Remnant: From the Ashes was one of those games that I only played because it hit PlayStation Plus, but that I ended up absolutely loving. Don’t get me wrong, based around the core gameplay mechanics alone, it didn’t do anything too special, but playing it with a friend? It was wonderful and still stands out as one of my favourite co-op experiences from last-gen. Remnant II takes everything that made the original so good and improves upon it in every single way.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Following on from the first game, Remnant II sees Earth seemingly freed from the malicious Root that had previously brought a blight across the world. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t struck OTHER worlds though, which is something you venture forth to uncover when an ally finds themselves pulled into another dimension that is plagued by the Root’s presence. It’s up to you to rescue them and, ultimately, take down the Root once and for all. That’s putting it in a nutshell really, because there’s a lot more going on that links up the events of the first game in meaningful ways. Heck, you’ll even see some familiar faces, which is sure to keep returning players happy.
However, whilst the stakes feel high, the story didn’t do a whole lot to pull me in. There’s nothing bad about it at all, but rather that it was hard to feel invested in these other worlds quite as much when compared to the struggles players would’ve gone through in the first game when trying to save Earth. It’s nice to have some intriguing context to all of the adventuring and it’s always interesting to interact with the unusual characters you encounter on your journey, but the narrative didn’t hook me in quite as much as it did in the previous game.
It doesn’t matter too much though, especially since Remnant II is so damn fun to play. I’ve heard the series be described as ‘Dark Souls with guns’ in the past, and yeah, in some ways that’s pretty fitting, with the third-person action seeing players strategically pick off enemies from afar with their rifles, blast them up-close with a shotty, or even hold them off with rapid-fire pistol shots in calculated showdowns that focus heavily on keeping a distance. There’s an emphasis placed on conserving ammo and knowing when to attack up-close, but, at its core, this is a third-person shooter with a strategic twist. The shooting feels great though, with weapons genuinely feeling like they pack some punch and your foes formidable enough that they’ll keep you on your toes as you hide away and pick your moment to strike (and when they sneak up on you in tight hallways its intense). Even the simplest of showdowns with enemies can be deadly if you’re not careful, but when you get into the swing of things and start picking off headshots with ease? It’s sublime. And I won’t spoil anything here, but believe me, some of the weaponry you’ll use in the game is might impressive (in some really bizarre ways).
“If you’ve got a couple of buddies to play with, believe me, you won’t want to miss out on Remnant II.”
There’s a bit more to it than running-and-gunning though. For one, you start off the game picking a specific archetype to play as, with five to choose from (one of which is launch DLC) that bring with them different strengths and skills. The Challenger is the tank of the bunch with its strong armour and melee weapons that make them handy at getting up-close and personal in battle, whilst the Medic is a support class that ensures you’re kept in ship-shape. The Hunter fights from range, all whilst marking targets for team-mates to focus on, whilst the Handler takes a canine companion into battle with them that can either keep you healthy or prioritise attacking enemies. Finally, there’s the Gunslinger, which is the fast-paced firearms expert that’ll focus on keeping enemies at bay with their constant barrage of bullets.
Each archetype genuinely feels like they offer something different, whilst their varied skillsets make them feel more fleshed out than what players would have seen in the previous game. With different skills giving players specific roles to play, it adds a lot more strategy to the battlefield and makes the co-op gameplay even more tantalising than before. Furthermore, there’s a greater emphasis placed on equipping Relic Fragments and Mutators to improve your character build, meaning you have more freedom to shape your character to suit how you want to play. Whilst they do have specific strengths, players get to focus on those that best suit how they approach combat, bringing with it a lot more flexibility and making for a more satisfying experience in the process.
The best part of all? You can eventually equip two archetypes at once, allowing for even more creativity with your character build. Whilst some are more interesting than others, the likes of the Summoner that allows you to bring minions in to help fight or the Invader to buff up your capabilities can be a lot of fun to use. It offers a lot of depth across the board, with each varied combinations of archetypes making Remnant II feel like a completely different game to play.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It shouldn’t take players too long to get through Remnant II’s story (it’ll take around fifteen hours or so), but it’ll keep you hooked in thanks to its procedurally-generated nature. You can go through the same areas of the game multiple times and see completely different things, fight new bosses, and make different choices, with your overall progression not deterred when you replay previous worlds. It was one of the greatest strengths of the original game and offered plenty of replayability, but with areas more intricate and combat encounters more frantic this time around, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. And the boss encounters? Absolutely phenomenal, with some mighty impressive foes to face off against that’ll really put your skills to the test with their destructive move sets.
It looks fantastic too, with Remnant II massively improving upon the original when it comes to the visuals. Whilst there are locales similar to some of the post-apocalyptic wastelands of the first game, there’s a greater sense of diversity and creativity found now thanks to dimension-traversing that takes place. Big shout out to the Bloodborne-inspired locales too, whilst those that lean heavily into dark-fantasy bring with them some tantalisingly eerie sights.
I’ve got a lot of love for Remnant II and have adored my time with it, but I must emphasise one thing: my entire experience has been spent with another player, with the game truly at its best when played in co-op. It feels great to work as a team in showdowns, explore the area for loot together (this is all automatically shared which I always love in a co-op game), and take advantage of the different skills offered with our character builds, whilst the satisfying gameplay loop of replaying levels means you won’t run out of things to do anytime soon. Would it be just as fun to play solo? Probably, it’s a really good game, but, much like the original, Remnant II feels like it was built to play with friends, and that truly is where its greatest strengths lie.
Remnant II Review
Remnant II improves upon the original game in every way, with the frantic action, deep character-building, and impressive visuals all brilliant to experience. There’s a lot more depth and creativity found across the board, and whilst I’ll admit the narrative doesn’t feel as interesting this time around, it’s easy to find yourself fully immersed in the dark and tantalising world. It’s an absolute blast and has quickly established itself as one of the best co-op titles I’ve played this gen.
If you’ve got a couple of buddies to play with, believe me, you won’t want to miss out on Remnant II.
Developer: Gunfire Games
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PC