Risk of Rain 2 and a Really Weird Difficulty Spike

I’ve been playing a lot of Risk of Rain 2 lately and, thanks to the help of my siblings and one of my siblings’ significant other, we’ve managed to get a lot unlocked. Every time we play and inevitably die, there’s always a “one more run” feel. And since it’s (mostly) pretty low in terms of computer resources (although far more than the original), we can play Risk of Rain 2 on all our crappy laptops. In fact, both my brother and I nominated Risk of Rain 2 for Steam’s Game of the Year award, because frankly it’s the only game released this year that has stuck out and we’ve played more than once.

But there’s something weird about Risk of Rain that I can’t quite put my finger on. Something about Risk of Rain 2 makes it awkwardly difficult to play and I can’t explain it. Well, aside from the fact that I really suck at the game. There’s something more to it though.

For example, most of our runs start off great, unless we do something really stupid like use a Shrine of the Mountain while having very little items. We’ll get through the first boss no problem and normally have no issues dealing with the second boss. As soon as we get onto the third (or sometimes fourth) bosses, we tend to be lagging behind a little bit. The fourth boss tends to kill us, but if it doesn’t and we loop round back to the first level, we’ll almost certainly die soon after.

To be fair, a lot of it has to do with taking too long. There may be four of us but us four players have to share loot that would normally only be split between one or two people at once, and everything is tougher and more expensive to compensate for there being more people. From what I’ve seen, playing with 1-2 people is easier because you’re sharing less of the already very sparse loot and built up more stacks of items more quickly.

But there is a certain spike, somewhere just after I SEE YOU difficulty, where the hardest thing you fight is an Elder Wisp or one of the clay Heavy Weapons Guys or, at most, a random Clay Dunestrider, and then all of a sudden there are Elder Lemurians and Wandering Vagrants everywhere. And the occasional Magma Worm. And Greater Imps. And Stone Titans. And… well, pretty much every boss.

A Risk of Rain run on Drizzle mode.
A Risk of Rain run on Drizzle mode.

I should point out, 99% of the time we play on the normal difficulty. We haven’t touched the Monsoon (super hard) difficulty, but I did once play the Drizzle (easy) difficulty. And you know what? It was insanely easy. We looped round with ease, killed bosses with ease and had plenty of money to buy whatever we wanted. Sibling’s SO wanted to do the achievement where you get 12 drones in a run so we played on easy and it was a breeze. It was so easy that we managed to loop around enough to get to obliterate ourselves at the Obelisk and unlock the Mercenary, while I also managed to unlock Rex and completely forget about it until we’d gotten ourselves killed. Unlocking Rex requires you to hold an item that will BLOW YOU UP AND KILL YOU should you be reduced below 50% health, and you need to take this to the 4th level.

That’s how stark the difficulty between Easy and Normal are: getting above and beyond the fourth level is easy as piss in Drizzle mode but a genuine uphill struggle in normal mode.

My recommendation? Only play on Drizzle if you’re struggling to unlock characters. Otherwise you’ll become complacent. Because the difference between Drizzle and the other modes is insane.


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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