Game Reviews PC

Remnant 2 Review – Permanently Removing The Root

In 2019, developer Gunfire Games released a sleeper hit called Remnant: From the Ashes. This Souls-like action role-playing game (ARPG) not only packed a mean punch to the genre, but it also came out of the gate swinging and crushing everything in its path. While the game was far from perfect, it offered up many eye-catching and mind-warping desires. It had a deep and mysterious mythos with unique and intriguing locations along with a solid RPG mechanic that kept you coming back for more, time and time again. Fast forward four years later to 2023, and developer Gunfire Games teamed up with Gearbox Publishing, offering up a sequel in the form of Remnant 2.

Picking up years after the wanderer managed to purge the Root, a plant-like, all-devouring hive consciousness that spreads from reality to reality on a relentless path of destruction. Remnant 2 begins with a new protagonist tasked with locating and destroying the source of the Root once and for all. While the Root is no longer directly destroying our world, it is still loose, spanning across worlds leaving death in its wake. Along the way, the player is introduced to the new inhabitants of Ward 13, some of which offer a helping hand along the way.

After a short intro sequence that starts like something out of The Last of Us, you’re quickly whisked away from post-apocalyptic Earth to one of several wildly different biomes. There appears to be a total of five zones to explore this time in Remnant 2. Each location evokes a unique atmosphere, one that’s dark and foreboding, as you can never tell what lurks around the corner, i.e. Losomn, which gave me Bloodborne vibes. Likewise, there’s forested Yaesha, which veterans of the first game might remember. You’ll even get to visit N’erud, an ash-covered wasteland filled with hostile robots that borrow ideas from the Destiny franchise.

As you explore the five zones, you’ll encounter puzzles, which for me was one of the highlights in Remnant 2. Some can be fairly easy to solve, though others will likely stump you for hours. There were even cases when I searched every nook and cranny in a zone just to reach a distant portal to a secret. And the searching gave me more of a nostalgic feel to gaming. It didn’t just click here, shoot there, move this, and poof the puzzle was completed. I ended up doing a little backtracking for some and it became a great mind teaser.

Now when it comes to most of the game time it is simple: kill stuff. This is the beating heart and soul of Remnant 2, which in return is backed up by gathering an unbelievable amount of loot to optimize how you go about your killing spree. Now you may be asking what sets your character apart from every person playing this game. That is the Archetypes, which are effectively classes with perks that allow you to specialize your play style. Don’t get me wrong, none of them are particularly revolutionary, with Archetypes like healer, summoner, and melee specialist, but the twist comes in being able to incorporate two Archetypes into your character at once. In my current playthrough, for example, my character is a Hunter and a Summoner, the former granting bonuses to long-range shooting and the latter providing support creatures to help me survive on my own. I unlocked this during a Red Moon event and the creatures kind of remind me of the little monsters from the old movie Critters.

Besides the Archetypes, there’s an insane amount of customizability in the form of outfits, weapon attachments, bonus-granting rings, and more. You’ll even be able to find different types of recovery items. You’ll want to keep tweaking all this stuff, since unlike a lot of other games in the ARPG range, Remnant 2 comes with a plethora of different enemies that’ll try to kill you in all sorts of cruel and inventive ways. Speaking of which, the developers have also clearly listened to the fanbase and upped their game when it comes to bosses. Though I’ve encountered a few easy-peasy ones (a boss that’s just a woman throwing Molotovs at you, for example) some of them have been pretty unique, such as a massive four-armed golem puppeteered by a psychic shoggoth-thing.

Please do not think that the combat in this game is a simple stroll in the park. When I stated that this is a Souls-like ARPG, I meant every word of it. Remnant 2 has punishing battles, where a couple of hits can leave you reeling, or worse. So just like any other souls-like games, you’ll still need to time your dodge perfectly to avoid damage. However, you won’t need to worry about parrying, blocking, or dying. Dying doesn’t cause you to lose your XP, leading to a “corpse run” where you have to retrieve it. The game tends to be more forgiving in this regard since the only thing you lose is time.

Remnant 2 is both a solo campaign and a multiplayer game, and each one offered me a different experience. With solo, I was made an Archetype to allow me to live longer and had my pets not only tank so to speak but also do some decent DPS. When I jumped into a multiplayer game, I switched to straight DPS, and the damage I produced while another person was tanking and another was healing made the game feel more separate and a different game all around. Just like other ARPG games, the more people you run with the more enemies that spawn, and the higher the difficulty.

The only major complaint I have with Remnant 2 is a problem is that moment-to-moment combat can sometimes slip into redundancy. There’s a good enemy variety in general. Unfortunately, at times, there tend to only be two or three enemy types in a given location in each world. Replayability is a huge push when it comes to games like this, and when much of the world is randomly generated. The map layout, sidequests, and even whole locations may be different or missing in any particular playthrough, so one player’s experience of a world will likely be significantly different from another’s. I just felt at times, the enemies could have been more mixed as well, but that is just a pet peeve of my own.

Remnant 2 is an excellent successor to Remnant: From the Ashes. It manages to take everything that made From the Ashes a sleeper hit and expand and polish those features. While it is hampered a bit by a lacking tutorial on Dual Archetypes and some balancing issues, Remnant 2, nonetheless, presents an engaging story, solid combat, and great progression systems wrapped in a very well-built world. Priced at $49.99 out now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows, Remnant 2 is an excellent title worthy of your attention and time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This review was written based on a PC review code for Remnant 2 provided by Gunfire Games.

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