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Risk of Rain 2 Early Access Preview

by on April 1, 2019

Risk of Rain was one of the early rogue-likes that garnered a bit of a cult classic status. It’s never been one that people mention as the pinnacle of the genre, and it’s brutally difficult. It is also one of the most interesting in how it works. While most rogue-likes seem to give you a wall to beat against as you grind your abilities up Risk of Rain ramps up difficulty based on how long you are playing. This is pretty visible at all times so you have to balance your time killing enemies to gain XP and money, and how easy the whole experience will be. The action itself follows the general outline of appear in a world, find the teleporter, kill a boss while the teleporter charges up, then move to the next, all while looting and being cautious of how much time you’re spending building up for the boss fight. It was a terrific little game with a slew of unlockables along the way.

Risk of Rain 2 just recently dropped on Steam early-access without warning. In the follow up to the classic we emerge into the world of 3D. Taking the 2D platforming to a new level. You play the game in a third-person shooter format, and in my time with the build I have played some of the basic soldier, and a few of the unlockable characters. The worlds you travel through even feel very reminiscent of the originals, even though they are realized in full 3D. It still has that very classic gameplay. Working to loot chests and item containers as you blast your way through never-ending enemies. Find the teleporter, take down the boss. It feels so familiar, but so fresh and new when you add in your ability to move in these 3D worlds.

There is plenty to progress and unlock even in this early-access build of the game. You start with the basic Soldier character. His move set is a good mix of ranged damage, dodge movement, and stuns that allow you to zone enemies pretty well. With the addition of some items it becomes a formidable character. You can also unlock a handful of other characters that all play very differently from each other. You can be a bladed character that zips around and through enemies like a space ninja, a Huntress who has an auto-lock on bow that won’t miss and the ability to rain down arrows from the sky on enemies, or even a robot on wheels that packs both a nail-gun that spits a ridiculous amount of projectiles in a wide spread, or a pinpoint precise rebar launcher that takes a moment to charge up. There are even more characters to unlock and try right out of the gate.

This game is fun solo, but I find that this game really shines in multiplayer. Even without a dedicated group to game with I’ve been having an absolute blast in multiplayer Quickplay matching with strangers. One of the best thing this game learned from recent trends is the ability to communicate non-verbally with a bunch of random strangers online. It takes the very iconic pinging system from Apex Legends and applies it flawlessly here. You can look at something and click the middle mouse button to ping it for everyone. If you point to a place on the ground it requests to move there, if you look at an item it pings the item and lists out what the item is in the chat feed. It works exactly as expected and I give the developer a huge thumbs up for including this and the Quickplay multiplayer options. This brought it from a game I enjoyed to a game I would definitely recommend to friends. During early access when you buy a copy, you also get a bonus copy to gift to a friend on Steam. Note: The buy one get one offer for early access purchases has ended.

The enemies you find here are again pulled a lot right from the first game, including bosses, although given the 3D space their attack patterns have changed. With the new perspective also comes something the previous game didn’t allow in the same way. The ability to take cover. With obstacles in the world you can now hide to recover some health or break line of sight for certain enemy attacks, but don’t think this means you have an easy way out. Enemies will spawn in all around you meaning your flanks are always at risk. It’s best to keep moving and keep fighting as much as you can, as well as knowing when to retreat to a better location. It keeps you on your toes at all points and really fits the old Risk of Rain vibe.

While it may seem odd that this game is basically just the first game in 3D, I’m excited to see how they could take this base in an early-access format and build upon it. I’ve already dumped hours into the build and started to unlock new characters and items for in-game. Seeing the variety of characters and the unique play styles they present, as well as how they work together to form 4 player teams, has me ravenous for more. I can’t wait to see how the developer builds on such a solid base.

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