I’m a fan of games with deep stories that are full of meaning and emotion. Character development is key to keeping my attention. However, every once in a while, a game comes along and catches me by surprise.
Risk of Rain has no plot, no character development, no emotion, yet still pulled me in. Perhaps the emptiness gave me room to inject my own somewhat creative story into the game, or maybe it was the chaotic bullet-hell frenzy that kept me entertained enough that I didn’t need a story. Either way, playing Risk of Rain with at least one friend is one heck of a ride. Presented here, then, are my thoughts playing through as a newly exposed player to the game, captured in italics, and Jason’s thoughts as a “grizzled veteran,” captured in bold.
I awoke on a mysterious planet clutching a rifle and enough ammunition to take down ten armies. To my left was an equally well-armed man, carrying a shotgun and a shield. He told me to stay close and quickly ran off into the desolate forest. While I thought this was odd, I sensed I was in immediate danger, so I wasted no time and followed the man. “Stay low, and move fast,” he muttered, “The beasts here may not look like much, but they’re just the appetizer to the main course of ass-whupping.”
I can’t think of how many times I’ve seen this same place… this same rock; that exact damn vine… It never changes. It’s like some horrible limbo. My time spent here is different, yet the same. This time I pick up a mortar launcher, next time it’ll be the eye of a fallen foe that scorches the ground upon which I walk. Always pushing forward. The train crash feels like ages ago, but I know it was only a few moments ago. How is that possible? When will this end?
A new face this time. A younger man that seems just as eager to leave but no idea how to do it. How did he get here? I don’t remember seeing him onboard… It doesn’t matter. All that matters is escape. Maybe together we stand a chance...
He traversed the forest with ease, jumping from platform to platform, climbing up and down vines so quickly I could hardly keep up. At one point, I slipped and plummeted what felt like a hundred feet. He shouted “Don’t stop!” I didn’t. We found our way back to each other and continued on. Strange giant lizards started appearing all around us, we opened fire and took several of them down. “We need to find the teleporter!” he yelled and ran off into the forest again. Eventually, we found it, and activated the mysterious device.
While the teleporter was powering up, swarms of giant creatures started appearing all around us. We fought side by side, holding them off the best we could. They overwhelmed me and I fell to the ground, unable to fight. Just before I blacked out, I saw him hold his ground against an enormous golem. It must have been fifty feet tall! I don’t know how he did it, but he destroyed the gigantic beast, and pulled me through the teleporter.
It’s not the big ones you have to watch out for, it’s the little ones that swarm you. My shield can withstand anything coming at me head on, but those small buggers tend to come from every which way.
The new blood fell… didn’t even make it through the first teleporter. I kept urging him to pick up whatever items he could find along the way, but it just wasn’t enough. If you’re going to survive out here, you have to get what you can when you can. You also can’t stop and smell the daisies. I don’t know what it is about this place… it’s like it’s alive. It can sense you. The longer I fight, the more it throws at me to fight. How am I supposed to make it through when the odds keep getting stacked against me?
We appeared on another foreign planet, or was it just another part of the same one? “Ugh… I hate this place,” he said. How does he know this place? Has he been here before? It was dark and we were surrounded by rock, deep underground perhaps. This time I was determined to hold my own against the alien creatures. The man gave me a nod and ran off. After reloading my rifle, I quickly followed.
Just keep moving… just keep going… maybe this time… this time, I’ll make it out...