Expecting big things from this returning shooter based souls-like?
After distancing myself with Gunfire Games and their lauded Remnant: From The Ashes, I found myself again not paying much attention to the sequel which dropped July 25th on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series and PC. However here I am with a copy on my desk and a review to produce, I wasn’t a huge fan of what I played of the first title, let’s see how the sequel fares.
For those familiar with the series, we find Remnant 2 set just after the final DLC of the first game, where our protagonist is being sent out to stop “The Root”, an evil plant species which found itself back in our world after coming through with a portal. After an initial explanation through the tutorial we’re left to stop this infestation and restore humanity before all hope is lost. The story is mostly told through NPC’s and some cut scenes, it’s very much helpful if you’ve had some experience in the game before, however for those who’ve never played before the lore is a bit difficult to understand, but once you’re well into the game you’ll be understanding what’s going on much better.
Once we start playing Remnant 2, we’re given an option of 5 character classes, these give an option as to how you want to play the game initially, with a different of abilities for my main playthrough I adopted the challenger, which suited to my play in other games of this ilk, a heavy based attack character, with a two handed sword for some strong melee damage, of the other 4 starter characters, most popular seems to be the Handler, who’s got a friendly dog companion who can do things like revive, boost damage, or buff your teammates. For the more basic player, these will be perfect for a single run of the game, however those who want something more you won’t be disappointed.
There’s an additional group of classes to unlock as you progress through the game, giving some a larger expansion of play style, for example The Summoner can bring through some minions to do your dirty work or the Medic, is a bit more self explanatory. Each of these classes give a different spin on your play and you’re able to adjust your perks and get them to suit each play style perfectly.
Remnant 2’s meat and veg is less a typical “souls with guns” and morphs to something a bit more substantial. The order of the day here is a third person shooter, which sits itself on it’s own pedestal with some fast and versatile movement, controls are snappy and reactive, combat in general feels beefy. With combat being so prevalent weapons are varied, starter weapons being based around a standard set (Rifles, pistols, shotguns, LMGs), however the further you go into the depths weapons become more exotic, more powerful energy based weapons become the norm. And most of these weapons can be upgraded and modified as you progress through, a hub location has a specific vendor who’ll help you kit you out with the best possible gear.
What we do find here as well, with all that weaponry in your arsenal, is you’ll be swapping and changing a lot as the enemies in Remnant 2 are tough. As per other “souls likes” Remnant 2 is an extremely tough game for those less skilled at games, co-operative play can remedy this, where you and 2 buddies can join up together to join the hosts campaign, where progress isn’t saved on the joiners game, but your loot, mods and xp is carried over, this can obviously help people out in their own games and if you’ve got a good trio you’ll make handy work of the campaign. Though either way you’re going to be dying a lot. Often areas will be full of lower tiered enemies but these will still present a challenge, sub-bosses and larger enemies will be able to whittle your health down in seconds if you’re not keeping an eye on what’s going on, or forever dodging. Boss fights themselves are another story, these will absolutely rinse you if you’re not constantly moving or aware of your surroundings, but each fight offers an excellent challenge and you’ll feel hugely rewarded once you defeat any of these bosses.
As per Remnant 1, a lot of the areas you play through are more procedurally generated, areas are expansive and never boring, at points you’ll feel like Indiana Jones exploring a cave system full of secret rooms and items to collect, there’s only a handful of main locations here, however each of these will have different areas and sections to get through, with boss and sub-bosses to battle, hordes upon hordes of enemies, and a great deal of hidden areas which can be easily missed, there’s also a good deal of puzzling to be getting on with, and some of these can be extremely vague or hard to understand, playing co-op we found ourselves stumped trying to understand a musical note puzzle, where we had the clue but for the life of us couldn’t work it out. Each of the areas in the game have their own look and feel to them too, unlike some games where one area will have only one specific look and feel, the world in Remnant 2 offers so much unique imagery that you’ll feel like you can be looking through a kaleidoscope when playing.
As well as being a feast on the eyes, Remnant 2 has one of the most unique soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time too, boss themes are as intense as you can think of, with pulsing drums and beats, following into almost synth like tunes, occasionally you’ll be hit with string instruments and almost operatic vocals. Each individual piece of music could be picked apart and put into about 3 different genres. One boss fight has about 5 different genres, including a bit that feels like it’s been pulled right from an 80’s adventure epic and it’s almost breath-taking.
Remnant 2 was much better than I was expecting, I might have struggled with some aspects of the story, but the more I played, the more I understood, it’s visually really strong and unique, sounds fantastic and is challenging enough without being annoying. It’s a good take on the souls like genre, with it’s strong combat mechanics and plenty of substance in the game, a new game plus mode as well as the amount of secret content to find in the game. The devs themselves said there’s people with over 400 hours in Remnant 2 who still haven’t seen everything. Completionists definitely have their hands full.
It looks to be one of the most revered titles of the year.