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Hopoo Games‘ Risk of Rain 2 (available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch – and playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S) is a vastly different game in singleplayer compared to multiplayer. With four players teamed up, everyone should have a part to play and most of the characters (referred to as Survivors) complement one another well – especially if everyone knows what they are doing. Things change significantly when solo mode is engaged, as the lack of a team to call on means that you constantly have to play to the strengths of your chosen character while trying to avoid situations that accentuate their weaknesses. The difficulty is an important factor too, as Monsoon brings with it more aerial threats that change the solo dynamic. A character like the Engineer may be able to breeze through Rainstorm, but will likely face a deluge at the highest difficulty setting where mobility and aiming high are key to surviving the map.
As is traditional with tier lists, we’ve divided RoR2’s Survivors across four tiers, from S-tier (the best), through A, B and C tiers (with C covering the least best). There are only 11 characters to choose from when the RoR2 roster is fully unlocked, so this is going to be relatively brief compared to some of our other tier lists.
Despite being a team player (and Risk of Rain 2 tier list leader, naturally), Captain is a very effective solo character. They can feel sluggish in terms of mobility and firepower, but their primary weapon, the Vulcan Shotgun, is capable of putting out decent damage if you time and aim your shots effectively. However, what really makes Captain stand out from the rank-and-file are the various tactical drops that can be requested from orbit, from Healing, Supply and Shock Beacons, to the often entertaining OGM-72 DIABLO Strike. As well as being effective, Captain is a lot of fun to play with.
One of the two Survivors that are unlocked from the start of the game, Huntress is not one you’ll want to cast aside too quickly as you go on your unlocking spree. They are a little frail, of course, but they also come with the mobility that allows them to stay out of trouble relatively easily. Meanwhile, Huntress’ auto-lock on Strafe arrows can be used to keep aerial threats at bay. Being able to position themselves advantageously while putting out high damage is where Huntress excels, but without the support of a good selection of items to help her out, they can become overwhelmed in the latter stages of an encounter.
Without having turrets and other gadgets to call on, Engineer would sit as a mid-tier Survivor, with middling health, regen, DPS and speed. That position would not be helped by having zero armor and weapons that are of limited use against enemies descending from above. However, this Survivor is redeemed massively by all the toys they have at their disposal, especially turrets, mines and a Bubble Shield that can be very effective if deployed early enough to avoid it being breached by the enemy. The only problem with Engineer is that you need to keep up a staggered advance, by laying down turrets that overlap one another.
This survivor is great fun, combining decent mobility with versatile (if somewhat underwhelming) damage output. What really makes MULT-T one of the best picks is their barriers that can block enemies off and cause them significant damage – more so than some of the energy barriers that other characters can erect (the Engineer’s being one that feels particularly ineffective). If anything Loader can be too flighty, requiring some extra practise to control, but the effort is very often worth it.
Loader feels like a more specialist version of MUL-T, less versatile in terms of damage-dealing ability, but with increased output and with a little extra in the tank when it comes to health and regeneration. They can really soak up the incoming, making them a real beast on the battlefield. Though MULT-T is the better tank, Loader is the more rounded Survivor. Take the time to set them up well and get to know their advantages and Loader will surely get you through a tricky run.
Bandit is all about the movement, specifically trying to get behind the enemy in order to make use of your passive damage-dealing ability – which favours attacks from behind. The problem is that Bandit is also rather squishy, relying on stealth and speed to get into position and try to retain that position. Thankfully the character has added versatility when it comes to damage output, with a close-range shotgun that doubles as a medium-range rifle, but it does take time to master the double-tap required to make both accurate.
Being the first character you get to play in RoR2, Commando is the consummate all-rounder. They can deal out good damage with their primary, cut a path through a conveniently lined-up group of enemies with their secondary, and pull off decent evades and stuns. Commando is certainly a great character to learn the game, especially as a solo player, but their limitations do quickly become apparent as the difficulty ratchets up; being slow to keep ahead of and track the increasingly common aerial units that can quickly overrun them.
Rex is a bit of an enigma, which is perhaps to be expected being half-rabot, half-plant. If you can get your head around that concept, then you can perhaps make the best of their playstyle and abilities. On the face of it, Rex is a capable Survivor, with above average health, DPS and armor. What makes the character difficult to appreciate is their attacks, which use up Rex’s health as a resource, which can have obvious consequences. This is counteracted with powerful abilities that, while effective, work over time rather than immediately. It means using Rex effectively is a constant balancing act that requires more effort than it probably needs to.
To get through single player in Risk of Rain 2 you really need a versatile character and Mercenary isn’t that. Being a melee specialist, Mercenary just hasn’t got the range or aerial attacking ability to deal with all the threats the game throws at you, especially at higher difficulty levels. Yes, they have great dodge abilities and their movement in combat can be second to none if you put the practise in, but it’s too easy to become overwhelmed when luck and the battle isn’t going your way. In a party Mercenary rocks, but they’re not a great pick for out Riskt of Rain 2 tier list.
Like Mercenary, Artificer is another Survivor that lacks versatility. Mid-tier in terms of health and mobility, the character lacks the levels of protection necessary to look after themselves as the battle rages on. Those exceptional ranged abilities and DPS are all very well at the start of a run, but as the horizon fills up with targets towards the end, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed and undermined. However, if you can keep your distance and use your ENV Suit to stay out of trouble, you might go the distance.
Despite having some ranged ability to go with their melee skills, Acrid is hampered by having their damage dealt over time in the form of poison attacks. This means you have to have to have a degree of survivability in order to wait out the effectiveness of those attacks, but Acris just doesn’t have that ability. In a party bringing down bosses is where Acrid belongs, not relying on themselves in solo situations.
Yes, we left Heretic off of our Risk of Rain 2 tier list, for reasons that are obvious. If you do manage to unlock Heretic during the course of play, you should enjoy a decent run – if you can stay alive for the duration. Good luck with your chosen Survivor and let us know in the comments if your favourite character has been given a short shrift.
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