Risk of Rain Vanilla Bandit

I elected to do the Bandit second for two basic reasons:

Firstly, the Bandit is very likely to be your second class. In fact, the Commando video would've unlocked him if that had been my only actual run of the game so far; you just need to have beaten the third level of the game at all.

Secondly, the Bandit is a very close variant on the Commando, albeit with some gimmick-ness attached, much more so than nearly every other class.

The Bandit's four moves are...

Blast: This is basically Double Tap, except it fires one shot for 150% base damage. It also has a weird gimmick where just holding down the button doesn't fire at maximum speed, with you having to button mash to get up to full speed. (Which is, according to the wiki, about 140% of the held-down speed) No cooldown.

Dynamite Toss: Lobs an explosive forward and somewhat up, arcing back down and exploding on impact with enemies/terrain for 230% base damage. Also detonates after a delay, if no impact occurs beforehand. The damage splashes in a decent-sized area. 3 second cooldown.

Smokebomb: Turns the Bandit invisible (Enemies stop tracking him and cease firing, with even homing projectiles losing their lock) and increases his movement speed. The effect breaks after 3 seconds or after using another ability. Either way, when the effect ends all enemies near the Bandit are Stunned and take 140% base damage. 13 second cooldown.

Lights Out: After a brief delay, fires a single shot for 600% damage. If this shot kills an enemy, all the Bandit's cooldowns are reset, including its own. 7 second cooldown.

Special note: In multiplayer, only one player can select the Bandit. I assume this is due to Lights Out's mechanics, as there's another class we'll get to where having multiple copies leads to slightly silly behavior.

And since in this particular run I ended up getting the Ancient Scepter again, here's what Lights Out becomes if you grab it...

Assassination: As per Lights Out, except it fires twice.

This is a pretty straightforward, powerful improvement. In addition to the obvious benefits, it also makes it a lot easier to get cooldown resets; firing into a mob of weakened enemies is much more likely to either kill an enemy in front or knock them back and kill whoever was behind them, and of course the massive firepower increase gives you far more wiggle room for whether a particular target is in range of a kill or not.

Overall, the Bandit is a lot more versatile and powerful than the Commando. Since enemies can be briefly stunned by taking large enough damage in a single hit, Blast can stun-lock enemies for a much larger portion of the game than Double Tap can, and can do so to much nastier enemies right away too, giving the Bandit a lot of safety or a good chunk of the game. Dynamite Toss not only gives similar crowd control utility to Full Metal Jacket -albeit with less range- but doubles as a tool for attacking enemies from angles they can't retaliate from. Smokebomb provides similar protection to Tactical Dive -if you pay attention, you can see in the video that even my Drones are untouchable while Smokebomb's effect is active- and has secondary utility for crowd control. Lights Out just plain hits harder against a single target than Suppressive Fire does, and if used well dramatically improves the Bandit's overall effectiveness in general.

Tactical Dive has a faster cooldown than Smokebomb, but most of the time the Bandit can offset this with Lights Out. There's also the minor point that Tactical Dive is actual immunity to all sources of damage, where Smokebomb fails to protect from eg fall damage and lava damage. Suppressive Fire's ability to stun a target isn't really missed when the Bandit is a lot more able to stunlock enemies with just Blast and can avoid being in a position to be attacked in the first place. (ie tossing Dynamite down at enemies that can't hop up ledges)

So yeah, the Bandit is very nearly a straight upgrade to the Commando, and if you're struggling with the Commando switching to the Bandit after unlocking him is a good way to maintain a broadly similar playstyle while being much better able to cope with the challenges of the game.

The Bandit's main flaw as a class is that he can really struggle to effectively deal with some of the mid-high threats. Bosses per se are usually not so bad, as they're generally balanced around how durable they are, but elite enemies (The colored variants that have much higher HP than their regular counterparts and have special effects like the blue ones crackling with electricity) can present you with multiple serious threats that are too tough to be quickly worn down and Lights Out-ed and too mobile to be abandoned, depending on what kind of base enemy they are. Keeping aware of such dangers and being willing to Smokebomb and flee is an important skill, much more so than with the Commando who can usually get in trouble, Tactical Dive, still be in trouble, finally realize he needs to leave, and Tactical Dive again to get out -activating a Smokebomb for the stun and failing to get a Lights Out kill could be a death sentence in equivalent circumstances.

On the other hand, elite enemies tend to be the biggest threats to any character. That they stand out more for the Bandit is less a commentary on an actual weakness of the Bandit's and more that he's well-equipped to handle all the threats that are supposed to be reasonably manageable.

One thing that's a bit odd with the Bandit is that Lights Out's cooldown reset tends to become less reliably useful of a move as you get deeper into the game. Enemies become swarmier, making it harder to keep track of what you've already weakened, and it's more likely that eg an enemy will outright intercept the shot in the process of spawning in. As such, while the early game is often fairly careful and deliberate, trying to wear down enemies for a Lights Out and landing it perfectly, later on you'll tend to lean a lot more heavily on Blast, Toss Dynamite, and using Smokebomb to move to a better location when things aren't so favorable anymore, with Lights Out being more useful as intermittent high damage than in pursuit of the cooldown reset. And of course against the final boss, Lights Out really is nothing more than a spike in your damage output.

Though in this particular run's case, the almighty power of DRONE CLOUD rather drowned out most everything except Smokebomb's value.

On a different note, here I get to show off Boar Beach. You just hold up in front of the spot I made the transition in, and you'll exit the snow level for Boar Beach. Though beware; I'm given to understand there's a glitch where your current HP becomes your new max HP when you make this particular transition. So don't be trying to flee into it when injured.

Boar Beach is... weird. It starts with a bunch of Boarlits (the little boars) and a few other enemies pre-spawned in, and usually you won't see anything spawn past what starts on the level if you get there reasonably early; its spawn pool is extremely limited, and only includes bosses. Expensive bosses, at that. So if you're quick to get there and quick to clear it out, it's probable that nothing will spawn before or after you active the teleporter. (Which, uniquely, doesn't have an actual timer attached to activating it) There's also a special Boarlit on the level that always drops a unique item, but this Boarlit is basically a speedbump and the unique item is not mechanically important. Its description is unhelpful, but its actual mechanics are (nearly) identical to a Tough Times, increasing your armor value. (By a little less than Tough Times)

You might guess that Boar Beach dumps you back into the level you exited to reach Boar Beach in the first place, and it's true it will always be the snow level, but it's a brand-new map, and in fact as far as I'm aware it will always specifically dump you into the broken bridge version of the snow level. As such, it can be a good idea to grab at least some of the chests before heading to Boar Beach, as they're going to be lost if you don't.

Boar Beach segues naturally into Risk of Rain's level generation!

See, it's not procedurally generated. This isn't Rogue Legacy or something. Each level has a handful of versions, whose actual terrain is fixed and unchanging. The game then randomly plops down chests, shrines, etc, and of course as you're wandering a level enemies generate regularly, but the actual terrain is only random in the sense that what level you get is random and what map of that level you get is random. This means once you've played the game a while you'll start picking up on the patterns that are consistent across all versions of a level, as well as picking up on 'x detail implies y detail' points; the broken bridge version of the snow level, for example, is incapable of offering access to Boar Beach.


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