It’s like Soulsbornes but with guns
I have to say that before a few weeks ago, Remnant: From the Ashes wasn’t even on my radar. Sure, I had heard of it. However, there were just so many games out there I just didn’t pay it any attention. Thankfully, that was all changed when the developers and community managers talking about and playing the game.
Game Name: Remnant: From the Ashes
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Perfect World Entertainment
Developer(s): Gunfire Games
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Every once in a while, a game gets released that has little marketing hype, yet ends up being a game that becomes a must-play. That’s exactly what Remnant: From the Ashes has been for me. I don’t understand how I didn’t even hear about it until a month ago.
Trying to describe the game to my friends went something like this. hey guys, check out this game that’s like “Soulsborne games with Guns”. For the most part, that’s the most accurate description of the game. Gunfire Games took bits and pieces of other games, infused them together and out came Remnant: From the Ashes. Which worked out well and has been a most unexpected surprise of 2019.
What’s interesting about this title is not only the gameplay that grabs you but the story elements. At first, you’re sent to go find this so-called savior of humanity. However, thanks to a certain chain of events, things don’t go the way you planned them to. Suddenly you find yourself ultimately smack in the middle of a war and things just start progressing from there. It’s not just the story, but also the lore of the game that has been planted in various locations. You’ll find bits and pieces from NPCs, computer terminals, and journals that are set across the world. The more you find and read up on, the more the overall story starts to take form. I found myself checking every room searching for more tidbits about the game since due to this.
There’s also a character customization tool that you’ll use to create your character. I thought it provided more than enough options to create several characters that I would unleash into the world. With one concern, that being the haircuts. I’m a black male and out of all the available haircuts, there was only two out of the suitable. Yes, I’m nitpicking but only cause I care about things like this.
A simple to understand level system also makes an appearance, as this is still an RPG. As you play through the game, you’ll earn experience points and traits. These traits will let you upgrade several attributes such as stamina, strength, bonus experience point gains, sneaking ability and more. You’ll also acquire specific traits by downing bosses. All you do is drop a point or several into a trait and that’s it.
Sure, there’s plenty of action as well. As I had previously mentioned several titles, Remnant: From the Ashes borrows heavily from those games. The combat system is very reminiscent of the Soulsbornes games, but at the heart of the game is a third-person shooter. You have your melee attack, ranged attack, dodge/roll and that’s it. Notice how I didn’t mention a blocking system, as there isn’t one. It’s either take the hit or dodge, the latter being something you’ll be doing a lot. There’s a nice variety of weapons and gear that you’ll come across in the game. Weapons in the form of melee for being up and personal, while utilizing multiple guns in the game to dish out some ranged damage.
There’s a nice variety of gear to be found and acquired as well. You won’t pick up armor and weapons at every turn, but when you do get some new gear it’s typically useful in one way or another. In addition to this, you’ll be able to upgrade your gear, craft new ones from items you collect from downed bosses. It’s not a looter shooter by any stretch, don’t expect to find gear at every turn or a bunch of useless gear.
One thing that stood out was how well the combat feels. Aiming is snappy, and I found myself easily able to target enemies, even on a controller. While dodging didn’t feel clunky unless you’re encumbered, then you’d start fat-rolling. Another thing that stood out was the amount of freedom that the game gave you. For example, you can vault over the railings which is helpful during combat or when you just wait to avoid stairs. Sure, it doesn’t sound very important, but it’s one of those nice to have things. Trust me, I’ve been vaulting all over the place. While boss battles give you a huge area that you can use for planning strategies, running away to heal up or just because you need to distance yourself from the boss.
Remnant: From the Ashes is broken up into four worlds and while that may not seem like a lot. It’s the amount of content that’s spread across each world that makes each of them take longer than expected. You’ll easily spend 3-4 hours in a world or more, depending on how well you do. Not to mention that the game features procedural generation ensures that every playthrough of a world is different. It doesn’t happen every time you die or start up the game. Also, you can initiate a world change via what’s called a re-roll.
For example, say a world has a chance to spawn two different bosses, and one happens to have an item you want. If you didn’t get it the first time through, you can just re-roll the world and hope that you get it next time. It’s not 100% you’ll still get it but having the ability to attempt it was an ingenious idea. On top of this, there’s an “AI Director” that is constantly monitoring how well you play. If you’re tearing through everything, it will spawn tougher enemies to give you an added challenge. At one point, it spawned several enemies, a mini-boss and a named boss at the same time. Needless to say, it didn’t end well for me. I was puzzled what had happened and tried to make it happen again, only to see that I couldn’t.
Of course, the shining star in all of this is the multiplayer aspect. Yes, you can play the game solo by going offline, but that’s boring. Being able to play with two other players in either friend or public mode is where the game gets interesting. In similar games, once the boss encounter of the level is over, the co-op stops. In Remnant, they stay on until they leave or you end the session. I’ve had several sessions where I and another player ran through several levels and it was enjoyable. Not to mention having another body available means that if you get downed, the game isn’t over. Instead, the other player can revive you if they have enough heals left. Loved playing co-op, though during my review the system wasn’t very reliable. Gunfire Games has stated they would address this in a patch which likely is live by the time this review is released.
This game has so much going for, though I have a few annoyances. The stamina system is wonky No matter how many points you put into your endurance, you still find yourself running of stamina. Healing item usage could be a bit faster as well. The UI could also use some work as there isn’t any place that shows what your current mission is. The map could also use a zoom function, as on larger screens it’s a bit too small to read. I also encountered several encounters where my character would simply die even though I didn’t lose all of my health.
Outside of that, I found that Remnant: From the Ashes has been a very interesting experience. It sits right in the middle of being something that Soulsborne and third-person shooter fans would enjoy. With the right amount of content, a nice amount of combat and it’s a breath of fresh air for this Soulsborne veteran. Now that THQ has picked Gunfire Games, I’m hoping that we’ll see more of Remnant, in either DLC form or another game in the series.
Remnant: From the Ashes finds a nice balance of emulating the Soulsborne games while retaining what makes a great third-person shooter, all set in an Action RPG world. Possessing a nice amount of combat, interesting gaming world mechanics, and a healthy amount of replay value. This is a must-play sleeper of 2019.
- The combat system is amazing.
- The co-op system is a blast and I love that it doesn’t end after you down a boss.
- Re-rolling the world ensures your experience will always change.
- The UI could use some work.
- The difficulty ramps up too high at times.