For those of you who didn’t watch the Gearbox live stream last week, you might have missed a recently dropped title they are publishing known as Risk of Rain 2. If you are not familiar with the series, Risk of Rain is a rogue-like where the maps aren’t randomly generated but the drops and monster spawns are. You spawn on various levels, kill enemies to get gold and purchase a limited number of upgrades using that gold through various options such as chests, shrines or drones that follow you. Go alone or squad up with three other members to face the world and all the terrible creatures it has to offer. As a fan of the series, I was ecstatic to hear that Hopoo Games was releasing  a sequel (in early access), but with this new title there are quite a few changes. For one, this game is now in 3D as opposed to a side scroller which causes many mechanics to act differently as well as a whole new arsenal of drops and monsters to fight. For those new or fans of the original, here are a few tips I have picked up along the way.

1. Keep your eye on the clock: monsters get harder no matter what.

From the very beginning, you will notice that there are little to no monsters and most of them will die in just a few shots. All games start off easy on the first level in comparison, right? This game is no exception but you want to make sure you keep an eye on how long you are spending on a level. The point is to go as fast as you can to the end teleporter to spawn the boss. Keep an eye on all the chests and statues on the level because you will start with no gold on each and collect it as you kill monsters. Racking up that gold is important but you should run and gun, prioritizing the teleporter location to make sure you can start it up without wasting too much time on a level.

2. Take advantage of the ping system

Why find the teleporter quickly if you are just going to lose it after you go back to look for those chests? Lucky for you, there is a ping option that will allow you to mark that teleporter. Simply click the mouse wheel button or right stick if you are using a controller. This will save you a lot of time once you have looted the level, since when first starting the levels it can be very confusing to find your way around especially when nothing is ever in the same place. Just keep in mind that the ping does disappear after a short amount of time so you will want to ping every so often to remind yourself of the direction. Hopefully, a minimap or persistent pings will be implemented in the game.

3. Drones are great early game

Keep an eye out for drones as often as you can. You will find a number of different robots that you can pay money to repair to aid you against enemies. Drones are amazing early game and can really make a difference. There are a number of different drones out there so whenever you pick one up be sure to pay attention to the name. I specify that because some drones will be level specific and will only stand in one place (turret drones) whereas the healer drones or missile drones will follow throughout each level. When partying up with others, try to spread the drones out amongst members. Drones will help all allies but they will prioritize helping those that picked up the drone as well as follow them throughout the level so if one member has all the drones and he/she is not there, then you are on your own against those baddies.

4. Not all dashes are equal

As you play, you will start to unlock additional characters to play with. Each one will have their unique abilities and play styles but most will generally have some form of a dash move to reposition yourself. You will want to learn each one and understand how they work and what repercussions come from each. The commando, for example, has a dash and can easily strafe to the side if you dash and press right or left, however, the huntress can only teleport forward. It is also beneficial to pay attention to dashes and fall damage. The two characters mentioned above can use their dash abilities right before they touch the ground to avoid taking damage when falling large distances. The robot character, MUL-T, on the other hand, will dash forward and still take damage upon impact.

5. Check your Logbook from the main menu to study up

The Logbook is great when first starting out. During each playthrough, you pick up a multitude of items and   that only provide a quick tooltip that will flash on the screen upon pick up. These can be easily overlooked during the heat of battle as later into the game can become pretty chaotic. The logbook will track all items you have obtained and explain what benefits they provide. This can be useful since there are some dispensers that will give you three choices for an item where you can only choose one. The game will only show the item but provide no tooltip, so getting familiar with what they do will give you an edge to build your character up properly. Plus, the logbook will also give you some guidance on how to unlock those additional characters.

6. Lunar Coins obtained are carried over to subsequent runs

Lastly, there is a second currency in the game known as lunar coins. You should start keeping an eye out for these as you are playing because they can provide some great upgrades to your character. Certain lunar pods will ask for a coin or two but will provide you with unique upgrades, such as the ability to double all damage but also cut your max hit points in half. The nice thing about those lunar coins is that they are not lost when your run is over. Try to use them sparingly for when you think the run is going well or it is early enough in the run to give you the upper edge. There is also a teleporter that will occasionally spawn which takes you to a shop where you can buy only upgrades using those lunar coins, including one of the additional playable characters.  

With these tips, you should be a bit better off, but don’t expect to be an expert from the start! This game can be quite tough, especially when on the hardest difficulty. The best tip out of all of this is just to have fun with it. Some runs will be good and some will be bad, but regardless it will always be a chaotic blast!

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