Risk of Rain 2's big Anniversary Update includes a very cool space cowboy

I don't need much of an excuse to play more Risk of Rain 2, a game I played a hell of a lot of in 2020. The Anniversary Update, released Thursday to celebrate the Early Access launch two years ago, is quite a good one, though. It adds a new playable character, the Bandit, who returns from the original 2D Risk of Rain many years ago. And there's a lot more: New skills for several of the existing characters, more items, and a reworked final stage.

The update is out now so I downloaded it to try out the Bandit, who's a hoot and a half. Bandit's primary attack is a fast-firing shotgun, but the real fun of their ability kit is a revolver that fires off a single quick-draw shot for 300 percent damage. If that shot earns you a kill, it refills your shotgun and resets the cooldowns of your other skills, a saber attack that inflicts bleeding damage and a smoke bomb that stuns enemies and turns you invisible for a few seconds. I settled into a rhythm with the Bandit almost immediately, hitting baddies with a shotgun blast or two and then following up with a revolver shot to seal the kill. 

I'm already eager to stack crit damage on the Bandit to see just how powerful that revolver shot can be, but I think their real strength is going to be in triggering the saber's bleed ability over and over again. I've only played one game with the Bandit, but I was surprised by how fun and powerful they were from the very beginning, without feeling like I needed any items to make up for a particular weakness. I may have a new favorite.

I'm excited to dig deeper into this update, which the Hopoo Games co-founders say is "a huge ‘thanks’ for fans who have been with us since the beginning, [and] an opportunity to revisit a lot of the things we couldn’t finish up for the official launch."

The biggest addition is a "redone from the ground up" final stage, which I think many Risk of Rain 2 players will be happy with. I liked the sort of sparse, melancholic build-up of the last level, but it wasn't universally loved. The full patch notes are extensive, including the new stuff and a lot of tweaks to existing items, so I've pulled out everything that excites me below. 

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).