When Remnant: From the Ashes was released back in 2019, it was hailed as “Dark Souls with Guns”. While I heard a lot about the first game, due to different restraints, I was unable to try this one out. But when Remnant 2 was announced during The Game Awards 2022, I thought that this time, I will definitely give it a go. So this review is basically from someone who didn’t play the first game and can be more appealing to newcomers.
Remnant II is still Dark Souls with Guns and if you love the games that test players’ abilities, you most probably are going to get hooked to Remnant II right off the bat.
The game offers different difficulty options starting from Survivor difficulty. Veteran, Nightmare, and Apocalypse are higher difficulties with the last option being locked for the first playthrough. As the developers have already explained, these difficulty levels aren’t like the traditional ones and they don’t recommend players to go with Nightmare as a starting difficulty. While someone like me took the developer’s advice as a newcomer, I am pretty sure that Veterans would want to go hardcore right from the start. And yes, the game offers you the opportunity to choose “Hardcore Mode” right from the start as well.
I have played Elden Ring recently and while some might appreciate multiple difficulties to challenge themselves, I think that a single difficulty for everyone in the game could have been more enticing. But again, for a game relying on procedural generation, this might be the best option for everyone. My advice? Don’t go beyond Survivor or Veteran difficulty as developers have suggested.
Like most character-driven games, Remnant 2 will ask you to create a character from the start. However, don’t expect too many options here. Still, you can create a decent character of your choice out of those limited options. Character creation doesn’t include class (Archetype) selection which will come a little later in the game.
While Remnant 2 is Soulslike in different aspects, it doesn’t entirely leave players to figure out things on their own from the start. There is a tutorial of sorts in the beginning and of course, if you want to create new characters, you can skip it but it’s nice to have things explained in the beginning, mostly, if not all.
Visually, while the game looks like an improvement over Remnant: From the Ashes, it’s not the top-tier step which is understandable for a game that focuses a lot on gameplay. I can’t really discuss the performance here as there is a performance patch scheduled for every platform around launch. The patch is expected to improve the performance considerably. The version I played the game on did have performance issues but it wasn’t like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor so yes, I am expecting it to be much smoother after the launch.
Remnant 2 has different Worlds which won’t be the same for each playthrough. Each world will have its own missions and objectives. The environments for each world are quite diverse so you won’t get bored quickly. And if you are wondering how big these worlds are, well, with procedural generation at play, you can’t really be sure. However, for a single playthrough, it can easily take you a few hours if you just want to stick to the main missions.
Luckily, the game helps you differentiate between the main quests and side activities. Side dungeons/areas can be quite fun as they don’t always end up in a boss fight. The game also tells you the level of an area so you also have the idea if you are prepared to clear that section easily or not.
Combat in the game is quite fun. The gunplay is solid and those mechanics, luckily, will get you through long sessions of Remnant 2. Shooting those enemies and bosses with your weapons feels great and when they get closer to you, the melee weapons give you an extra option to slay the enemies. With Skills and mods into play, Remnant 2 give a variety of options to the players on how they want to go about killing different foes.
Dodge rolls and sprinting with Stamina as a limiting factor will force players to learn the move-sets of enemies as they won’t have infinite rolls or sprint
There is a decent variety of weapons and while you will stick to one weapon most of the time and keep it upgraded, if you want to switch things for different scenarios, there are ample options available in Remnant 2. Side arms in the game are also quite impactful depending on which mutator or mod you have on them. I usually kept CC mods on sidearms if I had to deal with a hoard of enemies quickly.
Just like Soulslike games, there are specific resting points (checkpoints) on different maps. Resting at these checkpoints will respawn enemies and restore the player’s health and Relic charges. These Resting Spots also serve the purpose of Fast Travel. Players can go back to the base (Ward 13) from these crystals or travel to other checkpoints.
The Resting Spots also serve the purpose of matchmaking. The game allows you to choose if you want to keep your game public, friends restricted or just keep it the way so that no one can join you. If you want to join someone’s game, you can use the matchmaking feature which will show you the sessions you can join. Usually, the sessions are around your level however, if that is not the case, any world or power level can be joined. Other players can join your world as well if your game session is not set to Private. The player who joins will get the benefits and the loot however, when he returns to his world, he/she will have to do that objective on their own. That is because the worlds rolled for others would be most likely different from the ones rolled for you.
During my playtime, there were a couple of instances where other players joined me and we had some fun. The player who has joined the session won’t spawn unless the other player rests at a checkpoint. Overall, the co-op felt great and the game is a lot more fun if you have friends to play with. With random people, it might not be as fun.
After some time into your playthrough, the game will also unlock adventure mode for you. This mode is basically designed for shorter experiences, to complete a certain objective or kill specific bosses. At one time, Remnant 2 will allow you to just have one campaign and one adventure running. Adventures won’t reset your campaign’s progress.
One thing I didn’t like about resetting enemies is that it’s really hard to run past them and ignore them if you want to get to a point quickly. This is due to the fact that while you are in combat (even if you haven’t shot a bullet), sprinting will drain the stamina and with limited stamina, you can’t really run past them. So if you are dying a lot in a certain area or region, you might get frustrated by this. Out of combat, however, your Stamina won’t drain.
Just like the first game, Remnant 2 also has some puzzles which will require some head-scratching. Which puzzle you come across first will depend on the planet you roll first. I actually hated the one which was on my first world. Although I found the solution, it was then confusing how exactly I should translate that solution. Anyway, those who like to solve mysteries will have a great time with them. The world of Remnant 2 will have some NPCs who can also give you hints and clues about a certain quest or objective so it’s recommended that you talk with them when you see them.
Remnant 2’s Archetype system is something where the game mainly shines. Archetypes are basically classes that the game will allow you to choose after the tutorial. There are 5 of them with Gunslinger being the pre-order bonus. For the most part, I played with the Medic and I was happy to have gone with it especially when I was playing alone for the most part. I am sure that Medic and Challenger will be the favorite classes for solo players.
For a considerable chunk of your playthrough, you will be playing with a single archetype, your starting archetype. After hitting level 10 with it, you will get the option to equip another archetype which makes things a lot more interesting. This will give players more freedom to build their character the way they want. While players will be able to utilize skills, and traits of secondary archetype, the prime perk will not be available as players can use only one prime perk at a time.
There are plenty of ways to build and improve your character in Remnant 2. Each class comes with a set of skills and a bunch of perks that you unlock as you progress through the game. You can equip only one skill at a time and there will be 4 different types of perks for different needs like damage, team, and utility.
Apart from Skills and Perks, there are Traits in Remnant 2 which players can upgrade as they level up. Trait points can also be acquired throughout the world. As you level up, more trait cards will unlock for your archetype and it will be up to you to decide which trait you want to level up first. There will be one Archetype Trait as well for each class which will upgrade automatically as you level up.
The game also gives players freedom when it comes to the gear they want to equip. There are 10 equipment slots with one being reserved for relics. Players can choose to add mods and mutators to the equipment according to their liking. Players can also craft or buy these mods and mutators from the merchants back at the base.
Merchants and NPCs in Ward 13 (your base) will offer your different services for upgrades and purchases. The game will guide you about almost every NPC and its purpose so you won’t have to worry much about them. Remnant 2 also allows you to reset your trait points if you don’t like how your character has developed. You will have to spend some resources though and an NPC in Ward 13 can get the job done for you.
Relics will also play an important part in your build and your playstyle. By default, players will have the famous Dragon Heart which can heal players on consumption. It can, however, be changed with some other relic. While it sounds strange to change a healing item with some other effect in-game, I am sure players will find crazy ways to utilize this feature. These relics can further equip certain relic fragments into relic slots. These relic fragments can be crafted as well as they can be found throughout the world. Each relic fragment will give some boost like critical strike chance or Critical Strike damage. There are a lot of Relic Fragments in Remnant 2 so you can experiment a lot with this as well. You can also upgrade the charges of these relics from the NPC that also resets traits.
While normal and elite enemies pose a threat to you, Bosses are the real challenge in Remnant 2. Boss design is quite impressive and instead of being Bullet sponges, it’s like kill them fast before they kill you. Naturally, with higher difficulty, these boss fights will pose more threat and challenge. Each map has multiple bosses including one main quest boss and some side bosses.
Overall, Remnant 2 is a compact package that will keep you engaged for a long while, and with more freedom for players, there are a lot of possibilities. I think it’s a worthy sequel to the first game and the fans are going to love this as well. As for newcomers like me, it’s a definite experience that should definitely be on your radar.