Review: Remnant From the Ashes
I'm a big fan of pretty much every type of genre in gaming, especially racing, shooters, horror & action adventure, and any type of shooter game is kind of my favorite, so when I first saw Remnant: From the Ashes for the first time, a new third person survival shooter with RPG and Dark Souls elements, I was hooked right away. It looked refreshing, awesome, and like a ton of fun to play. The question is: is it, really all that? I've killed an immense amount of all kinds of monsters/creatures, leveled up a ton of times, upgraded my armor & weapons countless times, and fought many bosses, to finally be able to have a fair and reasonable opinion about the game. Let's go! Platform: Xbox One S.
Introduction The game starts with creating my own character, like in any other RPG game, with there being a lot of options to choose from: gender, head/face, hair style, facial hair, colors for hair and eyes, skin tone, scars on face, and the voice of the character. I change to a face and hair (facial, too) style I prefer, alter the colors a bit, make him sound a tad different,
and faster than I can say "Great as well as quick start to a game", my character is ready to go. I progress, and is seeing my newly created character being featured in a short cut-scene where he's traveling by boat on a sea. The scene is accompanied by a woman speaking about the journeys that took place before the hero's, and about his upcoming adventure. It doesn't really tell me much about what happened before the world turned into a post-apocalyptic one, though, and leaves me more confused than enlightened.
The scene ends with the hero being swallowed by a huge wave, only to be washed ashore later on. He wakes up, and I'm free to control him. After finding my way through the level and killing some enemies with my melee weapon, I unfortunately die by tougher enemies, and to my surprise, it was supposed to happen, as I get rescued by fellow survivors seconds after. This is where the game truly begins. Visuals/performance Remnant: From the Ashes is no exception when it comes to gorgeous visuals in games, sporting an art style that's similar to Fable, very nice looking lightning, anti-aliasing in full effect, high resolution textures, great level design that is very varied as well, character models that are realistic, colorful effects,
and animations are actually pretty good for being a AA game. There's literally never a moment that's "ugly", and I spent a lot of time taking screenshots of all the gorgeous scenery present at times. I was pleasantly surprised to see the game looking like this, but I'm not sure about the resolution: could be native 1080p, and there's no reason for it not to be, but I'm unsure. A good looking game can still be the victim of unstable gameplay and performance, which, sadly, can be the case in Remnant, but mostly when playing in co-op, where the framerate can drop as low as down to a near unplayable 15-20fps, for some unknown reason.
It only happened during one mission, though, every other mission that I played in co-op was very stable. Playing solo is also very stable, and doesn't see the framerate go down at all, even during intense boss fights (as far as I could tell, at least). If a game can have framedrops, it can also have bugs, but fortunately, Remnant doesn't really have any (the game did crash at least one time, though). The sound design is very good - weapons sound authentic, voice acting isn't bad (characters all have their own unique personality),
effects are loud and clear, monsters make believable sounds, and the audio in general is just surprisingly well made. Remnant is a very pleasant sight to look at, and while doing so, I never experienced a dull sounding part either. What I really liked, though, is the amazing weapon design, as each weapon is so unique. The believable and rough design of some of them almost convinces me that they've really been through a real post-apocalyptic event. Gameplay The main concept of games that play like Dark Souls is pretty simple, yet the core gameplay can be very hard to master, or even get through at all sometimes. Remnant: From the Ashes has obviously taken inspiration from the series, but holds its own ground, where it even shines brighter than it in some parts. A lot of the gameplay consists of entering different worlds and fighting monsters in them with either melee or guns,
but is at the same time rather varied due to the dynamically-generated worlds that the game has implented, resulting in every world playthrough being different to every player - monsters can be different, the boss within a certain level can be different, the general look of the level can be different, and so much more. In case not obvious enough, this is designed to make the game become less repetitive, and offer new experiences with each playthrough, but despite this techique, the game can still become sligthly repetitive, though only in the form of doing the same thing over and over, as in killing monsters all the time, with the occasional boss fight to break it up from time to time.
Whenever I felt like the game was being too harsh on me, I ventured back to Ward 13, a place where I can rest, buy new weapons and armor, upgrade said equipment, buy items such as consumables, talk to residents, decide what world to spawn in, and more. When entering a world, it's the same Dark Souls like gameplay we're all used to: get from checkpoint A to B in order to progress, while exploring sub-open-world enviroments, replenishing your consumables at checkpoints much like bonfires in Dark Souls when needed, and fighting hard bosses at the end of some levels.
The RPG elements in the game are pretty awesome and are mostly made up of receiving XP from killing/progressing, used to upgrade traits with points (like having more HP, stamina, taking less range damage, increasing teamwork in co-op, and more), changing clothes and weapons, upgrading weapons and weapons, picking up loot, as well as more. It's a perfect mix of RPG elements, and I really love it. I definitely feel like my character becomes stronger and stronger the further I get in the game. Melee works great in the game, but it's the guns that really take first place, mostly cause it feels good using them, but also because of how superior they are. Sure, I was able to mow down foes pretty quickly with a sledgehammer, but the shear amount of enemies on-screen at times was a bit too much for me to handle with only a hammer,
so quickly running away from the enemies and equipping a shotgun did the job instead, which brings me to the difficulty: just cause the game had just started, doesn't mean it would go easy on me, cause it was quite hard right away. It only gets harder and harder, too, but upgrading weapons and armor gave me an edge. I feel like the game is too focused on co-op, though. It's playable solo but is way harder than when playing co-op, so I think they should've balanced it out a bit more for those that don't play co-op. Overall, the gameplay is extremely good, and it never left me bored! Story There's not that much of a story in Remnant, but what's actually there, is definitely more than decent. The world has been overrun by creatures called Root (at least some of them are called that), leaving humankind in pieces, and very few pieces at that. With their only choice being to fight back to save the world, the last Remnants of earth now has go through all kinds of hell, alternative realities, and enviroments to gain the upper hand. After being rescued by fellow humans, the protagonist wakes up in a place called Ward 13, a safe haven, if I may. Once familiarised with the place and armed to the teeth, he finds his way to Commander Ford,
one of the people that rescued him. Out of options due to monsters forcing the survivors to stay in Ward 13, Commander Ford asks the protagonist to open a different gateway for safe passage with a key received from the founder of Ward 13, Ford's grandfather. The gateway is open, and he begins his journey on saving the world, one Root at a time. I consider the story to be fairly good, even though the focus is on gameplay. Then again, there's only a few real cut-scenes, most of the time will be made up of being in worlds slaying monsters, not many NPCs are present in worlds, and the protagonist doesn't really talk much. The beautiful part is that Remnant doesn't need that deep of a story in order to draw the player in; the amount of just extraordinary gameplay more than makes up for it. At the same time, the story IS pretty good, so I got the best of both worlds, to be honest.
The enviroments featured in the game are some of the most original, jaw-dropping and varied ones I've seen in games - making it really clear that the game has gotten a lot work done in the level design department, cause it really is superb. Each enviroment, whether it's in an abandoned city overgrown by foliage on Earth, a hostile alien world afar, or in plain old sewers underground, all have at least one thing in common: character. For instance, cities on Earth really feel like they're contained life before, alien worlds are unique in their design and don't feel familiar at all to something like on Earth, merchants have their own safe havens, and every single enviroment just has ton of background to it. Co-op I played a couple of hours in co-op, and I honestly am impressed by how much fun it is. As mentioned before, Remnant is fully playable in solo but is designed with cooperative gameplay in mind. Playing solo can get very hard, which I learned the hard way, so I decided to host a multiplayer session for people to join me since I couldn't join anyone due to it being in early access.
It didn't take long for someone to join me, and neither did it take long for me and him to really get along. We ventured through countless of different worlds, all giving us altered challenges with each level. Co-op works great - I never noticed any sort of lag at all, and everything that the players does, is seen in real-time, there's no delay to anything, or any different view/perspective for anyone to anything that happens. Enemies are well balanced, meaning that they won't favorize any player, so they'll give each player equally as much damage, too.
I was able to see my companion's armor and weapons clearly, as well, which is awesome for those that want to show off. If there's ever any need for better equipment or consumables, all players can meet up at Ward 13 to do so. The general gameplay is the same, just with more players. In order to use a checkpoint, or go through a gateway, all players need to be present. I love the co-op in Remnant, and honestly can not wait to play more of it. The only downside to co-op is the sudden drop in frames to around 15-20fps that I experienced during a whole world/level, making it near unplayable. All in all There's a few games like Dark Souls out there, but I feel like there should be more of them, especially those that feature guns for once. Remnant: From the Ashes, at least for me, scratches that itch mainly cause of just how generally awesome it is from beginning to end. The game's focus is definitely on gameplay rather than story, but gives those longing for the latter something to look forward, too. It's the visuals that gives the game its attractive feel, though, where it really outshines similar games, with an art style that really comes across as visually beautiful. Performance is fine for the most part, but co-op can see an unplayable state at times, for unknown reasons, though with there being no bugs in sight. The gameplay and content is superb - deep RPG elements, wide variety of weapons, armor & equipment, long story, a lot of missions to be completed, a ton of variety thanks to the dynamically-generated worlds, and much more. All this works together to try and create one heck of a game, and does succeed in doing so.
Remnant: From the Ashes is available digitally on the Microsoft Store for Xbox One, and releases today (20th of August). It's priced at a reasonable price of $40. Are you interested in buying the game? That can be done here: Remnant: From the Ashes - Microsoft Store. A review code was provided by Perfect World Entertainment for review purposes. This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson, and is based on his honest opinion about the game.