Remnant 2 Exceeds Expectations

Image courtesy of Gearbox Publishing and Gunfire Games

Coming off the heels of their incredibly entertaining hit Soulslike game Remnant: From The Ashes, Gunfire Games, and Gearbox Publishing, had a difficult task ahead of them when it came to a sequel. As someone who doesn’t like Souls-like games, mainly due to player incompetency, my enjoyment of Remnant: From The Ashes was a complete surprise. Hearing that Remnant would be getting a sequel filled fans across the world with joy and anticipation. How could they make a game like that bigger, harder, and scarier? Over the past few months, we have been teased with trailers for the new archetype system, co-op gameplay, an introduction to the world of N’Erud, and so much more. To say this is my most anticipated game of the year is an understatement. Here at Horror Obsessive, we were lucky enough to get our hands on an early copy, so let’s jump right into The Root of it all and talk about Remnant 2.

Our character approaches a monster holding a long bladed weapon with a flat blunt end
Image courtesy of Gearbox Publishing and Gunfire Games

Remnant 2 drops the player into a world, still overrun by The Root, which is now closer than ever to ending humanity as we know it. After meeting Bo and Clementine, we are shuffled off to the new Ward 13 and introduced to Founder Ford. Founder Ford gives us some exposition and then takes us to the World Stone inside the original Ward 13. The rest is history, rather, the rest is the future.

Let’s get this said right from the start: Remnant 2 is fantastic. If we did star reviews I would have to give it a 4.5 out of 5. Almost everything in Remnant 2 works. Whether you’re venturing through foggy moors, running through the train in Terminus Station, or evading the immolating scorched corpses on the cobblestone streets of [what looks like] 1800s London, Remnant 2 does not fail to be visually engaging. One of the big aspects of a Souls-like game is the visual and environmental storytelling. Now, I can’t tell you how a cyberpunk floating metal eye with tentacles exists in a world with an [incredibly] oversized tick creature that has metal plates covering explosives on its body, but damn if it isn’t captivating.

While Remnant: From The Ashes had a procedural generation for its worlds and dungeons, it all felt a little too linear and formulaic. Remnant 2 on the other hand feels like the random generation was taken to a whole new level. This allows for a few things like replayability and further strategic thinking. Just because you may have played a certain dungeon doesn’t mean it will be the same as a co-op you might join.

I made it through four worlds before giving the co-op a shot and found it to be a completely different ballgame. It goes without saying that playing something co-op will be easier, but Remnant 2 is a completely different game as single-player. As stated earlier, I am not really a fan of Souls-like games, because they are usually way too hard for me. What is great about Remnant 2 is that it’s grounded enough to be incredibly difficult, but at no point does it feel as if bosses were created to specifically be beaten in co-op. That’s not to say the bosses are easy, far from it. The bosses of Remnant 2 are no joke. If you want to beat a boss on your own you definitely can, as long as you’re prepared to put the time and effort into learning their intricacies.

The three archetypes hunt the Mothermind
Image courtesy of Gearbox Publishing and Gunfire Games

This leads me to my first real piece of criticism: crossplay. When you encounter a game that isn’t crossplay it’s kind of strange. There’s probably a reason Remnant 2 isn’t crossplay, or at the very least why it isn’t crossplay yet. With its full release right around the corner, there will definitely be more people on the servers so it won’t be as difficult to find a team to play with. Whether or not it ends up becoming cross-platform is moot for me in the long run, because I have no doubt the servers will be full of people ready to jump into these strange worlds with friends.

With multiple trailers devoted to the completely revamped archetype system, there has been a lot of exciting buzz about it. By the time I hit character level three, I already knew all of the time and effort put into it was completely worth it. Being able to dual class too is a nice addition. This really lets you craft the character and play style that suits you best. As with most games that have a class type I usually go for a ranger/ranged player, as I love to stay in the shadows and provide support for the team. I ran my first playthrough as The Hunter, using rings that increased ammo capacity, and increased ranged damage. This turned me into a force to be reckoned with. When I start my second playthrough, I’ll be maining The Gunslinger, because it just looks so cool.

Let’s talk about the puzzles. The puzzles in Remnant 2 might be something heavily talked about, both good and bad. Some of the puzzles are self-explanatory, and can usually be solved in a few minutes. On the other hand, there are some puzzles that even after two hours of attempting I just couldn’t figure out. Thankfully, these happened when I was playing with a few other people so I was able to go back to my world and not have to worry about them…yet. This might end up being a bone of contention for some people as if you get stuck on a puzzle and can’t complete the dungeon in a fair amount of time someone might just move on. All of this could lead to not getting a crucial element needed to move forward and completely halting your progress. I don’t know if the procedural generation alters anything regarding the puzzles or not, so hopefully if you get stuck on a puzzle you can have someone join your party that has completed it before.

As a sequel Remnant 2 fixes what didn’t work From The Ashes, while still finding ways to add new and intriguing ideas. The scope of Remnant 2 is grander and more encompassing than its predecessor and is a perfect example showing when game devs truly listen and take critiques to heart they can create something that feels more thoughtful and refined. Remnant 2 is difficult, there’s no question about it. But when you think about it, the difficulty factor isn’t just to make the game hard, rather it fits perfectly with the story. In Remnant 2 the world is threatened now more than ever by The Root, and if you fail The Root will destroy the world as we know it. So doesn’t it make sense that you would be up against some of the hardest bosses in gaming history? You aren’t just thrown up against these atrocities just because; everything about Remnant 2 feels purposeful and well thought out.

A blue-lit creature stands between two pillars
Image courtesy of Gearbox Publishing and Gunfire Games

From beginning to end I found myself completely engaged in Remnant 2. The story is deep and quite complex, it’ll take someone smarter than me to connect all of the lore. Combat-wise, Remnant 2 is top-notch. There is a great number of weapons, mods, and mutators you can use to switch up your attack style however you see fit, making every encounter unique. While the creature design in From The Ashes was really cool, they went all out with the creature creation here. By the time you’ve had your fill with a certain group of enemies, you find yourself entering a new world or dungeon, where new horrors await. The few criticisms I have are heavily outweighed by the pros. At no point did I feel exasperated or wanting to set down my controller and walk away. Rather, I couldn’t stop myself from playing, and when I wasn’t playing all I could think of was wanting to play more! Generally, I try to keep my expectations for most things at a healthy medium; Remnant 2 blew my expectations out of the water.

You can preorder Remnant 2 now from PlayStation® Network, Xbox Network, Steam, or Epic Games Store.

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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