Jay from Gameffine checks out Remnant 2, the sequel to the sleeper hit co-op action game Remnant: From the Ashes from Gunfire Games
Product Brand: Gunfire Games
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: $49.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
It’s been three years since Gunfire games let players loose in a war against the Root in a devastated Earth. In our Remnant: From the Ashes review, I praised the game for its meaty combat and replayability while also addressing some of its shortcomings. The game provided me and my boys with more than 50 hours of co-op joy and I could tell straight away that the IP would be ripe for future ventures. I was right and 3 years down the line, Gunfire Games released Remnant 2, a sequel that’s bigger and better in every way than the original. Remnant 2 has been showered with praise all over the internet. Yours truly might be late to the party but rest assured, the extra playtime we put in is definitely going to matter.
Bad, Bad World
A few decades have passed since humanity dealt blows with the eldritch horrors of the Root. Civilization is back and the menu and societies are being rebuilt. But it’s always free real estate for the Root and survival is a struggle. This is where you come in. As the archetypical chosen one, it’s your destiny to journey across time and space to put an end to the Root once and for all.
This is the gist of the story in Remnant 2. Much like the first game, the story is not the main focus here. While the game does try to make the presentation more grandeur, it didn’t exactly work for me. The first hour of the game was filled with a super-linear tutorial mission, bland characters, and plenty of exposition dumps, none of which piqued my interest. But this is mostly a subjective thing as a lot of players will find the huge amount of hidden lore present throughout the game worth consuming. I was more fixated on the excellent gameplay loop that the story became an afterthought. But for what it’s worth, it’s there for people who want it.
Min-Maxers’ Wet Dream
If you’re someone who liked the gameplay loop of the first game, you’re going to love every second of Remnant 2. Affectionately called ‘Dark Souls with guns’ (which is both a praise and an insult), Remnant 2 doubles down on everything that made the first game a hit and adds more on top. It’s still a solo/co-op shooter with a prime emphasis on combat and loot gathering. Each playthrough comprises five randomly generated areas, each having two sub-levels and culminating in a unique boss fight. There is a big focus on random generation as the game refreshes levels, loot, secrets, quests, and bosses each run, giving each playthrough a unique coat of paint.
Right after the tutorial, players will get to pick one out of four base classes (five, if you pre-ordered), each constituting the standard RPG archetype of DPS, tank, support, etc. But rather than locking you to a single class, Remnant 2 is built around interchanging these at will. You’ll be able to pick up any archetype you skipped throughout the course of the game. What’s even better is that there are six additional archetypes hidden behind secrets. You’ll be able to change your archetypes mid-game or even equip a secondary class, which is akin to dual classing in RPGs. Archetypes are the first part of the puzzle of making your build as the abilities, traits, and stats of one archetype vary greatly from the other. The traits have been significantly toned down in number compared to the first game but they feel impactful here since most of the dump traits have been replaced.
Remnant 2 is a min-maxer’s wet dream. There are so many systems, individual pieces of gear, and such to optimize your archetype for the endgame, whether you’re playing solo or co-op. Players familiar with min-maxing can go in-depth to tweak the game’s various systems to make the ‘ultimate’ build of their choosing. At the same time, the game is equally lenient towards casual players. By introducing various difficulty tiers that significantly change the gameplay experience, Remnant 2 gets around the issue of gatekeeping. Whether you’re a Soulsborne veteran or a newcomer with “skill issues”, Remnant 2 provides you with this convenient and simple way to tailor your experience. There’s something for everyone here.
House of Secrets
Remnant 2 is one of the most rewarding games for players willing to explore. I do not say this lightly. The game is filled with secret quests, items, puzzles, and more. Only players with an eagle eye and a penchant for problem-solving will be able to find them all. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that most players will not even see half of what the game has to offer in their first playthrough. This nature of the game, combined with the roguelite elements rewards the player for replaying the game.
But if you just want to kill stuff, Remnant 2 has plenty of that too. There is a satisfying amount of enemy and weapon variety (while not as unique as the first) in the game. Bosses are fun to take on and their gimmicks do not overstay their welcome. Combat feels great whether you’re on a controller or using a keyboard and mouse. Even difficulty seems even paced till you get to the endgame. While the individual areas come off as comparatively linear, they’re so tightly designed that players do not get overwhelmed and focus on progression.
While I played most of my game solo (insert cliched no friends joke), what little co-op I played reminded me of the good time I had with the first game. The drop-in, drop-out nature of co-op is the cream of the crop. If you decide to join up with a friend or a random dude, any campaign progress you make in their game stays in their playthrough, but you get to retain all the items, XP, and rewards. The game feels equally rewarding to solo players as you can replay a re-rolled instance of any world you’ve discovered over and over again. There’s so much to see and do in Remnant 2 that I can still see myself going back to discover the content I’ve missed even after beating the game. You’ll easily get your money’s worth.
While Remnant 2 is a noticeable improvement over its predecessor, there are still some cracks in the foundation. The state of PC ports in 2023 deserves no mention. While Remnant 2 is not a bad port per se, it does have issues when it comes to the performance department. While the game looks quite good for a UE5 game, the performance impact it has on GPUs requires some discussion. DLSS is a must if you’re playing the game on any medium-end GPUs like the 3070 and forget about getting more than 70 fps maxed out in outside areas without upscaling. The game also runs pretty badly on Steam Deck as it has trouble maintaining a solid 30 fps. In fact, recent patches seemed to completely break the game on the Deck. On the plus side, the game uses Nanite technology and is thus free from shader compilation stutters and pop-in issues.
Remnant 2 is a massive improvement over its predecessor thanks to fine-tuned gunplay, build customization, the massive amount of content, and excellent co-op support. It’s been a while since we’ve played a co-op action title that feels like it deserves the asking price (looking at you, Darktide). Whether you’re a Souls veteran or a casual player, Remnant 2 has something for you in store.
Final Rating: 90/100