Remnant 2 Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
With an astounding progression system and rich RPG elements, Remnant 2 elevates itself to heights that its predecessor never reached.
- Developer: Gunfire Games
- Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
- Release Date: July 25, 2023
- Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
- Tested On: PC
- Satisfying Gameplay
- Great RPG Mechanics
- Unique Classes And Traits
- Unique Art Direction
- Sublime Performance On PC
- Uninteresting Narrative
- Unusual Difficulty Spikes
In late 2019, I just so happened to discover a tiny little game called Remnant: From the Ashes, which was a perfect combination of Soulslike combat with looter shooter elements. I remember grinding it endlessly with my friends, and now after all these years, Gunfire Games has finally graced the scene with a sequel that’s significantly polished and redefined with new gameplay elements.
So with my Remnant 2 review, you’ll find out just how this sequel manages to elevate the foundations left by its predecessor and takes them to the next level in inconceivable ways.
Story And Setting
The narrative of the first game didn’t seem to engage the player base too much, despite having a rich universe inspired by elements straight out of HP Lovecraft’s work. Remnant 2‘s story is much of the same as well.
The entire world is infested with an ancient growing evil known as the Root, which has not only consumed the entirety of the world but also has brought in malicious otherworldly creatures and monsters. Your character is on a journey with a girl called Cass, who is plagued by a mysterious sickness, and you soon meet up with the residents of Ward 13, one of the last safe havens left in this tragedy’s wake. Now together with these survivors, your job is to purge this evil as well as learn the origins of the Root.
While I would certainly suggest that you experience the main story on your own, there isn’t much here that may excite or intrigue you. Don’t get me wrong; I like that our character is treated as an actual protagonist with meaningful moments, but you’ll hardly be spending time reminiscing about those said moments and instead be remembering how you overcame a colossal boss fight to plunder rich loot.
The entire world is infested with an ancient growing evil known as the Root, which has not only consumed the entirety of the world but also has brought in malicious otherworldly creatures and monsters.
However, there is still a lot more to consider here than what initially meets the eye, as the game also provides contextualization behind a couple of the mechanics in key story scenes, such as the procedurally generated levels as well as the fast travel system via these ominous obelisks called the World Stones. It’s a fair bit of helpful logic that splendidly complements the world-building, one that doesn’t confuse you nor send you tracking down pieces of scattered lore to understand what’s even going on with the overworld itself.
But with that said, you can happily jump straight into this game as you won’t be missing much of anything that’s connected to the events of the previous Remnant title. I really liked that the survivors of Ward 13, such as Bo Ward and Clementine, came off as an interesting bunch, and even more, that they develop really well throughout the main storyline.
But again, they’re hardly the highlight here. This is why we are now moving to discuss the star of the show in our Remnant 2 review, the gameplay, and the combat.
Remnant 2’s gameplay successfully builds upon the foundations of its previous installment, as the Soulslike combat wonderfully blends with its looter shooter presentation, where you mix and match various gear pieces dropped by enemies or bosses as well as combine perks to craft your unique killing machine character.
Not to mention, the main progression system mainly revolves around a rogue-like element of exploring various biomes whose levels are procedurally generated every time you die and reset the run.
There are five unique classes called Archetypes, and each one is drastically more distinctive than the other in both playstyle as well as overall abilities. These range from the Gunslinger, who has skills and perks that can enhance their weapon’s damage and stats, all the way to the Medic, which is a co-op focused Archetype that can heal allies. Personally, I went with the Handler because of the creative freedom it provides with a balanced set of skills and perks, as well as an adorable canine companion at your side.
The gameplay and progression system in Remnant 2 is a major step up from before, as not only are the levels changed on each run, but so are other finer details such as NPC placement and enemies. While you won’t notice that at first glance, it becomes highly apparent once you’re past the early hours of the game and into the dangerous territories filled with side dungeons and puzzles.
Speaking of which, these mini-dungeons and puzzles are now better than ever, as you will have the option to tackle them in any way you see fit for high-tier loot. But keep in mind that tough battles are almost always around each corner.
The gameplay and progression system in Remnant 2 is a major step up from before, as not only are the levels changed on each run.
These are mostly going to be the boss fights, and this game does not shy away from them in both challenge and presentation. While the first game had a great set of boss encounters, the sequel kicks it up a notch with various mechanics thrown into the mix, even allowing you to expose more weak points to take these foes down.
Puzzles, in retrospect, remain as ambiguous as before. The original Remnant had a vast array of clever puzzles, which sometimes hid a valuable piece of gear for you and your teammates to unearth. The puzzles in the sequel may yet again surprise you, as they can even come in the form of interacting with NPCs around each level. For instance, I found the moral ethics quiz given to you by Meidra in the opening segments quite interesting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of these side activities.
Overall, what makes the gameplay loop feel so rejuvenating each time you hop into a biome is the deeply engaging RPG elements of Remnant 2. The Trait System allows you to experiment with your character’s stats, and combine that with the complex arsenal and upgrading tools at display, and you have a superb gameplay incentive that can keep players hooked for hours on end to min-max their build in order to decimate the abominations created by the Root.
Lastly, if you’re someone who played the previous game like crazy, then you won’t be surprised to learn that Hardcore Mode returns in Remnant 2, which can offer a unique way of playing with critical features such as Permadeath.
But hey, I would suggest playing that with your friends, and only after you’ve completed the game in the Standard Mode to get a fresh feel of things again.
Visuals And Performance
In terms of visuals, every moment in Remnant 2 is a work of art, sometimes vibrant but sometimes gloomy, and all of this is brilliantly encapsulated by the level design and architecture. Whether it’s the lush fields of the Forbidden Grove or the abstract sci-fi landscape in Narud, there is plenty present here that’ll make you appreciate the craft on display.
Minimal frame drops during intense moments such as boss fights, as well as no occurrence of bugs or glitches, kept my high-adrenaline playthrough going without any headache.
This is art direction where cosmic horror is beautifully implemented with majestic artistry to create constantly interchanging layers of visuals for you to be amazed.
Now delving into performance, I played the game on my RTX 3060Ti, and it’s safe to say that the optimization by Gunfire Games here is simply awe-inspiring considering the type of performances we’ve seen this year in other AAA releases.
Minimal frame drops during intense moments such as boss fights, as well as no occurrence of bugs or glitches, kept my high-adrenaline playthrough going without any headache. On medium to high settings, I was easily able to maintain a steady 60FPS framerate along with a 1440p resolution, also thanks to the enhancements provided by Nvidia’s cutting-edge DLSS technology.
If I had a dollar for every first installment of a video game having a triumphant sequel, I’d probably be rich right now. And Remnant 2 joins the ranks as one of my favorite sequels in recent memory. Not only does it grip you with its Soulslike third-person combat, but it manages to elevate the playing field by improving several key aspects of the original game from 2019 with its astounding progression system and rich RPG elements.
If you’re someone who adored playing the first game solo or even chaotically with friends, then there is a lot here in Remnant 2 that’ll rekindle that flame. However, it may still leave a lot to be desired in the narrative department again with its weak writing. But hey, you won’t be caring about that anyways since most of that time will be spent admiring the glorious rootin’ shootin’ gunplay as you plunder everything in your path for bountiful scrap.
This has been our Remnant 2 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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