- Remnant 2 is one of July’s highly anticipated releases alongside Exoprimal. It’s a sequel to Remnant: From the Ashes which was a hit with the fans but ended up going under the radar.
- Despite being hailed as an underrated gem by its playerbase, the first Remnant lacked polish and failed to grab my interest during the first 5 hours, making it difficult to continue playing it.
- The upcoming sequel heavily improves upon the majority of its predecessor’s shortcomings, shaping it up to be an enticing experience.
Remnant 2 is probably one of July 2023’s biggest releases alongside Capcom’s Exoprimal. Gunfire Games found a unique formula back in the 2010s that led to a final product in the form of Remnant: From the Ashes. A game that was inspired by FromSoftware‘s long line of Souls titles but combined it with modern, over-the-shoulder third-person shooter gameplay pioneered by the original Resident Evil 4 in 2005.
This blend of souls-like systems, third-person gunplay, and Gunfire Games’ style of procedurally generated, randomized content was a fresh experience in the gaming space. An experience that received favorable reviews and founds its audience despite managing to slip under the radar. While the first Remnant managed to sell over 3 million units in its lifetime, in my opinion, it was impacted by flawed execution.
As I’ve said before, game development takes a lot of effort and people pour their hearts into these projects despite many coming out in shambles before getting the patch treatment. The outcome, however, does not negate the effort. The way I see it, there are two types of games. One is where a game is simply bad and there’s no saving it. The other type is where something is present but the execution cripples it to an extent.
That’s my experience with Remnant: From the Ashes in a nutshell. From the get-go, I could see a solid game present at its core but due to the lack of intensive polish and quality found in contemporary titles, my journey in this world ended up being a rather short visit than a prolonged stay.
Having seen hours of videos about Remnant 2, it’s clear that Gunfire Games is addressing the entire array of problems found in the first game, problems that held it back from being as enjoyable as some of the other titles on the market.
Remnant: From The Ashes & The Hour-1 Policy
Whether it’s a TV show or a video game, I strongly believe that the first hour is extremely crucial. These sixty minutes either make or break the experience and you know what they say, first impressions are important. Even some of the worst games that I’ve played had a strong start that captured me and got me invested. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Remnant.
I’ve known about the title since its initial launch but it wasn’t on the priority list due to other, far more interesting games. The total number of hours I spent in Remnant: From the Ashes was around five and after the first sixty minutes, I just pushed forward to see if it would change how I felt and actually do something interesting. This brings me to my first issue with the game — the story.
I’m not going to pass judgment on the whole thing but during those five hours, nothing about the story, the characters, and the quests caught my interest. From what I understood, some dude fought a huge beast on an island and won but that led to new monsters coming out of the woodwork and it was our job to check things out. Soon after that narration, I was introduced to The Root fighting some dude who met his end at their hands.
Minimal engagement and that cutscene showed no emotion whatsoever. In fact, all it took was killing a couple of enemies, and all of a sudden, Commander Ford trusts the protagonist with all kinds of information. The introductory missions to familiarize us with the facilities were worse than the MMO fetch quests in Final Fantasy 16 which people are whining about. On top of that, the environment successfully killed all of my immersion.
Not sure why it ended up like that but Remnant’s color scheme was drab. It felt barren and devoid of life. I know the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting with fantasy elements but there have been many similar examples with vibrant visuals that fit the aesthetic. One such example is Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. A darker aesthetic isn’t bad but Remnant’s palette appeared to lack finesse rather than being an artistic choice.
Then there’s the gameplay. On paper, the idea of a souls-like game with guns sounds great but making the gunplay as basic as it can get won’t do it any favors. The five hours I spent shooting and slashing enemies made it feel like I already played something better. In fact, the melee combat combined with the movement felt a bit too clunky for my taste.
The first few hours of a game need to pull you in and despite Remnant having found an audience and achieving commercial success, it’s quite obvious that the package could have been refined even more. I couldn’t stomach the game beyond the five-hour mark and ended up refunding the game.
Steam’s refund policy states that you’re eligible to apply if your playtime is 2 hours or less. While that’s the norm, in some cases your application goes through if the playtime is close enough to its policy even if that’s uncommon. Considering how one of my previous refunds was rejected despite having a similar amount of playtime, I’m lucky that this one managed to go through.
It was evident that something good was present at its core which is why the souls-like shooter is loved by its playerbase. That’s where I believe Remnant 2 might shine bright if the videos are any indicator of the game’s quality.
Remnant 2 Appears To Be Learning From Its Predecessor’s Shortcomings
Remnant: From the Ashes may have been a chore to play but I’ll admit that it was a pretty solid effort from Gunfire Games considering its development history. Now being backed by the Embracer Group and having learned from their experience with the first game, the developers seem to have vastly improved upon the formula. The more videos I see about Remnant 2, the clearer it gets.
One of the issues I had were the bland environments and a dead color palette. Remnant 2 appears to have pulled a 180-degree turn in that department. The gameplay impressions and other videos show a vibrant world with an interesting color palette that manages to deliver the sense of a post-apocalyptic setting with fantasy elements. Even the environments managed to look interesting and something that I’d want to explore.
The other complaint was the gameplay being too basic and even that seems to have been addressed. Remnant 2 not only features archetypes that are actually unique but the build crafting system and overview trailer of each class properly highlight the improved gameplay. You get a good idea of how each archetype will function and how you can mix and match things. Especially The Handler, that archetype just immediately caught my interest.
Other changes in Remnant 2 that I appreciate are the addition of verticality & stamina consumption only being active during combat. The latter is more of a feature that affects the flow of general gameplay & I believe all titles with a stamina bar should make it a standard at this point. Verticality on the other hand was an impressive addition. Having another layer of movement changes how you approach certain situations and enemies.
I had a hard time accepting the randomized nature of content in the Remnant series and seeing how the upcoming sequel is dialing it all to eleven, even though it’s new, it felt wrong at first. A change of perspective is what allowed me to come to terms with it. Given how the first game didn’t manage to intrigue me enough, Remnant 2 appears to be equipped with the tools to provide a fresh, enjoyable adventure.
A Brand New Experience
What Gunfire Games brought to the table with Remnant: From the Ashes had potential. While the pacing may have been off during the first few hours of the game, it had something to offer which is why it succeeded in terms of sales and gaining an audience. Sticking to their design philosophy and improving it by working on the weaknesses was the logical choice, something that I believe will yield favorable results.
It’s what makes Remnant unique after all. Having a system where players experience different stories, each with differing elements, a fully randomized experience, is really interesting if executed well. Remnant 2 seems to be doing just that. I may not be entirely convinced yet, but with everything that’s put on display, Gunfire Games has convinced me enough to buy the game and give it a fair shot.
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