Risk of Rain 2, developer Hopoo Games' enormously well-received co-operative rogue-like shooter sequel, will be free to play this weekend on Steam, in celebration of its first anniversary and newly released Artifacts 2.0 update.
Risk of Rain 2 initially entered Steam early access in March last year (a 1.0 release is expected this spring), and Hopoo has been steadily ploughing through its extensive early access roadmap ever since. Artifacts 2.0, one of the key milestones on that roadmap, focusses on "long-term content, replayability, and flexibility in the way you play", reintroducing the Artifacts system seen in the original Risk of Rain, albeit with a bit of an additional kick up the bum.
As you might already be aware, Risk of Rain 2 follows a similar formula to its wonderful predecessor, featuring gloriously chaotic shooting action (this time in full 3D) that grows ever fiercer - bringing tougher, more plentiful enemies - the longer players manage to stay alive. Artifacts serve as a way to amplify that chaos even further, acting as modifiers that can be toggled on or off at the start of each run.
A total of 16 Artifacts are included in Risk of Rain 2's latest update - some new, others returning from the first game - and their effects range from forcing all enemies in a particular run to spawn as elite variants to rapidly increasing players' damage output, albeit at a significant health cost.
In addition to Artifacts, Risk of Rain 2's new update also a adds a brand-new stage, known as Sky Meadow, new monsters (including a boss), new music tracks, new skill variants, a major UI overhaul, and more - as outlined in the Hopoo's patch notes.
To celebrate a successful first year in early access, there's currently 20% off Risk of Rain 2 (it costs £11.99/$15.99 USD at present) until 6th April. Additionally, those players wanting to try before they buy are in luck, as Hopoo's sequel is free to download and play on Steam from Thursday, 2nd April, until Monday, 6th April - and it's definitely worth a look.