When Soulslike games first started appearing, many believed that they are nothing more than a fad, which will fade-out and disappear – sooner rather than later. But as the years started ticking on, we’ve begun to see more and more Dark Souls imitators, as seemingly every single publisher and his mate, wanted a piece of the Soulslike cake. Now, over ten years after the release of From’s Demon Souls, Gunfire Games has released its own spin on the genre in the form of Remnant: From the Ashes.
Remnant follows the same Soulslike formula as your Surges and all the other Sekiros. You live, you die, you live again; and you follow this formula all the way to the final credits. However, where the vast majority of Soulslike games zeroes-in on melee combat, Remnant prefers to give the player a wide array of firearms, altering the formula a little.
The core combat of Remnant: From the Ashes revolves around one sidearm, one longarm, and one melee weapon. However, those also feature mod slots, which allow you to unlock new abilities and in all honesty, such are the highlight of the Remnant experience, as they give the title a new dimension that many other titles of the genre, or otherwise, lack.
Each of your ranged weapons in-game can be slotted with a mod, and those can do anything from summoning friendly NPCs, through turning your sub-machine gun into a flamethrower, all the way down to providing you with buffs and healing. However, those cannot be triggered at will, as first you need to deal a certain amount of damage with the weapon which you’re using before you can even think about triggering the weapon’s mod. This is, in my opinion at least, a great decision on developer’s hand, as you are constantly being forced to play aggressively and not just sit and wait behind a pillar, whilst firing shots every couple of minutes.
Besides the few tweaks to combat, Remnant is just like all the other Soulslike. You have a hub, from which you travel to explore the world, you have large red crystals, which are basically the equivalent of bonfires and last but certainly not least you die over, and over, and over again, until you beat the boss who is sitting behind a fog wall. So, in short, Remnant is just like Dark Souls, and all the other games in the genre. However, unlike all the other games, Remnant doesn’t punish you for dying, as when you die you lose absolutely nothing and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
In games like Dark Souls 3, and especially the much more recent Sekiro, death usually comes at the hand of your lack of skill, rather than the difficulty itself. However, in Remnant, the vast majority of your deaths will come from being overrun by hordes of enemies, which at times feel like they go forever. While this may feel a little cheap, then it is ultimately one of the best solutions that the developer could come up with, as otherwise, Remnant would be way to easy, due to you having two ranged guns at all times.
Overall, the combat in remnant is just OK. The aforementioned skills are great, but the gunplay and player movement are nothing to write home about. Also, Remnant lacks variety in the AI department, as charging head on, is seemingly the only thing that the enemies are capable off. Yes, there are enemies which use ranged weapons just as you do, but instead of trying to flank you, or even stay put, they simply just run towards you, while firing shots every dozen or so paces.
If you have heard about Remnant before, you will probably know by now that it features a three-player co-op and no, I’m not talking here about your Soulslike co-op where your partners get disconnected whenever a boss is defeated. No, I’m talking here about standard co-op, where you can play together with friends, and/or strangers for as long as you desire – or until you get kicked. While Remnant is not a high-end AAA game, then it has to be said that its netcode and matchmaking are incredibly stable. However, while you can play with others at will, then you will not make any narrative progress, unless you play as a host. This includes unlocking trophies and in-base NPCs. So, if you’ll spend a week joining online lobbies, you will get your character to level up significantly, but your story progress and offline options will be limited significantly.
If you want to cheat the system, you can spend all the time in the world joining random lobbies, while collecting gear and upgrades. In truth, this is the best approach, as by joining random lobbies, you will get to fight every new boss, as those are randomly generated, meaning that bosses on one playthrough will be drastically different to the ones on the other, so you can constantly farm new weapons and mods, as whenever a boss is defeated he drops a trinket, which in turn can be transmuted into an upgrade.
As much as I’ve enjoyed playing Remnant online, then even I have to agree that the co-op component is just way too exploitable, as you can quite literally, join new lobbies, over and over again, and farm as many as 6 new upgrades in a space of an hour and osses are never further than five minutes away, and they can be defeated, in most cases, in a blink of an eye. One could argue that you are losing out on the story, if this is how you approach Remnant, but this particular title’s story, is not exactly a Tolstoy epic. So even if you’ll get into the narrative at first, you will probably be skipping all the cutscenes and conversations within an hour – if not earlier.
Overall, Remnant: From the Ashes is an incredible co-op game, which this generation has been dearly missing. Sure, it may not have the scope and budget of Borderlands, but due to its randomly generated elements, and rather stable netcode, it is simply nothing but a joy to play. If you are looking for something to play with your friends after work, every other evening, then Remnant is definitely it. But if you are planning on taking the Remnant on alone, then you are perhaps better off waiting for Greedfall, as Remnant in single player, can come across as rather mundane, and even cheap, due to its difficulty which is set in stone, regardless of whether you play alone, or with other players.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Remnant: From the Ashes Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
A fantastic co-op games, which falters outside of its online component.