Remnant: From the Ashes Review

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Posted September 25, 2019 by Kyle Simcox in Video Games

The Root, an inter-dimensional race of demonic tree-like beings, invaded Earth long ago and has nearly hunted the human race to extinction. You play as one of the brave few human beings left who has set out on a journey across the ocean with the intention of investigating a mysterious tower on the horizon. Things don’t go quite as planned however and a storm sinks your boat and washes you ashore close by in a desolate city filled with the Root. Whether you make it to the finish line or die trying, you quickly come across Ward 13 and a handful of human survivors who set the staging ground for your journey across Remnant’s various worlds. Much like Dark Souls, Remnant’s narrative has a very similar vibe. A lot of the details are left intentionally vague with the lore being told through various items and NPC’s who provide a smattering of knowledge about the world. It’s a fun story that serves it’s purpose in giving you an enemy to fight and creating a mysterious new world to explore but overall it’s pretty forgettable.

One thing that does lend a helping hand to the story is the game’s procedural generation. Two words that may garner caution for gamers, Remnant’s procedural generation is actually handled really well and helps create a unique experience. On my first play through I was able to find the powerful Hunting Pistol by navigating a booby trapped, Root infested tunnel on Earth and my world boss was Singe, a massive fire breathing Root-dragon whereas other players may have found the event that unlocks the Assault Rifle or fought the terrifying Root boss known as the Ent. Most players will probably have a similar experience as Remnant doesn’t have a huge pool to draw from but there’s enough variety in the way the game builds your maps and dishes out specific events to keep things fresh and fun to talk about with other players.

Remnant also gives players the ability to reroll their campaign, giving them a chance to experience the parts of the game they missed as well the option to co-op with friends or random strangers. I honestly found co-op the more enjoyable experience as you get a teamwork bonus that increases experience gained and it just felt easier to farm materials for upgrading my gear. Blasting your way through demons and the games otherworldly forces is just a lot more enjoyable with 2 other people alongside you. While you can earn new weapons, armor, etc. from co-oping with other players, you’re not allowed to keep quest items and they must be claimed in the hosts world before leaving. That rule is only strictly applied to quest items though so feel free to drop a boss with your friends and then exit the game with all your materials in hand.

The gameplay also draws some inspiration from Dark Souls and you’re going to see quite a few similarities. Ward 13 is the safe haven where you’ll upgrade your Dragon Hearts(Flasks), upgrade all of your equipment and craft new weapons and mods. There are crystals that act like bonfires, you’ll enter fog doors to fight bosses, make weapons or mods from their corpses and dying will of course kick all the way back to the last crystal you last visited respawning every enemy you killed. Where it differs is that Remnant’s locations scale to your highest leveled gear upon entering them the first time and it’s a lot less punishing than your average souls game. Respawning enemies and returning to the last checkpoint crystal is about as punishing as it gets.

The bosses are probably my biggest complaint of all. I found most of the bosses were pretty well thought out and their arena layouts were done well. However, there are a handful of bosses that beat you over the head with their one real flaw, the infinitely respawning adds. For example, my first “mini-boss” was the teleporting Root archer known as Shroud who I encountered in the sewers on Earth. Shroud itself wasn’t a particularly hard boss to fight. It had some mechanics I needed to learn and adjust to like his teleportation or arrows that caused a bleeding effect. I could out maneuver Shroud and eventually I managed to beat him at his own game but his adds tended to come out of nowhere and seemed to be one step ahead of me. More often than not they were able to hit me through walls or attacking me before I came around a corner leaving me very little time to dodge. I had an even more frustrating boss encounter but for spoilers sake, I won’t mention it and I must admit I never had to try more than maybe ten times to beat a boss.

Graphically, Remnant almost makes me feel like I’m playing some trashed concept from Darksiders 3 and a lot of the environments tend to repeat themselves. While Yeasha and Rhom are visually appealing, the Earth environments feel similar to Gunfire’s last major release. With that being said though, they’re also the most varied out of the planets you’ll visit in the game in my opinion. While Earth can easily be the worst looking planet you’ll visit due to it’s apocalyptic state, you might get locations heavily infested with the Root’s tree-like presence. As for the sound quality, it’s very on point. Guns sound loud and powerful and the enemies have their own frightening growls and audio cues to signal players when a tougher, special enemy might be joining the fray.

I must say, when I purchased Remnant, I didn’t expect much due to it’s price point and games that try to be Souls tend to fail(with some exceptions). However, Remnant: From the Ashes really manages to stand out and succeeded in drawing me in and keeping me hooked. As I finish this review out, I feel the need to point out that Gunfire Games has already updated the game and added a new “Adventure Mode” that allows players to re-roll specific locations they’ve already visited and go back to experience new content and discover the items they missed. They also added a new dungeon to Earth so players have a reason to go and experience the new mode. It actually makes me wish I had given them sixty bucks instead of forty.

WeTheNerdy
gives Remnant: From the Ashes 8 dragon hearts out of 10.

Pros:
Solid
work with the Souls influences.
Gunplay is on
point.
Procedurally generated worlds lead to fun experiences and
adds replay value.
Wide variety of fun weapons with a mix of
guns and melee.

Cons:
The adds during boss
battles can be annoying.
Environments repeat themselves and
Earth in particular can be pretty boring.


About the Author

Kyle Simcox