Risk of Rain 2 Review: A Single Player Drizzle, a Multiplayer Monsoon (Xbox Series X)

For a game that was nominated for "Better with Friends" back in 2020, how does the single player experience hold up for this review? Grab your umbrella because the forecast calls for fast-paced combat, electrifying ukeleles, and a light drizzle in Risk of Rain 2, a roguelike with possibilities as endless as the galaxies beyond.

Risk of Rain 2 Review: A Single Player Drizzle, a Multiplayer Monsoon (Xbox Series X)Developed by Hopoo Games, Risk of Rain 2 is an interstellar roguelike adventure like no other. It follows a ragtag group of characters arriving on a dangerous planet in search of survivors following the crash of the UES Contact Light. You fight past hoards of enemies and enter portals all whilst collecting a variety of supplies that help turn your deadly journey into a blissful run through the rain. But as you continue your travels-  seeing various biomes scattered throughout the planet, you begin to wonder: can you survive alone?  

A difficult game praised for its multiplayer gameplay, the single-player experience is nothing to scoff at. Some things even become easier to manage during the solo playthrough. Travel the fast-paced, incredibly atmospheric, celestial experience of Risk of Rain 2 and unlock items and characters with plenty of different playstyles, all with the goal of escaping the planet.

Risk of Rain 2 is available on Xbox Series X/S, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, Epic Games, and Steam for $24.99.

Risk Of Rain 2 – Early Access Launch Trailer

Story – Finding What Remains

The story continues from the first game, beginning the second with a brief cinematic of the UES Safe Travels. It follows Captain with others arriving on Petrichor V, the last known location of the missing UES Contact Light. They answer a distress signal left by the original crew of the UES Contact Light. However, things turn quickly melancholic after a scan of the planet shows no signs of any survivors.

Beginning the journey, we then pick our character, either the “jack-of-all-trades” Commando or the bounty hunter Huntress. Next, we’re dropped via escape pod onto the planet and the gameplay starts. We scale past harsh climates and travel through teleporters like in the first game. In addition, we open security chest debris from the UES Contact Light along the way, using its contents for battle. 

UES Safe Travels heading toward Petrichor V.

UES Safe Travels heading toward Petrichor V.

Afterward, the game remains pretty story heavy, but rather it has a separate section for storytelling instead called the Logbook. The Logbook offers its intrigued players snippets of background to the many wonders Risk of Rain has to offer. It has lore for its characters, items, and atmosphere that players can unlock as they collect and play.

Players can enjoy the game straightaway and come back for lore whenever they’d like. Honestly, the dedication to its story is phenomenal, even giving insight into the questions a player has. The game answers questions such as what happened to the other Contact Light survivors and much more as you progress and earn. Although it can get rather confusing at times, it’s a fascinating mystery that have you put the story pieces together to draw your conclusions.

Gameplay – Like a Blissful Stroll Through the Rain

The gameplay is an addictive cycle of dying and starting over again. It’s like running through a rainstorm, the peaceful experience of the downpour mixed with the dangers of trying not to fall. However the case in this game, you take part in exploring gorgeous environments while avoiding death along the way. Enemies pour in constantly with a permanently fixed timer at the top right, highlighting the evergrowing difficulty increase. You kill monsters for money to unlock chests that give you items that give your characters bonuses.

One of many bosses you can fight through your journey.

One of many bosses you can fight through your journey.

You’ll run into shrines that have different effects and discover hidden secrets scattered across the maps. You’ll loot and shoot all while trying to find the teleporter to continue. The teleporter, however, needs to charge before you can leave, summoning one of many bosses you’ll face throughout the game. After staying close to the portal and killing the enemies in the way, you leave to the next level. You continue on using teleporters until you reach an ending one way or another, where you can begin a whole new cycle. 

You start the game with a small, but manageable amount of content, probably as a way of not overwhelming you just yet.  As you get used to everything though, the game throws in new things that you gradually acquire by completing quests. You unlock more people to play with and more items to mess around with. Challenges can be found in the logbook and keep you coming back. Everything’s designed with such charm that makes working towards unlocking new things a fun time.

Is Single Player Worth It?

A game that boasts its multiplayer in a majority of its official media, is it worth it? As a player with over hundreds of hours, both solo and with friends, I’d absolutely say it’s worth your time. However, just be prepared for the challenges. Though it does make certain parts of the roguelike easier, it makes others rather difficult to complete. 

Acrid battling his way through foes.

Acrid battling his way through foes.

Challenging Challenges

While not too often, the game has horribly difficult challenges that are nearly impossible to do solo. For example, to unlock the character Rex, you must carry a piece of equipment from the beginning with you until reaching Abyssal Depths, a fourth-level stage. Not to mention, you have to stay above 50% HP or it will explode, killing you instantly. However, one challenge, in particular, has given many players a fair share of problems.  To unlock one of Huntress’ better abilities, Ballista, You have to beat Rallypoint Delta without falling below 100% HP once. There are ways to cheese it since barriers don’t count as health, but it’s still rather challenging to complete solo.

 A Pirate’s Life Is Not for Me

Risk of Rain 2 is a rapid, fast-paced game with numerous characters fitting that play style. They flow nicely with the overall pace of a single player experience, dodging bullets while trading some back in return. However, one character just struggles massively to be played alone, Captain. I won’t deny though, I still have fun playing as him, I just have to work harder to enjoy it.  Although his beacons are powerful utilities, his taser is pathetically bad. That combined with his lack of movement abilities makes him not too pleasant to play as alone. 

A good captain always goes down with his ship.

A good captain always goes down with his ship.

The Serenity in Being Alone

However, with the harsh challenges aside, the game is better to start off just by yourself. Risk of Rain 2 truly is like an inhabited planet, you have the most fun exploring your own way. You can pace yourself with the difficulty and keep all the items to yourself, steadily increasing your power. The game even has a mode, Prismatic Trials, that is exclusively solo. Now, while you can just join a friend with many hours in and have all the items available to you, it’s rewarding to experience them yourself. You should enjoy single player like a nice walk through the drizzle, enjoying the serenity it has to offer. 

A Multiplayer Monsoon

While the single player experience is a nice stroll through the sprinkle, multiplayer is like a run in a monsoon.  Risk of Rain 2 can be a formidably strategy-heavy game. There’s managing time, items, and exploring that all fall hand in hand. Throw that in with random people and you get utter chaos that can either make for a fun time or a regrettable one. Players can troll you in a multitude of ways such as starting teleporters way too early, using items that can damage you- the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, it can be wonderful to have others around for your travels, just expect some turbulence. 

Fight together, stay alive!

Fight together, stay alive!

Though, if you do get a group of people to join your travels, all of whom you can communicate well with, it’s undoubtedly enjoyable. The game offers more loot to grab that you can coordinate with your friends to strategize your builds. Even if one of you were to disconnect unexpectedly, you’re free to join back in and start from where you left off. Although you’ll miss the pause button, you could step into a portal that leads to Bazaar Between Time. While in there, time stands still and the difficulty doesn’t increase, which means you’re free to take a break with even in multiplayer and come back fine. It’s really accommodating for people who play with friends, making it an overall enjoyable chaos with tons of replayability. 

Graphics and Sound – An Alluring Contrast

Risk of Rain 2 is a highly stylized game, wonderfully coalescing its tragic lore and adorable charm in amazingly subtle ways. The contrasting combination provides an amazing feeling of exploration, whilst also being aware of the danger. The two elements complement each other nicely, even being featured in item designs. As you collect items, the game actually slaps a model of it to your player model, which is a charming touch. Little do you know though, the adorably innocent items hold dark mysteries within their lore. 

Acrid and his souvenirs.

Acrid and his souvenirs.

Not to mention its overall handcrafted level design. All areas have a color scheme it follows. Some have a beautiful pop of color while others prefer to be muted and dull. It’s not too bright and vibrant to distract from the menacing planet. But, it’s not too bland either so as to not lose interest. It’s a wonderful mix, only further highlighted by the sound design of Risk of Rain 2

The overall soundtrack is very akin to the likes of Portal. Its music gives off a tone of mystery, tragedy, and gloom. So no matter where your journey takes you in the world of Risk of Rain 2, you’ll always feel a sense of being unwelcome. It’s a desolate planet that, although has charms, should never have been revisited. It perfectly matches the atmosphere of the game and was executed extraordinarily. 

Risk of Rain 2 was reviewed on Xbox Series X.

Risk of Rain 2 is an amazingly entertaining, atmospheric roguelike with tons of replayability. Although it has some sour spots for solo players, such as its quests, it's definitely worth your time! With over 110 items to theory craft with, it'll have you playing for hours on end, slaying intergalactic foes with a simple strum of an electric ukelele.
  • Exciting fun to be had for hours on end
  • Atmospheric soundtrack
  • Beautifully handcrafted environments
  • Mysteriously intriguing lore
  • Some challenges and playing as some characters can be difficult to do alone
  • Multiplayer experience can be messy with randoms

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