Remnant 2 is an impressive package for both the returning players and the newcomers. “Dark Souls With Guns” holds true.
Upon its release in 2019, Remnant: From the Ashes was often described as “Dark Souls with Guns.” While I had heard a lot about the original game, various constraints prevented me from trying it out. However, with the announcement of Remnant 2 during The Game Awards 2022, I decided that this time, I would definitely give it a shot. Consequently, this review comes from someone who didn’t play the first game and may be particularly appealing to newcomers.
Remnant II retains its essence as “Dark Souls with Guns,” and if you’re a fan of games that challenge players’ skills, you’ll likely find Remnant II captivating right from the outset.
The game offers multiple difficulty options, starting with Survivor difficulty. Veteran, Nightmare, and Apocalypse represent higher difficulty levels, with the last option initially locked for the first playthrough. As the developers have explained, these difficulty levels differ from traditional ones, and they don’t recommend starting with Nightmare. While newcomers like me heeded the developer’s advice, I’m certain that veterans will be eager to dive into hardcore mode right from the beginning. Indeed, the game allows you to choose “Hardcore Mode” right from the start as well.
I recently had the chance to play Elden Ring, and while some may appreciate having multiple difficulty levels to challenge themselves, I believe that a single universal difficulty setting could have made the game more enticing for everyone. However, considering the game relies on procedural generation, this approach may be the most suitable for a wider audience. My recommendation? Stick to Survivor or Veteran difficulty levels, as suggested by the developers.
Similar to most character-driven games, Remnant 2 starts with character creation. Nevertheless, don’t expect an abundance of options in this department. Despite the limited choices available, you can still craft a respectable character tailored to your preferences. Notably, character creation does not include the selection of a class (Archetype), which will be introduced a bit later in the game.
Although Remnant 2 shares certain Soulslike characteristics, it doesn’t entirely abandon players to figure things out from the start. In the initial stages, there’s a sort of tutorial, and of course, you have the option to skip it when creating new characters. Nonetheless, having key aspects explained at the beginning is a welcome inclusion, if not a necessity.
Visually, while the game exhibits improvements compared to Remnant: From the Ashes, it doesn’t reach the pinnacle of graphical prowess, which is understandable considering the game places significant emphasis on gameplay. I can’t provide an in-depth discussion of performance as there is a performance patch slated for release on all platforms. This patch is anticipated to bring substantial performance enhancements. The version of the game I played did encounter some performance issues, although they weren’t as severe as those in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Consequently, I expect a much smoother experience after the launch with the performance patch in place.
Remnant 2 introduces a variety of diverse worlds, each subject to change with every playthrough. These worlds feature their own distinct missions and objectives, ensuring a dynamic and engaging experience. The environments within each world showcase significant diversity, preventing monotony. In terms of size, due to procedural generation, exact dimensions are uncertain, but for a single playthrough, dedicating several hours to main missions is a reasonable estimate.
Fortunately, the game adeptly distinguishes between main quests and side activities, offering enjoyable diversions in side dungeons and areas that don’t always culminate in boss fights. Moreover, the game provides area level information, empowering players to gauge their readiness for each section.
Combat in Remnant 2 is highly enjoyable, with solid gunplay mechanics that sustain extended gaming sessions. Engaging enemies and bosses with firearms offers a satisfying experience, and when foes draw near, melee weapons become an additional option for dispatching them. Skills and mods introduce a wealth of choices for players, allowing them to tailor their approach to various adversaries.
Stamina-based dodge rolls and sprinting add strategic depth, compelling players to master enemy move-sets as they can’t rely on infinite rolls or sprinting.
A respectable assortment of weapons is available, and while players may primarily stick to one weapon and keep it upgraded, there are ample options in Remnant 2 to suit different scenarios. Sidearms, in particular, have a notable impact, depending on the mutator or mod applied. I often equipped crowd control mods on sidearms when facing hordes of enemies.
As is customary in Soulslike games, specific resting points (checkpoints) are scattered across different maps. Resting at these checkpoints triggers enemy respawns, replenishes the player’s health, and restores Relic charges. Additionally, these resting spots serve as fast travel points, enabling players to return to the base (Ward 13) or travel to other checkpoints as needed.
The Resting Spots in Remnant 2 also serve as a means for matchmaking. The game provides you with the option to determine the accessibility of your game—whether it remains public, friends-only, or completely private. If you wish to join someone else’s game, the matchmaking feature conveniently displays available sessions. Typically, these sessions align with your level, although exceptions may occur, allowing players to join worlds or power levels different from their own.
Conversely, if your game session isn’t set to Private, other players can also enter your world. The player who joins will reap the benefits and loot, but upon returning to their world, they must tackle the objectives independently. This is because the worlds generated for other players are likely to differ from those in your own game.
Throughout my playthrough, there were instances where other players joined me, leading to enjoyable cooperative experiences. The player entering the session doesn’t spawn unless the host player rests at a checkpoint. Overall, the cooperative gameplay felt fantastic, and the game truly shines when played with friends. While engaging with random players can be enjoyable, it might not provide the same level of fun as with friends.
As you progress through your playthrough, Remnant 2 will unlock adventure mode for you. This mode is primarily designed for shorter experiences, with the aim of accomplishing specific objectives or defeating particular bosses. At any given time, the game permits you to have one campaign and one adventure running concurrently, without resetting your campaign’s progress.
One aspect that posed a challenge, however, was dealing with reset enemies. It can be quite challenging to bypass them quickly when you want to reach a specific point without engaging in combat. The issue stems from the fact that being in combat mode—regardless of whether you’ve fired a shot—depletes your stamina when sprinting. With limited stamina, evading enemies becomes difficult. Consequently, if you’re frequently facing difficulties in a particular area or region, this aspect might become a source of frustration. On a positive note, outside of combat, your stamina remains unaffected and doesn’t deplete.
Similar to its predecessor, Remnant 2 features puzzles that will undoubtedly challenge your intellect. The specific puzzle you encounter first is contingent upon the initial planet you explore. Personally, I had a bit of a struggle with the puzzle on my initial world. While I did manage to find a solution, I found it somewhat perplexing to decipher precisely how to apply that solution. Nevertheless, for those who relish solving mysteries, these puzzles will provide a delightful experience.
Within the world of Remnant 2, you’ll also come across NPCs who can offer valuable hints and clues pertaining to particular quests or objectives. Therefore, it is highly advisable to engage in conversations with them whenever you encounter these helpful characters.
Remnant 2 truly shines with its Archetype system, which essentially serves as the game’s class system. These Archetypes become available for selection after completing the tutorial, offering five distinct options, with Gunslinger as a pre-order bonus. Throughout much of my playthrough, I primarily utilized the Medic class, and I found it to be an excellent choice, especially during solo play. I’m confident that Medic and Challenger will emerge as favorite classes for solo players.
During a significant portion of your playthrough, you’ll exclusively utilize your starting archetype. However, once you reach level 10 with your initial archetype, you gain the ability to equip another archetype, adding a layer of complexity and versatility to character development. This grants players the freedom to tailor their character according to their preferences. While you can use the skills and traits of the secondary archetype, you can only employ one prime perk at a time.
In Remnant 2, there are numerous avenues for character building and improvement. Each class is equipped with a set of skills and a selection of perks that unlock as you progress through the game. You can only equip one skill at a time, and there are four distinct categories of perks catering to various needs such as damage, team dynamics, and utility.
In addition to skills and perks, Remnant 2 also introduces Traits, which players can upgrade as they level up. Trait points can be acquired throughout the game world, providing further customization options. As your character levels up, more trait cards specific to your archetype will unlock, allowing you to prioritize which traits to enhance first. Each class also features an Archetype Trait, which upgrades automatically as you level up.
The game provides players with ample freedom when it comes to selecting and equipping gear. There are ten equipment slots available, one of which is designated for relics. Players can customize their equipment by adding mods and mutators according to their preferences. These mods and mutators can be crafted or purchased from merchants at the base.
Ward 13, your base of operations, houses various merchants and NPCs who offer a range of services for upgrades and purchases. The game offers guidance regarding nearly every NPC and their respective roles, eliminating any concerns you might have. Remnant 2 also features a trait point reset option, allowing you to reallocate your character’s development as desired. This service does require some resources, and an NPC in Ward 13 can assist you with this process.
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.
In Remnant 2, while normal and elite enemies certainly present challenges, it’s the Bosses that truly push your abilities to the limit. The boss design is remarkably impressive, emphasizing the need to eliminate them swiftly to survive rather than enduring lengthy battles against bullet sponges. Naturally, as the difficulty increases, these boss encounters become even more formidable and demanding. Each map features multiple bosses, including a primary quest boss and several side bosses.
All in all, Remnant 2 offers a concise yet engaging package that will captivate players for an extended duration. With greater player freedom, the game opens up a multitude of possibilities. In my view, it stands as a commendable sequel to the first game, and fans of the series are likely to appreciate it immensely. For newcomers like myself, it represents a must-try experience that should unquestionably be on your radar.