A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Risk of Rain 2 is a sci-fi themed third-person shooter game, available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Up to four players land on hostile alien worlds, fighting against waves of creatures while collecting power-ups and searching for transporters to take them to the next stage. The game has difficulty levels that scale up the longer players survive. Although the action's constant, the violence is relatively tame due to the game's artistic style. Defeated enemies explode in puffs of smoke and light, with little to no blood shown onscreen. Parents should also be aware that, while there's no profanity included in the game, the online component could still expose younger kids to offensive language in party chats during online multiplayer matches. Finally, one item references drug use in its description.
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What's it about?
RISK OF RAIN 2 adds a new dimension to the indie hit, Risk of Rain, taking the shoot for loot game 2D gameplay and transforming it into a full 3D third-person shooter. Once again, you're dropped onto a hostile alien world and tasked with exploring for unique artifacts scattered throughout the harsh environment. You'll seek out and activate teleportation devices to move from one map to the next, fighting against ever increasing swarms of enemies. You'll have to grab power-ups and become a one-man wrecking machine in a marathon quest for survival. Die and you lose it all, starting from scratch once again. Players can take the challenge on solo or join up with up to three friends in manic multiplayer mayhem. With the odds stacked against you, how long can you hold out?
Is it any good?
The original game in this series was a frantic 2D race for survival but the sequel transforms into a 3D third-person experience that's both fresh and frustrating at the same time. For starters, although you can play Risk of Rain 2 solo, it's infinitely better when played with friends. The constant stream of enemies and the increasing difficulty can quickly overwhelm a solo player, even on the lightest difficulty setting. It's also a pain to try and cover the massive amount of real estate in each map alone, running in circles and backtracking constantly to search for the teleport beacon. That's when the real fight begins, as players have to stay within a certain area while the teleporter charges at the same time that they're trying to defeat a massive boss guarding the exit. This is where having a full squad makes a world of difference.
Risk of Rain 2 feels like a game that would be right at home in an arcade, with people crowding around to tag in for a round. There's no shortage of action at any given moment and the difficult scaling ensures that players have to earn each victory. Unfortunately, that's about all there is to the game. There's no real story to speak of and players never really make any progress from match to match. While it's possible to unlock new characters to use, the game doesn't offer any hints on how to do so (guides can be found online, though). Players can earn artifacts that can change up some elements of the gameplay, but these are just slight modifications to the repetitive formula. Risk of Rain 2 is great for short bursts of play with friends, but lacks the substance to hold players' interests for the long haul.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in games like Risk of Rain 2 affected by the art style and setting of the on-screen action? Would it be intensified if the visuals were more realistic?
What are some positive ways to play games with others? How can working together overcome different obstacles in games, and what are some positive traits to have or look for in a teammate?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Gearbox Publishing
- Release date: August 30, 2019
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Blood, Drug Reference
- Last updated: September 13, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.