I did it. I avoided Souls comparisons.
I had honestly never heard of Remnant before being asked to review it. I took a look at some gameplay videos before jumping in and thought it looked decent enough, and I never really back down from a review, so I took it. While I can most certainly see some faults with the game, I have to say I’m very happy I decided to play it.
Remnant: From the Ashes is set in a post apocalyptic world where demonic beings known as The Root have taken over Earth. Players take on the role of a survivor who is desperately trying to reach a tower past a sea, but finds themselves shipwrecked on the other side of the sea after a major storm. They find themselves on the brink of death but transported to a safe haven called Ward 13. There, other survivors ask the player to help with defenses and uncover the mystery behind the founder of Ward 13, all the while trying to take down as many Root as possible.
This is an action 3rd person shooter with an emphasis on randomly generated areas where players must go from checkpoint to checkpoint slowly progressing through tough enemies with only a limited supply of healing items. If they die, they are sent back to the last checkpoint they used and all the enemies will have respawned. They can also summon other players to their game to help out with the difficult boss fights or explore the areas.
Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1
Price I’d pay: $39.99
The shooting feels great here. With a decent array of weapons to use, players can find a loadout that fits their play style. I decided to stick with my pistol and shotgun and keep the heavy armor on so I could get up close and personal, but for players wanting to stay away from their targets, long range weapons are available. There is also a melee weapon that can be used for the closing enemies. It works, but is not very intuitive. I used it as a last resort for the most part. Players will find and craft new weapons and armor throughout their playtime. Each boss defeated will drop a special item that can be used back at the Ward to either craft a weapon mod or a new weapon. These usually provide a good buff or special damage that can aid in the coming areas.
Characters will also level up and gain trait points that they can spend to increase their traits. Traits are found naturally through playing the game in different ways or by progressing the story. This is where the complex builds can come into play. Certain traits will offer up bonuses to play styles. For instance, I could totally make a melee focused build if I wanted to – using certain weapons with weapon mods and traits that up my damage output with melee. Traits come in all shapes and sizes and unlock after doing certain things.
The boss fights feel rather epic in scale even when the boss isn’t the largest enemy in the area. Dodging attacks, managing stamina, and holding off the minions is a frantic juggling act that can be punishing if not playing conservatively. The boss fights are just difficult enough to give that big sense of accomplishment when finally taking one down. I mentioned it earlier here, but every boss fights seems to use minions a bit too much. It’s usually enemies that rush the players and it forces them to stop worrying about the boss and have to take care of them. It cheapens the boss fights and I wish it really wasn’t there.
The world is a brutal place, but one doesn’t have to go at it alone. Remnant has online co-op with up to three players. Players can recruit their friends to join them in the fight or leave their game open to have some random heroes come in the help take down that pesky boss that has been beating them. There is one drawback – playing co-op means that area and story progression is limited to the host. While the players that join a game will keep their items, trait level, and newly acquire armor and weapons, when they return to their game, they will still be where they left off in their single player game. Sure, other games do this as well, but it still stings a little to not make the same progress. Because of this, it’s hard to find co-op partners when just leaving the game open to the public. I played a good hour session during peak gaming hours with my world open for anyone to join and not a single person ever came in. Either people aren’t looking to help out others or there’s something going on with the servers. I was able to play with a friend easily enough and I even helped out a few random players by searching for a quick public game, but no one ever joined my game the few times I left it open.
While I have avoided comparing Remnant to any other games, there are obviously some influences here. It has its difficulty, it is has its quirks, and it has its co-op mechanics, but, Remnant is much more accessible for players than other games in this style and that is perfect for me. Instead of me bashing my face into a brick wall for three hours trying to beat a boss, I can figure out the boss’ patterns, level up a bit, upgrade my armor, summon a player to help, and other things that allow me to beat it in maybe five to eight tries rather than twenty. It’s nice to have that feeling of triumph without the headache of not progressing for hours on end.
Fans of shooters and challenging games will have a lot of fun here. Sure, the boss fights can get a bit annoying with the minions, the randomly generated areas can get repetitive, and the co-op, while it works well, isn’t perfect, but the world, the action, and the feel of Remnant is really what makes it a great playing game and one I think everyone should give a shot, especially at the price point it is at.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.