Remnant 2 Review – Rising From The Ashes

Remnant 2 Review - Rising From The Ashes

2019’s Remnant: From the Ashes was an odd blend of fun gunplay, somewhat limited procedural generation, and uneven difficulty. Despite its flaws, it was still an enjoyable time both solo and with a couple of friends. With Remnant 2Gunfire Games has taken the same basic formula and improved upon every aspect, delivering a sequel that truly realized the potential of its predecessor.

Founder Ford touching a red crystal
Who would have guessed a giant red crystal would cause problems?

Remnant 2 starts off once again on Earth, which is still under threat from the Root — essentially a never-ending swarm of plant monsters. With a little help, the protagonist and their friend manage to make their way through the ruins of their destroyed world to Ward 13, one of the last havens of humanity.

Despite being in Ward 13 for only a few minutes, it’s not long before you’re traveling to new worlds looking for Clementine (originally appearing in the first game’s Subject 2923 DLC) after she ends up being spirited away by a familiar red crystal.

Storytelling was never Remnant: From the Ashes’ strong point, and that’s still the case here. The main narrative doesn’t really have much time to spend on any of the main cast, with most exposition handled by option dialogue choices. I did make sure to read through the optional conversations, though most of it adds little in the long run.

At the very least, it doesn’t get in the way of the main meat of Remnant 2: its gameplay. One of the main changes can be felt right from character creation, with Archetypes playing a much larger role this time. In the first game, Archetypes acted as early gear loadouts, offering nothing unique.

A menu showing The Handler Archetype, with the main character standing next to a dog.
Handlers get a dog, so it’s clearly the best Archetype.

In Remnant 2, Archetypes now come with unique perks and skills. Challengers can shrug off fatal blows, while Handlers get to take a helpful canine companion into battle. They actually feel meaningful, without being overly limiting — it’s still possible to get the Archetypes you didn’t choose to begin with, and they can be changed freely. These can also be combined with the returning Traits system for extra build potential.

These new abilities mesh well with the still-great gunplay featured in From the Ashes. Most guns feel impactful, especially when hitting weak points. Encounters are fast-paced, with a decent variety of enemies to take on across each of the worlds you’ll fight through.

Enemy AI is a little more interesting, with some enemies taking cover or ambushing you. However, most are still quite simple, merely running at you or taking potshots at a distance. This is balanced out by their numbers and the damage they do, especially in co-op. It’s easy to get swarmed if not paying attention, and some side areas are timed to keep you on your toes.

Aside from Archetypes, it’s melee that’s seen the most love with Remnant 2‘s fight. Melee weapons are far more varied, offering more unique attacks compared to From the Ashes. Many come with unique charged attacks, debuffing enemies or launching ranged projectiles. When paired with the right Archetype and Mutators (weapon modifiers), melee-focused builds actually feel useful.

The player firing their bow at a highlighted giant rat creature.
Just a giant rat, nothing to see here.

World generation has seen some touch-ups too, mainly in the form of more randomness and varied area generation. Verticality plays a bigger part, with the player now able to climb ledges, vault over surfaces, and jump gaps to progress or find hidden areas.

Worlds can still feel a little samey at times — despite randomization being used once again, there are still only a set number of area types and templates that make up each world. Thankfully, this only really sets in after a few runs, and you’ll still have new events to look forward to many hours into Remnant 2.

Remnant 2 looks nicer than the last game as well, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise given the change in console generations. Each world is more detailed and expansive, mixing well with

Repeated playthroughs of each main world are definitely a focus once again due to said randomization. In theory, no two runs will be the same (excluding a couple of more linear worlds), as you travel through the European-themed Losomn to the overgrown jungles of Yaesha.

The player aiming at a Root creature in the jungle.
The Root returns once again, now with some more monstrous designs.

Every player has to go through all worlds during a single playthrough regardless of order or the areas generated, though there is enough here to differentiate your initial visits. Your first run might see you tasked with finding a traitor in a world, while the next might send you into dank sewers.

The incentive for running through everything multiple times comes in the form of harder difficulty levels and the promise of new events and loot to discover. A new boss killed means materials that can be used to craft unique weapons or modifications, while familiar areas can hide new secrets.

Mixing and matching accessories — and eventually even multiple Archetypes — lets you build your character in a way that often wasn’t possible in the first game. It’s satisfying when you get that one piece of gear you needed to complete a build (I was partial to mixing bows with super fast reloads), giving you an incentive for one more run.

It’s surprising just how well this formula works thanks to Remnant 2’s extra polish. It’s not a strict soulslike but still retains a familiar difficulty level and sense of exploration. Runs aren’t completely random, but still offer enough changes that it doesn’t feel stale after a couple of runs. Remnant 2 succeeds where games like Outriders failed, giving you an incentive to keep playing without any live service “features” getting in the way.

Remnant 2 Review – Final Thoughts

Remnant 2 feels very familiar but in all the right ways. It takes what the first game did well, while also improving upon what it was lacking and more. While this is the sort of game that is still fun to play through a single time, it shines when you take the time to try out all it has to offer.

Remnant 2 was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the developer over the course of 21 hours of gameplay – all screenshots were taken during the process of review.


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