Today, I want to cover my particular risk of rain 2 tier list. And to start that off, I want to tell you how I came up with these rankings. These are all based on Monsoon Difficulty, and getting to obliterate yourself from existence.** I don’t include the Mithrix fight here, as I find obliteration more difficult.
Risk of Rain 2 was probably my most played game of 2020. So much, in fact, it currently sits at number two on my most played games on Steam ever.
Hoopoo Games not only delivered one of the best roguelikes of the last few years (tying with Hades as my favorite roguelike ever), but it did it by mastering the design around each of their unique characters so that they all operate differently. Whether I want to play Punchy McFistFace with Loader, or shotgun blast with Captain, or make anime meme jokes with Mercenary, there’s a variety of play styles to suit anyone’s needs. However, when it comes to balancing these unique characters, there are still good and bad choices.
How difficult is this character to play? Mercenary requires very good situational awareness, Loader requires a lot of buttons and complete movement, and Engineer requires you to stand next to your turrets. There’s a big difference between some character’s gameplay,
Some characters can dish out a lot of damage with minimal items, while others will need items such as the Ukelele, Glasses, Syringes, etc to achieve a good damage output.
Because all of the characters are unique, they don’t all have the same skills and ways to survive as the levels get progressively more difficult. Having access to skills that can keep you alive is crucial to having the longest run possible.
Without further ado, here’s the tier list.
The cream of the crop. The top of the list. The best of the best. These are the two best characters in the game.
Has been a strong choice ever since its release. Because of his passive skill Defensive Microbots, he can block a lot of ranged attacks as the game goes on, and you can potentially create more if he picks up a lot of drones. The elephant in the room is his Beacon: Hacking which lets him get at minimum 2 free items per level, with the chance for more if several chests spawn near each other (or you use it on a Shrine of Chance). This leads to some amazing consistency in runs, as well as a higher chance to get legendary items.
Has seen some recent changes with the last few updates, but I find him still to be an extremely strong pick. However, he has a much higher skill ceiling than Captain does, mainly due to his mobility. Thanks to his passive’s innate double jump, plus the verticality of his Whirlwind followed by the invulnerability of Eviscerate, and the overall low cooldown on his skills means that you are always looking for what to do next, which can make or break a good run.
These characters are pretty great but have some minor downfalls that keep them out of S-Tier. Solid picks all around but could be more consistent.
I know this is kind of a controversial pick, but Loader is here simply due to lack of consistent damage. She’s got that power punch we all love, but she’s a one-trick pony. Once that skill is on cooldown, she’s got no way to keep up her damage due to her short melee range, and complete lack of AoE makes higher levels of difficulty even harder.
Engie gets A-tier the same way Loader does. He can get some great runs and his turrets can deal insane damage, but with a few poorly placed turrets or bad RNG for items early on means that your damage output can be bad, but overall that usually isn’t an issue. Also, most runs are incredibly easy with Bustling Fungus.
The Other Guys, aka the average picks. Most of these are kind of toss-ups for a good run, depending on how skilled you are and how much RNG has blessed your run.
The Spicy Puppy is probably one of my favorite characters, behind Mercenary. His damage output through damage over time can be insanely good, and his ultimate can clear out huge swaths of enemies. Unfortunately, since his damage output isn’t tied to proc chains (which are the biggest portion of DPS output for Risk of Rain 2), his DPS falls off hard unless you have a lot of on-death items like Gasoline, Will of the Wisp, or Ceremonial Daggers.
Everyone likes to go pew pew, right? Or maybe you just wanna meme it up with dual Rebar and punch through God himself. MUL-T is a solid pick because most of his skills are pretty useful, and his kit works well together. But, his downside lies in that his starting damage output can be pretty low, and the fact that our metal friend is as slow as a rock.
Rex offers probably the most unique kit out of all the characters in the game, serving as a health leeching “spellcaster” type. His damage output can be insanely high with Seed Barrage, but it takes a huge chunk out of your health. Naturally, REX has other ways to regain the lost health, but in higher difficulties, it becomes very risky to spam Seed Barrage.
I really, really with I enjoyed Huntress more. On paper, her kit is fantastic. Highly mobile, decent damage, some area of effect too. If you pick up the right items, she becomes an unstoppable force too. Huntress’ health though, is the real problem. She has the lowest starting health in the game, and she really gets torn up like tissue paper if you’re caught off guard.
Fun, but not very powerful or consistent.
The newest kid on the block, Bandit comes to us from the original Risk of Rain with another unique playstyle. His playstyle is torn between being up close and personal with the Shotgun burst and stealth, or a sniper approach with the Rifle blast. What he lacks in his kit is the ability to hit multiple enemies. Trying to chain his Serrated Dagger with Lights Out is clunky and doesn’t work as well, plus the range is super short for such a squishy character.
The bottom of the barrel. With some tweaks, these could easily be higher up on the tier list, but unfortunately, they’re stuck at the bottom.
I want to love Artificer. I love spellcasters, and it feels great to unload a huge Flamethrower chain or to blast everyone with her Charged Nano-Bomb, but thanks to the complete lack of evasion paired with her low health (second to Huntress), she just can’t survive in higher difficulties without having incredibly good luck.
The most basic of characters, there just isn’t a lot going for old Commando. He’s average all around, with some okay evasion and sub-par damage, he floats along as just the starter class before the rest of the game gets fun. Even with his unlockable skills in his kit, the gameplay doesn’t change enough to make his runs any better.
Answer: Captain or Mercenary have the highest damage and the best consistency in the game.
Answer: Artificer and Commando both suffer from having sub-par skills and low survivability as the game’s difficulty increases.
Answer: Captain. Thanks to his Utility to let you unlock free items, he scales faster than any other character in the game.
Wrapping it Up
You might not agree with my tier list, and that’s alright. After my 150+ hours with the game, these are just the conclusions I have come to in my own experience. Hopefully, with future updates, we’ll see this roster shake up a little and characters like Acrid and Artificer can top the charts. For now, I think this list is pretty solid and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
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