Review: Remnant 2 Expands on Its Predecessor’s Strengths

Remnant: From the Ashes was one of those games that might not have been flashy or groundbreaking, but it took a few nice ideas and mixed them into something very playable. With plenty of encounters, lore tidbits, and secrets for those willing to dedicated a bit more time to it, it was a grand time, especially in multiplayer. It’s pleasing, then, that Remnant 2 has taken those same elements and expanded them, adding more ingredients to an already successful recipe. It’s not perfect and still more derivative than original, but anyone able to put some time in will find a replayable and rewarding game that only gets better with friends.

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At its core, Remnant 2 is a third person shooter with Soulslike and roguelite elements. You travel through levels and dungeons killing enemies, looting chests and resting at crystals. The best rewards, like weapons or mods, are usually earned from bosses or other encounters, including puzzles of varying difficulties. A lot of them are impressively varied; I’ve found a parasite boss that can most easily be damaged when running from host to host, a gauntlet that had us following a descending crystal down a long underground spiral and one puzzle involving manipulating a giant orrery-like device with symbols based on the indigenous mythology. Sometimes defeating a boss a certain way, like breaking a certain part or not killing an certain minion, will result in alternate loot too. All this adds up to a juicy amount of replayability.

Remnant 2 Wallace

Screenshot via Siliconera

Performance-wise, the game ran at a pretty crisp 60 fps on my AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor and a Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU, though in a few very effect heavy areas it could drop all the way to 20. There is also the issue of crashes, which while not common did happen and sometimes consistently. One boss in the Labyrinth area would kick any multiplayer guests back to desktop every time, though there were a few crashes where the cause was less obvious. Remnant 2 also has a fair few bugs hanging around, like one instance when entering a boss arena instantly gifted me one of the rewards for beating it, or when what I thought was a puzzle was actually just a key item not spawning in. Luckily you can use the option to reroll your campaign or adventure to avoid critical path-blocking glitches, but losing any progress to bugs is always irritating.

A short while into the game you get to choose a starting archetype, Remnant 2’s version of classes, and after reaching a certain point you gain the ability to equip a second one. While they all have their place, certain classes end up vastly easier to use than others, especially if you’re playing solo. The Handler and Challenger have ways to revive themselves, and the Medic has a powerful heal that can pair with tankier classes to become incredibly resilient. The Hunter, however, struggles with a huge lack of survivability. As part of a team they can put out huge damage and extend their own powerful buffs, but on their lonesome their only real defence is killing foes before they reach you, making them difficult to recommend to solo players.

Remnant 2 Crossbow

That change in difficulty between solo and multiplayer is something else held over from Remnant 1, and may be something to bear in mind if you don’t have a group of friends ready to play with. While there weren’t any bosses that were really trivialised by having a group, much like in Monster Hunter the addition of another player to soak the bosses’ attention really gives you a lot more space to do damage, clear adds and heal up.

Some of the encounters can feel a little overhwelming, like they have just one too many mechanics or could stand to be a little bit more intuitive. At their best they feel like raids in Destiny 2, where your group works together to figure out the puzzle to defeat the boss. At worst, they can feel unfair, especially while you scramble to deal with adds and learn attack patterns. Multiplayer cushions this quite a bit, but in solo it can often feel like some builds or even whole classes are just not viable.

Playing with friends is definitely the way to go though, even if you aren’t connecting to the same session. Remnant 2 has a really nice “watercooler” aspect to it, where you can end up having a very different experience than a friend does even starting on the same realm. You might often find something cool in your world that doesn’t spawn in a friend’s, and decide to go hunt that encounter together in the adventure mode.

Remnant 2 N'Erud

Screenshot via Siliconera

The downside to the randomness is that you can often go quite a while without finding upgrades, especially given that the pace of play can be slower than other, simpler roguelites. New rings, mods and such provide a steadier stream of stuff, but the really impactful items like weapons and new archetypes can be few and far between. Even halfway through the second world I was still wearing the starter armor, though some of this is alleviated by being able to buy nearly anything the other classes start with in the home base area.

I’ve waited this far to mention the story because, honestly, a lot of people will probably ignore it. It’s a bit of a shame because the start actually did a fairly good job of introducing some likeable characters, only for many of them to be relegated to vendor duty for the vast majority of the game. The various worlds themselves generally have some good fluff though. There are Faerie Courts living in porcelain castles above Bloodborne-esque slums, or starfaring aliens searching for intelligent life, only for you to arrive long after they gave up hope. The moment-to-moment plot can get a little lost at times, but there’s a good amount of worldbuilding on display.

What you get out of Remnant 2 will ultimately depend on how much you can put into it, and how many friends you have around to play with you. A strictly solo player may find the game frustrating, even hostile in places, whereas with a posse of friends it can become a loot-chasing romp through science-fantasy worlds.

Remnant 2 launches on July 25, 2023, with an early access period for Ultimate Edition owners starting July 21, 2023. The game is available on PS5, PC and Xbox Series X.

7
Remnant 2

Remnant II pits survivors of humanity against new deadly creatures and god-like bosses across terrifying worlds. Play solo or co-op with two other friends to explore the depths of the unknown to stop an evil from destroying reality itself. PC version reviewed.

Solid gunplay and varied encounters make this Roguelite Shooter RPG a great time with friends, but slightly frustrating to play solo.

Food for Thought:
  • I miss the first game's earth-bound starting levels, they made it feel more impactful when the game jumps to full sci-fi.
  • Picking Hunter for my first class was a mistake. Don't be like me, pick the dog class instead.
  • The elf planet wears it's Bloodborne influence on its sleeve. They even have the part where losing to a certain enemy brings you to a secret area!

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Author
Elliot Gostick
Elliot is a staff writer from the mist-shrouded isle of Albion, and has been covering gaming news and reviews for about a year. When not playing RPGs and Strategy games, she is often found trying (and failing) to resist the urge to buy more little plastic spacemen.