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How to unlock characters in Risk of Rain 2

Hopoo Games’ looter-shooter Risk of Rain 2 has been in early access for a little over a year, and during that time, the team has continually added new characters to the game. Each character offers a different playstyle, from the Engineer who uses turrets to keep back baddies to Acrid, who spits poisonous gas clouds. Currently, there are nine playable characters in the game, with a 10th on the horizon. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to earn all of the Risk of Rain 2 character unlocks.

Further reading


risk of rain 2 character unlocks commando
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Unlock condition: Unlocked automatically

Commando is the character you start with in Risk of Rain 2, and for your first few runs, he’s a solid choice. Although some of the more specialized characters outclass Commando in terms of raw power, he’s easy to pilot. Tactical Dive gives you a quick way to traverse each level, while Phase Round and Suppressive Fire help with managing enemy hordes. Tactical Dive, in particular, is useful for reaching different parts of the map. If you roll right before landing, you won’t suffer any fall damage.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks huntress
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Unlock condition: Beat the first three levels

Huntress should come easily as long as you’re playing the game. All you need to do to unlock her is beat the first three levels without dying. It’s a high bar to clear if you’re playing solo on normal or hard. As long as you play on easy or gather a group of friends, though, you’ll unlock Huntress in no time.

She’s a very agile survivor, able to dart around the battlefield with ease thanks to her Blink ability. Her primary attacks, Strafe and Laser Glaive, don’t deal that much damage. However, both target and follow the closest enemy in your crosshair, allowing you to effectively attack at a distance. Of the lot, Arrow Rain is Huntress’ strongest ability out of the gate, shooting you up in the sky to rain down arrows for massive AoE damage. Like Commando’s Tactical Dive, you can use Arrow Rain and Blink to negate fall damage if timed properly.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks mul-t
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Unlock condition: Beat the first level five times

MUL-T is a highly versatile character, and you should unlock them quickly. Beat the first level five times, and MUL-T is yours. As with Huntress, you can easily do this on a solo run playing on easy, or on normal or hard with a group of friends.

The Multifunctional ability gives MUL-T access to two primary attacks: Auto-Nailgun and Rebar Puncher. The nailgun is best for short-range encounters, making up for a lack of damage with projectile speed. Rebar Puncher works best at range, dealing a massive 600% of damage with a single shot. You’ll switch back and forth between the two often, and in the process, switch between two pieces of equipment. Along with the primary attacks, MUL-T has the Transport Mode dash ability, which deals damage to enemies within the dash zone, and Blast Canister, a stun grenade particularly useful for dealing with large crowds of enemies.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks engineer
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Unlock condition: Beat 30 levels

Another character you should unlock naturally, Engineer requires you beat 30 total levels. It doesn’t matter if you beat four levels on one run and only two on the next; everything counts toward the 30-level threshold. If you’re playing solo, grind the first few levels — really until you die — on easy. With a group, try to get as far as possible before dying.

A good Engineer player knows that the best offense is a good defense. Unlike the previous characters, the Engineer works by placing turrets, shields, and mines to trip up enemies. The Bubble Shield allows outgoing projectiles through while blocking incoming ones, while Pressure Mines deal AoE damage (and even more on direct contact). Out of all the Engineer’s abilities, though, the TR12 Gauss Auto-Turret is the most important. You can place up to two turrets, and although they don’t deal much damage on their own, they inherit all of your items. Bustling Fungus, for example, normally creates a healing bubble around the user. With the Engineer, the effect applies to your turrets, too.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks artificer
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Unlock condition: Spend 10 Lunar Coins to free the prisoner

Huntress, MUL-T, and Engineer all come naturally. The rest of the characters require a little more effort. For the Artificer, your first step is to collect 10 Lunar Coins. If you have the chance to collect 11, you should (more on that in a moment). Lunar Coins are rare drops from enemies, so 10 won’t come easily. As long as you pay attention to them while unlocking the other characters, though, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

With your Lunar Coins, you need to go to the Bazaar Between Time, the “shop” in Risk of Rain 2. There’s a chance that a blue portal will spawn automatically, but you can make it manually spawn, too. By spending a Lunar Coin at a Newt Altar — available in every stage — you can open the portal to the Bazaar Between Time. Make sure to do this before activating the teleporter. If going the manual route, you’ll need 11 Lunar Coins. No matter how you spawn the portal, you’ll know it’s there if you see the phrase “a blue orb appears” in the chatbox. Once that shows up, activate the teleporter, beat the stage boss, and you’ll find a blue portal at the end of the stage.

Once you’re in the Bazaar Between Time, you can find a crystal beside a giant newt labeled “free the survivor.” It costs 10 Lunar Coins. Enter your coins, and the Artificer is yours.

The Artificer doesn’t have any roll or dodge abilities, but with the ENV Suit, you can hover in the air. The main attack, Flame Bolt, deals solid damage, but after four shots, the rate of fire decreases dramatically. Hold back, and only shoot a few shots here and there. If you or your team is overwhelmed, you can use the Artificer’s Snapfreeze and Flamethrower abilities to make quick work of them. Snapfreeze deals a little damage, but more importantly, it freezes enemies in place. That gives you enough time to move in for a close-range Flamethrower attack. Additionally, the Charged Nano-Bomb deals massive AoE stun damage, but as the name implies, you’ll need to charge it.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks mercenary
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Unlock condition: Reach “A Moment, Fractured” and use the Obelisk

To unlock the Mercenary, you’ll need to reach the “A Moment, Fractured” environment, which is only accessible via the Celestial Portal. Once you beat a fourth stage environment, you’ll loop back to a first stage environment, though with higher item costs. On your first loop, you can open the Celestial Portal on a third stage environment, either Rallypoint Delta or Scorched Acres. You’ll know you’re in the right spot if you see the phrase “a celestial orb has appeared” in the chatbox. Once it shows up, activate the teleporter and beat the environment boss. Instead of going through the teleporter, head through the Celestial Portal.

On the other side is A Moment, Fractured. Getting there is the hard part, thankfully. Once in the new environment, follow the floating platforms — a solid dash ability works best here, so we recommend using Huntress — until you reach the Obelisk. This is the “ending” of the game (ignoring the Celestial Portal will simply go over the same loop). Activate it, and your team’s run will immediately end. In exchange, you’ll unlock the Mercenary and five Lunar Coins.

The Mercenary wields a sword, and as such, is more agile than the other characters. Laser Sword is your standard attack, dealing a decent 130% of damage with each slice. Every third attack, though, Laser Sword deals 300% over a greater range. Unfortunately, you can’t store this third attack for an opportune time; it only comes up as part of a three swing combo. That said, the combo continues while sprinting, jumping, or using non-primary skills.

You’ll probably use Mercenary’s other abilities more with their low cooldown time. Whirlwind sends two massive horizontal strikes on the ground and two vertical strikes in the air, while Eviscerate lets you hack away at an enemy without taking damage. Blinding Assault pulls double duty, serving as an assault and maneuverability skill. With it, you can dash forward and deal massive stun damage to enemies. If you hit an enemy during your dash, you can repeat the process up to three times.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks rex
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Unlock condition: Bring your Fuel Array to Rex in the Abyssal Depths

Unlocking Rex is surprisingly straightforward but not exactly easy. The goal is to bring a Fuel Array to Rex, who’s located in the Abyssal Depths (a fourth stage environment). The problem: You have to carry the Fuel Array in one of your usable item slots, and if your health ever drops below 50%, it will explode and kill you. There are some ways around the damage — you can use Mercenary’s Eviscerate for a brief moment of invulnerability — but no matter what, the Fuel Array will explode if you drop below half health, forcing you to restart the whole process.

Thankfully, getting the Fuel Array isn’t hard. Right after you drop in the first environment, examine the back of your escape pod to pick it up. You’ll need to use a character that starts from an intact escape pod (basically, any character other than MUL-T or Acrid). Once you reach the Abyssal Depths with the Fuel Array, find Rex and give it to them. You should easily spot Rex, but if you’re having trouble, refer to the image above.

Rex is a cross between a robot and a plant that uses HP to cast skills. Seed Barrage deals AoE damage for the low cost of 15% of your health, while Bramble Volley deals slightly more damage and heals you for every target hit (at the cost of 20% health, in this case). Rex’s main attack is Natural Toxins, which weakens attacks and reduces movement, damage, and armor. Rex is powerful from a distance, weakening attacks and finishing off mobs. Be careful managing your health, though. It goes quickly.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks loader
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Unlock condition: Defeat the secret boss in Siren’s Call

Siren’s Call is a fourth stage environment, so you don’t need to open any special portals to reach it. In Siren’s Call, you can find eggs scattered around the map. Destroy one, and the chatbox will read, “you hear a distant whirring.” Continue on, destroying eggs as you find them. Once you destroy five or six, the message “the whirring grows loud” will show up in the chatbox. Once it does, head to the center of the map to find the Alloy Worship Unit boss. Defeat the boss, and the Loader is yours, along with a rare item for each player in your party.

The Loader is a brute character, able to deal huge chunks of damage with slow, methodical attacks. Charged Gauntlet is a good example of Loader’s playstyle. It charges up for a flying punch that can deal up to 2,700% damage. Knuckleboom is less impressive, dealing 320% damage, but it’s not on a cooldown. Despite being slow on the ground, you can move around quickly with Loader if you know what you’re doing. Scrap Barrier makes Loader invincible against fall damage while offering a temporary barrier with each attack, while Grapple Fist allows you to quickly reposition with a grappling hook.


risk of rain 2 character unlocks acrid
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Unlock condition: Activate nine Void Cells in the Void Fields

Acrid is the most difficult character to unlock by far. You need to travel to the Void Fields, which is a secret zone within a secret zone. First, you need to travel to the Bazaar Between Time (if you’re having trouble, refer to the Artificer entry above). This environment has a seemingly bottomless pit. It’s not bottomless, though, and at its end, you’ll find a portal. Upon entering the Bazaar Between Time, walk forward a few steps and look down. You’ll see a yellow-green glow along with a series of tubes.

Huntress is the best character for reaching the bottom, but any survivor that can easily avoid fall damage is fair game. Jump toward one of the tubes, saving your dash for right before you land. Once you reach the bottom, there’s only one path forward. At the end of it, you’ll find a Null Portal, leading to the Void Fields.

In the Void Fields, you need to activate nine Void Cells. You’ll spawn next to one, so you only need to track down eight others. A small semi-circle surrounds each cell, which expands once you activate the cell. If you leave this zone, you’ll continually take damage. Worse, once you activate a cell and it begins charging, enemies will start attacking you. Stick close to the cell while it’s charging, defeating enemies as they come. You can only activate one cell at a time, so there’s no need to look for others while you have one charging. Once the charge is done, the safe zone around the cell will shrink. The next cell will have a beam of light shooting into the sky, so you won’t need to hang around in the toxic environment for too long.

Although you can exit through the portal you entered through at any time, you can’t return to the Void Fields in the same run. It may take a few tries, not only to reach the Void Fields, but to complete the Void Cell challenge. Once you activate nine cells, though, you’ll unlock the last character in the game, Acrid.

Its main Poison attack deals damage over time, but it can’t kill enemies. Vicious Wounds comes in to finish the job, dealing 200% damage with each swipe and 400% with each third swipe. Caustic Leap allows you to get around the battlefield quickly, darting into the air and slamming on the ground for poison and stun damage. It pairs particularly well with Rex’s Epidemic ability, which releases a pool of deadly poison that spreads to up to 20 enemies.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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