they embrace it, but being a critic requires me to pick things apart and not support it for the sake of support. But then you have games like Risk of Rain 2, games which feel completed and every update closer to 1.0 is like a nugget of generosity instead of a contractual promise. And to encourage people to ride that wave of generosity with me I encourage you to read below.
Risk of Rain 2 is the obvious sequel to the indie classic Risk of Rain. If you haven’t played either here is the basic premise: become a god or die trying. In this RNG-heavy roguelike you must shoot, dodge, bounce, run and escape thousands to plausibly millions of enemies in the hopes of becoming more and more powerful. Is there an actual ending to any of this? Good question, ‘cause I sure as hell have yet to find it. But as the bard once wrote “Shut up and enjoy yourself”. I maybe paraphrasing…
The important question to answer is this, in the early access form is Risk of Rain 2 worth playing? Come to think of it I get the impression there isn’t much more coming in the update, you could release the game right now and I would be content to say it’s complete, what is in the pipeline feel more like personal pride from the developers rather than conceptional necessity. I’ve not done enough research to say for certain, but it could also be promises. If you are going to actually enjoy the game depends on the kind of gamer you are. If you like to be challenged, to the point of madness sometimes, the game is made for you. You see there isn’t much plot substance in the game, it completely depends on the desire for the gamer to want to get better and break their own records. Granted there are pre-set challenges and things to unlock the more you play, but the core mechanics never really change, even when they do.
To clarify the game boasts “no run will ever be the same” and statistically that is probably true. The shape of the level, the order of the levels, the items available and bosses location/fight is almost entirely RNG based. The game leans on the RNG mechanic pretty hard, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I’ve played games where everything has been almost too easy because I got an item replicator earlier on which made me very overpowered. Additionally, I’ve hit a brick wall after world 2 and felt a little deflated I was beaten by the RNG-ods. The extremes are few and far between, but when they do happen it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth.
What I rather enjoyed was the multiplayer aspect, which has had a mixed response from the gaming community. On one hand I was able to play a frantically enjoyable title with my good streamin’ buddy Leadin or Nuishik while on the other we were limiting ourselves with the number of items up for grabs. Over time the balance of power would shift and certain players (mostly me) would die within minutes while the other stomped through the levels like a rhino on cocaine. None the less with a bit of cooperation and forethought between players it was possible to keep the game going without it feeling stale.
Overall I’d highly recommend Risk of Rain 2, in its current form and likely 1.0 version. Between the multiple character, variety of items, plethora of enemies and face paced madness it’s hard not to enjoy the occasion rush through the chaos. Just don’t expect plot, ‘cause I am pretty sure there never will be one and I’m okay with that.
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Find Risk of Rain 2 on Humble Bundle
Images from Steam or Humble Bundle