Remnant: From the Ashes Review
We live in an age where games have long marketing cycles, so you’ll know every detail of the characters, every weapon, maybe even play a beta where you’ll comb every inch of the map. However, sometimes games come out of nowhere to surprise us… Remnant: From the Ashes is a great example of this.
Remnant mashes together some successful ideas of other games to provide a refreshing cocktail of a game. There are elements of Souls-like games here with an exploration of an overworld, third-person view and challenging boss battles. Mix that up with an over-the-shoulder shooter like Gears of War and the loot-gathering of a game like Destiny then you have an interesting prospect in your hands. Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival action shooter.
Remnant: From the Ashes is from Gunfire Games creators of Darksiders 3. The studio did a great job in marketing the game, as more often than not these days creating a good game is only one piece of the puzzle. With discoverability, such an issue these days they recruited some top streamers to play and talk about the game and the general feeling of the community has been a positive one. I hear about the game this way myself and for much of the week, the game has been top (or near the top) of the Steam sales charts.
The basic premise of the game is you are a character set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by monsters. The world takes inspiration from Fallout or Metro – the environments are baron and the overworld is danger-filled. The evil Root has taken control of the overworld and wants to smash, kill and perhaps eat anything that gets in their way.
At the start of the game, you get to build a character and once you’re done you’re placed in the dark world. Immediately set upon by the Root the game gives you a nice tutorial with the controls and lets you know what type of game this is going to be. The controls are fairly simple and intuitive – attack, dodge and interact. You’ll battle a few Root to get to grips with the controls but soon you’re overrun and knocked out. You wake up in the main base of the survivors and given an explanation and a walkthrough of the vendors. Your character is made up of a class who then has weapons, armour, class trait and weapon mods.
There are three classes to choose from in the game Hunter, Scrapper and Ex-Cultist. The Hunter is your standard long-range class with weapons that allow you to hit enemies from far away. The Scrapper is your close-range melee class with a focus on heavy DPS. Finally, there’s the Ex-Cultist who has a good balance between mid-range DPS and close-quarters melee combat.
There’s a range of weapons to the collection and upgrade. As the Ex-Cultist in my playthrough, I started out with a Scrap Hammer, Repeater Pistol and Shotgun. Each weapon has a mod slot allowing to add extra abilities to your character and these mod items can be mixed and matched with your weapons and play style to further specialise later in the game. Start out general, but as you progress and collect items and mods you can be much more specific to whatever style suits you. This system provides a depth to the game and freedom to pick and choose the way you work your way through the challenges ahead.
One of the best features in the game is the procedurally generated levels and randomisation. At the start of the playthrough, the game Remnant generates the world, items and bosses in a random manner meaning each player will have a slightly different experience from each other. Comparing my playthrough to that of other streamers playing the game I encountered items and bosses in a different order. It’s a well-executed mechanic and lives up to the promise of a unique experience per player. The dynamically-generated elements in the game allow for interesting and unique playthroughs and are not isolated to level layout and boss sequencing – this allow applies to quests. For example, there’s a vendor with a specific item that allows you to mod your player to make healing easier. This isn’t necessarily in other games, which offers up a unique angle for the game.
The game is tough. If you enjoy From Software games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne then you’ll understand the challenge. If you haven’t’ played these games then Remnant is likely to be a little shock to the system. A good thing about Remnant is that gets you back into the action very quickly. For example, if you’re fighting a boss and die then in other games you can be taken way back where you have to battle your way to the boss again. Here in Remnant, you’re thrown right back into the action with checkpoints just before the challenging boss battles, keeping you engages and thrown quickly back into the high-intensity action. This is a small tweak, but an important one as it keeps the flow going while your heart is racing. Remnant offers a variety in environments as the survivors have unlocked the technology to travel to different realms and dimensions. There are broken cities, jungles and deserts offering up a variety of environments to traverse and loot.
Another good feature in the game is co-op mode where you can play through with friends or strangers. In total, you can have a party of three by adding two friends in either private or public matchmaking. Mixing and matching class types here and finding the right balance is fun. The game can be played solo, but it’s nice to be able to add extra players to the party. Beware though as the game scales up in difficulty to the highest levelled player in the party. Remnant makes it easy to add players and the multiplayer mode is smooth and simple.
The quick elevator pitch for Remnant: From the Ashes is Dak Souls with guns. While that may be accurate, there’s a depth to the game that keeps the player engaged and challenged throughout. The weapons, armour and mod system provides specialisation systems to allow the players to hone their playstyle to be specific. The procedurally-generated levels will keep you guessing and provide variety that will keep you coming back. Bosses are fun and challenging and you’ll no doubt be shouting and screaming as a huge beast rushes towards you when all you have is a melee weapon. Remnant: From the Ashes has successfully managed to blend mechanics of other games to provide an entertaining game which is worth your time and attention.
Developer: Gunfire Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 20th August 2019