Search Menu

Remnant: From the Ashes Review (PC) :: Ashes and Diamonds

Super Mario Maker 2 Review (Switch) :: A Step-up in Every Way

After successful Kickstarter, Chernobylite reveals unedited gameplay footage, with new content prepared thanks to the support of all its backers

Dark Light

For me, not many things compare to the exalting feeling of coming home during the weekends, jumping into Discord with the boys and spend all night playing co-op games while engaging in goofy pep-talks and meme reviews. This is a process that has been going on uninterrupted since the release of Vermintide 2 last year and I do not see itself stopping anytime soon. However, since time is of the essence these days, we have to be really picky about what we spend it on. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours were spent in Vermintide 2, Deep Rock Galactic, Grim Dawn and bam!, out of nowhere comes Remnant: From the Ashes, a co-op shooter from the developers of Darksiders 3. It took little to no effort convincing the boys to try out the challenging post-apocalyptic adventure with me in hopes of finding our new time-killer. Is it a diamond in the rough or will it smoulder into ashes in the shadows of the giants? After 40 hours and multiple playthroughs later, here’s what we think about Remnant: From the Ashes.

Story & Narrative

Like many of its peers, Remnant takes a minimalist approach to storytelling.  What you need to know is that the world is in shambles after an apocalyptic event where its invaded by otherworldly entities. You are one of the last survivors of humanity and as is customary, it’s up to you to find the root of this evil and save the world by doing what a video game protagonist does at times like these- shoot the undying crap out of everything. The premise is nothing new but the difference is that there is some real effort put into world building and the lore. There is quite a lot of backstory to discover if you carefully explore the locations, listen to dialogues and read every bit of lore the games sparingly throws at you. Even though the writing isn’t the main focus here, Remnant nails the atmosphere of a bleak, oppressive world in ruins that is backed up by solid core gameplay.

Gameplay & Mechanics

Remnant: From the Ashes is a 3 player co-op third-person action game with a heavy emphasis on boss fights and replayability. More often than not, Remnant feels like a product of love oozing inspirations from The Division‘s over the shoulder combat mixed with the ambience of Hellgate: London with a pinch of Souls-like flavour (don’t fret as I’m not going over the board with ‘it’s the Dark Souls of X’ comparisons here). After a rather limited character creation and a boring solo tutorial, the player can choose from 3 character archetypes; The Ranger, The Ex-Cultist and The Scrapper. these aren’t character classes per se and just determines your starting gear and passives (there aren’t any class-specific restrictions on items and skills). From here on out, you’re free to play solo or join up to 3 players in a campaign that may last anywhere from 8-20 hours. However, Remnant is meant to be highly replayable with each playthrough completely spicing up the challenge, encounters and level layouts, at least according to the developers.

After the prologue, Remnant puts you in a procedurally generated world teeming with otherworldly monstrosities and little to no handholding. You’re free to explore the limits of each map, which often contain multiple paths and optional encounters. Your eventual aim is to beat intimidating world bosses, collect powerful loot, improve your character and move on to the next world. Dispatching foes nets you crafting supplies and consumables whose usefulness doesn’t need explaining. Despite what some people might say, the Souls inspiration comes from mechanics such as resting at checkpoints to repopulate the zone with enemies, refill supplies and fast travel. Attributing other mechanics such as challenging boss fights, stamina management and focus on dodging during combat to Souls games is insulting all the other games that came before it (I wonder who even went to such lengths to get the Souls-like tag approved for the game in the store). Hence, it’s safe to say that Remnant is not Dark Souls with guns. Sooner than later, you’ll be invested in the gameplay loop of kill, collect and upgrade in a campaign that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The Combat

While you are free to choose either melee or ranged combat options in Remnant, it definitely feels like ranged is the way to go, as there’s only one set item that encourages a melee build and bosses will eat melee players for breakfast. The combat in Remnant is weighty, slick and responsive thanks to the tight controls and satisfying-to-use weaponry. Unlike The Division, Remnant encourages players to rush at the enemy and charge while pulling off timely dodges. Unlike many of its peers, hardly any weapon in Remnant feels redundant at any point in the game, thanks to the player being able to improve them via a simple upgrade system and the ability to attach various weapon mods. These weapon mods are the stars of the combat, offering the players highly useful active skills ranging from the ability to summon minions and turrets to team abilities such as boosting crit chance by abysmal amounts and even life-saving skills such as instant revives when out of health. The weapon mods can be interchanged any time and without cost and thus highly encourages experimentation and team play.

Throughout the game, you get the sense of achievement and progress thanks to the challenging difficulty, simple yet effective gear upgrade system as well as the seemingly-endless traits that give you skill points upon levelling up, which you can spend on a huge list of ever-increasing traits such as boosting health, stamina, crit damage, crit chance, elemental resistance, ranged damage reduction etc. Rather than spoonfeed these to you, Remnant trusts the player to discover how to unlock a lot of these traits and upgrades for themselves. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to finish the game with the items and stats unlocked via natural progression. The enemy variety in each world is impressive as well.

However, the combat is not without flaws. The enemy hitboxes, for example, are all over the place. There are times when you successfully dodge out of an enemy’s attack animation range, only to take invisible damage. Often, the enemy attack animations can even clip through walls and hit you from where you stand. The unchangeable limited FOV also makes sure that you won’t be able to see anything when you are cornered near structures. Yet, despite these flaws, the combat in Remnant remains a gratifying experience.

Boss Encounters

Counting both world and dungeon bosses, there are around 29 handcrafted boss fights in Remnant. Each boss looks different from one another and comes with their own attack patterns.  But depending on RNG and exploration, there’s no way you’ll get to fight everyone in a single playthrough. Bosses at a particular location in one world state will simply be replaced by other bosses in the next. Each boss will also drop unique items that can be used to craft weapons and weapon mods that are completely different from one another. Thus, multiple playthroughs and NG+ is advised to get the maximum out of the game.

Speaking more about the fights themselves, they start out well enough, giving you intimidating enemies with powerful abilities to go head to head with and you attain a sense of achievement when beaten. However, as you play more you realise that the actual bosses are not that difficult and what’s making the boss fights artificially more challenging are the ridiculous near-endless mob spawns that populate each encounter. Save for one or two, all the other bosses in Remnant depends on spawning ADDS that take more time dispatching that the actual boss itself. Now, I’m not against the idea of bosses summoning minions to help them out, but when your entire game is filled with encounters like these, it leaves a sour taste in the tongue and takes away from the overall experience. One other frustration about the boss fights is their hitboxes and the lack of clipping of attacks as mentioned above. Melee bosses especially will wipe the floor with you even if you’re behind cover more often than not.

The Procedural Generation

It is said that players will only be seeing about 45% of what Remnant has to offer in a single playthrough thanks to the procedural generation of levels and the RNG that determines the encounters and special events. Currently, Remnant has 4 regions featuring multiple zones and dungeons to its credit. There’s the starting planet of post-apocalyptic Earth where nature is trying to reclaim what’s hers, the forgotten ruins in the desert planet of Rhom, the murky swamps of Corus and the Kashyyk-like jungles of Yaesha. You can reroll the world state at any time to get different level layouts and encounters. But while I loved how the game gives you different bosses to fight each time, I didn’t find the procedural generation of levels to be impressive. It was more along the lines of ‘you’ve seen two, you’ve seen it all‘. I strongly feel that there need to be more assets and level layouts to keep subsequent playthroughs fresh and engaging.

The Loot

This is an area where Remnant deserves applause in droves. Unlike other games in this genre that spams the player with uninspired loot that’s just an incremental increase of what you currently have equipped, the loot in Remnant has a sense of uniqueness and value (looking at you, Division). The game is stingy with loot drops and for good reason. Whether it be weapons or armour, each item you pick up is handcrafted to be completely different from one other in look and function.  Remnant also has its share of set items giving you bonuses based on the number of sets you have equipped. Each item can also be upgraded to +20 (for normal gear) and +10 (for boss weapons) for them to scale with your level. Depending on RNG and the encounters you tackle, it’s also possible to miss out on or get completely different items from your last playthrough. So if you are a guy who dislikes, RNG, maybe this game isn’t for you.

Technical Issues: From the Ashes

Now, you all know that the amounts of technical issues experienced vary from person to person. Remnant has been a very buggy game for me. From items not spawning to not being able to talk to NPCs to missing audio to frequent crashes, it was a bumpy ride. There was even this one time when the game glitched out and gave one of my boys max amount of healing items and upgrades for his equipped items all of a sudden. If you’re a completionist, then sorry to ruin your day but around half the achievements in Remnant are bugged and will not activate for anyone other than the host. Thankfully, most of these problems can be resolved by resetting the world and still keep your items, albeit play from the start. But as with other games, your mileage might vary.

There’s also a need for quality of life improvements like cheat protection, better balancing for solo play, the addition of in-game chat (like seriously?), emotes, lobby browser better UI for PC, mini-map rotation and the likes.

Visuals, Performance & Sound

There’s no denying that Remnant is a looker. The juxtaposition of the rusted metal and blooming vegetation of Earth, the scorching dunes of Rhom and the bleeding waters of Corus brings the harsh and oppressive world of Remnant to life, thanks to Unreal Engine 4. The enemies and weapons models are done very well and are full of detail.  Despite the presence of immersion-breakers like the low-quality meshes of NPC faces and the funky facial animations, overall, Remnant is a feast for the eyes.

Speaking of performance, Remnant was a weird best for me. While the game ran maxed out at anywhere from 60-150 fps depending on the area, there were areas when the fps dipped to the 50s and even the 40s. What strange was that the same area was giving a different fps value on each boot. This was a problem I encountered after the official launch of the game since the pre-launch version ran smoothly as butter.

When it comes to sound, Remnant does a decent enough job. The main menu theme might be a little ‘too inspired’ for people that recognize it but hey, I’m not complaining. The game tries to keep the music as minimalistic as it can but unleashes it full swing during boss fights with some epic and dramatic tracks. The sound design for weapons and monsters are really well done while some of the voice-acting is decent for a AA game.


Remnant: From the Ashes is undoubtedly a fun game and loads more if experienced with some friends in-tow. The meaty combat, unique loot and tonnes of replayability make the game stand out amongst its peers, surpassing its own glaring flaws. A must buy for people looking for their next co-op time-killer. Here’s hoping that Gunfire games will support the game with updates that adds new content as well as bring some QoL fixes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts