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Remnant: From the Ashes Review

Leaping, looting, lacerating, and laughing, Remnant: From The Ashes explodes with character, violence, and a down-right great time in co-op. The procedural generation of the missions presents players with surprises and challenges each time they boot up the title. With its roots in Dark Souls-likegameplay, this is sure to be a powerful title to land in 2019. 

So We Begin

Remnant: From The Ashes begins like most other story-driven games: You are a hero, hurled into a mysterious world to face the utmost challenges and enemies of your people. However, Remnant dominates in the idea of replayability. While the mission set stays consistent through playthroughs, the “levels” are procedurally generated (to an extent) to keep things interesting. 

For example, I began the game alone. I set out to finish the tutorial and experience the early game upon receiving my review code. As I progressed, dodging and destroying the enemies of the initial game, I came across my first boss fight inside a sewer system. This boss’s name was Shroud. Shroud was armed with a mystical bow and set of arrows. He(it) teleported around the sewers, firing well-aimed shots towards his prey. He also “summoned” exploding arrows from the sky, which could be a real stick in the mud if you’re bad at dodging and timing. *cough*

After finally memorizing his patterns, I was able to banish Shroud with volleys of bullets and swift dodging tactics. I progressed through the area, collecting what loot I could, and departed the sewers. It was about this time a friend of mine messaged me, asking for me to join him as he just completed the tutorial. 

I loaded in and was immediately thrown from the giant red crystal that acts as all checkpoints for the game. My character smashed against the steel floor of my friend’s game. Upon our arrival into the first mission, I immediately noticed that our two worlds were not the same. The city streets sang a new tune and the monsters wandered in different areas and patterns. We blasted our way to the sewer systems and were finally greeted by the boss fight area. 

I began warning my friend of the Shroud boss, telling him of my endeavors and conflict. As we traversed through the smoke covered doorway (signaling a boss) we were greeted with a short cut scene. This cutscene showed a whole new threat. Our boss would not be Shroud. It was Gorefist, a lumbering brute of a monster wielding a gigantic blade. This encapsulates the wonder that is Remnant: From The Ashes: Every playthrough will be slightly different, at least for a few times through. 

I do apologize for my rambles, but I truly feel like this is where Remnant truly shines. Not in the story it tells you, but the story you tell your friends. For the past few days I’ve owned this title, I have genuinely enjoyed hearing about my friend's journeys and how much they differ from my own. I digress; here goes an actual review.

The Actual Review. I Promise.

Remnant introduces you to the title with the choice of one of three classes to play as. Without boring you too much, these boil down to long-range, medium-range and close range. Each class offers, at the very least, a different beginning. I chose the medium-range class, the ex-cultist. After choosing this, I informed two of my friends, who both chose the other classes. After each of us completed the tutorial, we began intermittently joining each other, progressing through the campaign. 

This is actually where we discovered the first flaw of Remnant. Campaign progression is only saved to the host, not to the ones who join them. I can almost understand why, with the game being procedural to an extent, but the argument is that the game scales its difficulty to the number of players. So even if the intention is to send up an SOS signal to friends, the game will combat their aid with increased difficulty, ranging from enemies’ damage taken, the number of enemies, and player damage taken. 

As much as I want to gripe about this, I don’t think I can. Maybe its because I’m still a bit new to this game, but I never had an issue joining a friend and helping them through a portion of the game. Luckily for me, I was always stepping backward in gameplay, not forward. The procedural generation of the missions does keep things pretty fresh. The majority of the time, the areas that we would fight through together were COMPLETELY different than what I already had, from different enemy types to different dungeon styles. 

The humor I experienced during my time in Remnant is mostly due to the co-op experience: Nicknaming enemies to crude, childish titles, discovering our bullets can hurt each other, and so forth. These might not be “as intended” by the developers, but my-oh-my did it provide a whole new element to a game that’s a lot more serious than what we made of it.

Graphics and Sound

Remnant has a way about it. I’m not sure if its the art style or the overall design but MAN, is it beautiful to look at. Remnant has impressive attention to detail everywhere I’ve observed. By no means is this a AAA style of graphics, but it’s damn near close. 

As I said prior, I just can’t put my finger on what makes Remnant so good to look at. This is what makes me feel like it might be a design outcome. The way the papers are spread across desks, the grass carving through the asphalt, the sun eclipsed in the sky, all these items combine into a truly immersive world. 

Sound is usually overlooked but always an experienced portion of any title. Remnant has a fascinatingly satisfying atmosphere of sound. Music is rare, bullets are loud, and screams of the morbid foes fill the air. The crackling of flames, the crumbling of buildings, and the whistles of the wind have a significant impact on the immersion of this title in the best of ways.

Gameplay

Remnant gives you as the player, the best thing any title can offer: Feedback. Dodging feels accurate, weapons feel powerful, and enemies hit hard. Every round fired from your weapons strikes your enemy with authority, especially in the case of humanoid enemies. Shooting an enemy in the shoulder will cause them to rock to that side. Hitting them in the knee with a bullet will collapse them onto that leg, offering you an opportunity to gain ground, towards or away. 

Speaking of guns, that’s not your only option to wade through the apocalyptic world of Remnant. Melee is not only a possibility, but is encouraged. Ammo is limited throughout missions, though not to a fault. There are a few times where you will be “guns dry” outside of a boss fight, but finding yourself with an empty magazine at the wrong time doesn’t feel good. So why waste bullets when you can bludgeon, carve, slice, smash, beat, molly-whop, and punch your enemies into the dust!

You may have heard the terminology of a “Souls-like” game. Titles such as Dark Souls, Ashen, and Remnant all share this idea of pattern recognition of enemies, dodging, and well-timed attacking. Ashen was an absolute obsession of mine, and I think Remnant will be the next. My main complaint of Ashen will be my main complaint of Remnant, as well: I. Want. More. Gear. 

For Ashen, gear was not something that the game was about. For Remnant, I’m not so sure yet. I may have just been dealt a short hand on my procedural generation, but I explored every nook and cranny of my missions in an attempt to find a ring, hat, boot, or necklace, usually to no avail, minus the welding mask I found sitting on a barrel. 

Various materials found within the world are mostly utilized to upgrade your existing equipment. Using different ranks of iron seems to be the norm so far. As you upgrade weapons and armor, you’ll also gain trait points to place into the traits of your class, unlocking more and more traits to spend points in as you experience Remnant

Defeating bosses will yield different quest materials that can be utilized to construct different weapon mods or sometimes entire weapons. Weapon mods are “charged” by using the said weapon in the destruction of baddies. These mods can range from setting enemies ablaze to generating a healing pool for you and your friends. They add another level of tactical usage and communication with friends, making sure your mods are utilized in the right place and time.

I’ve truly enjoyed the combat of Remnant. Each enemy operates in unique fashions from each other, as well as providing challenging and interesting bosses through each mission. While almost every enemy I’ve seen so far has an “equal” in other titles, the way they are inserted and designed in Remnant keeps even the most basic of mobs interesting.

Go forth, warriors. Slam another shell in that shotgun, jam another magazine in that pistol and step forward into the new world. 

8

The Verdict: Excellent

Remnant: From The Ashes oozes with enjoyment. As a “Souls-like” title, this one stands tall amongst its peers, throwing bullets and bombs into the usual melee frenzy. Remnant can be experienced with a team of 3 players, making for a baddie(or buddy)-blasting good time. Procedural generation of mission areas will keep this title fresh for several playthroughs, alone or with your chosen squad of survivors.

See About Us to learn how we score

Bric Hudson
Written by
Monday, 26 August 2019 06:00
Published in Adventure

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Bric is a US Army veteran and a passionate gamer. While in military service, he found gaming to be a way to connect with his friends all over the world. This blossomed into a fascination with the gaming culture and the experiences had while launching up a whole new title. He is fond of a variety of genres, which is reflected on his Twitch streams and on his Youtube channel. Find Bric on YouTube. Find Bric on Twitch.

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