110 people found this review helpful 7 people found this review funny
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 54.5 hrs on record
Posted: Mar 31 @ 9:49am
Early Access Review
So this game is FINALLY out. Well, out in early access anyway. It's been a long wait, and I gotta say, it's been worth it. Granted, it has some flaws... which are kinda big.... but for this most part, it's excellent.
This is essentially the natural evolution of the first game. Instead of trying to transform the gameplay too much and replace entire mechanics or do things like that, they seem to have taken the approach of "if it aint broke, dont fix it". They take everything that's good in the first game, and drop it in here. This rather forms the core of the whole experience. If you liked the first game at all... you're gonna love this, because it's more of the same, except way better.
If you havent played the first one, the whole thing is a fairly simple idea. Being a roguelike, your goal is simply to explore each level, find the exit, and defeat the level boss. All the while, you search for items to grab in order to build up your character in various ways.
But RoR has never really followed the other traditions of the genre. Gone are the room-based levels, replaced with enormous sprawling freeform zones. You also dont roam around clearing areas of enemies as you do in most of these games. Enemies constantly spawn. What's more, they spawn NEAR you. You'll see crab monsters burrow out of the ground, or golems assemble themselves in front of you. The enemy assault never stops, and so neither does the action (most of the time). What's more, the enemy appears in massive numbers. 10 foes at once? Hah! That's nothing. Try 50! Complete with elites mixed in, powerful versions of normal foes with some funky abilities added to them. In addition, each character has not only a normal attack, but three other abilities that each operate with cooldowns... a concept very rarely seen in this genre.
All of this leads to a game with a very different feel from the rest of the genre. That was the case with the original RoR, and that's the case here. But here, we also have the jump to 3D, and that improves everything. The original game could be oddly methodical... even with a bazillion enemies at once, combat could be a little slow in a way. It's hard to explain, but if you try that game out or even just watch some videos of it, you'll see what I mean. But here, that has changed. Not only does your character just move alot faster, but the 3D nature of the game means that enemies can appear anywhere, and attack from any angle. Dodging and positioning yourself properly becomes even more important with so much chaos going on. Learning to keep track of all the lunacy around you is important as well, as is choosing the targets for your various attacks, so as to defeat enemy groups as fast as possible. Combat is fast and visceral, and involves lots of crazy movement and leaping around. I actually think this game may have the best combat and action of the entire genre, and that's not something I say easily. It's THAT good.
What's more, there's good variety here. Each character has their own unique skillset, and they're differentiated quite well, never feeling like clones or slight variations of each other. Items are also well varied, meaning that each run will actually feel different from the last, adding even more to that "one more run" feel of the game that makes it so addictive. Even though you collect so many items over the course of a run, each one still feels meaningful and exciting to find. There is alot of RNG in finding items... the game isnt big on things like shops, for instance, to give you the opportunity to make choices... but when you DO have choices to make (usually from the funky triple gizmos that offer a choice of 3 items), the choices feel like they have a solid impact on your run. And there are loads of fun items to find here. This element of the game never gets boring.
Same with enemy designs. Yeah, you're going to see the same foes over and over, but that's fine. They're very well done, and generally work well in the context of the game's horde-focused combat. Each enemy has it's own unique style of attack, and learning what each foe can do is quite important. And none of these guys ever feel unfair or broken for the most part. Nor do they seem like a waste of space. You know, the sort of enemy that's so weak and easy that it makes you wonder why they are even in the game. None of that here.
Same with the bosses.... with one exception. The Stone Titan is... broken, at best. With a literally undodgable deathray attack, you *must* dive behind cover to avoid massive damage. What's that? It showed up in an area with no cover? Well, tough. Fight it anyway, you dont get a say in the matter. As I'll say about ANY game in this genre, undodgable ANYTHING is pretty much the cardinal sin. Fortunately this is the only foe capable of it... but it doesnt make it any less of a problem. It's a real chore to fight that guy, and the frequency with which he shows up is a problem... there just arent that many bosses right now, so expect these fights to repeat FREQUENTLY.
A much bigger problem is the teleporter. You must find this thing to complete each stage. It is where you spawn the boss and begin the "charging" event, a chaotic battle that marks the end of the level. That idea is fine. What ISNT fine is the teleporter itself. It's nigh-invisible half the time. It blends in with everything. Sometimes it is halfway stuck inside a big rock or something, making it even harder to spot. Or there's the awful swamp level, where it's damn near impossible to see most of the time and can even appear submerged in water. I often find myself restarting a run simply because the swamp level showed up, because I just cant be bothered to deal with the tedium of searching for a nearly invisible exit.
Speaking of tedium: Holy hell do I hate the process of unlocking stuff in this. Now granted, I say that with literally every game in the genre. I never have, and never will, like unlocking stuff. I know that gamers these days seem to need an endless string of "goals" to work towards, or they get bored (thus the existence of achievements) but for a player like myself, it's just a pointless irritation. I'll likely be downloading a completed save file the moment I can find one, rather than put up with the bloody unlock process. I dont play games like this for achivements and unlocks, and this game is worse than most about that. If you've played Isaac, think of some of the more RNG-based, super-irritating unlocks found in that game.... yeah, there's alot of that here.
This game isnt about the unlocks anyway. It's about the sheer fun and the variety and challenge. It just does not get old. Not only are you going to have an absolute blast, but you'll keep having an absolute blast even after 100 hours of playing it, just like with the first game. Even in it's early access state, and even with the occaisional wonky flaw, RoR 2 is a masterpiece. With boatloads of content, the best combat ever, and incredible variety, the fun just never stops here, and you'll always be wanting to do just one more run, just one more....
Just pick it up, and see for yourself how brilliant it is.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back in and fight more monster swarms. The 7 runs I did just before this wasnt enough.