I‘ve been playing Remnant From the Ashes all week and in this Review I’m going to tell you what I thought of the game. If you haven’t heard of Remnant From the Ashes before, it’s a Sci-fi third person shooter that has some Souls-like mechanics, and was created by Gunfire Games. Gunfire has made Darksiders 3, and was recently purchased by THQ Nordic. This is a game we’ve had our eye on for a few months now, so without further ado, let’s get into it.
Remnant From the Ashes Review: Merry Multiplayer Mayhem
Developed by: Gunfire Games
Published by: Perfect World
Release date: August 20th, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Price at the time of the review: $39.99
Story and Setting
Remnant begins as you arrive at Ward 13, one of, if not the last bastion of humanity on Earth circa the early 1970s. The Ward is your home base where you undertake quests to stop an alien species known as The Root from wiping you out. The Ward was founded by a man who has long since disappeared, and finding him is the key to saving not only Earth, but countless other worlds also invaded by the Root. You must find out where he went, and what happened to him, before it’s too late.
Gunfire really did a decent job with these aspects of the game, there is a lot to explore, and the world designs are really pretty good for a lower budget studio. The story is deeper than it first appears, and you can learn a lot from the NPCs in the Ward about what is going on. Each world feels unique, with lots of ways to go, but Remnant is ultimately a very linear experience, which may disappoint some.
The gameplay of Remnant is what made this title so compelling to me, and I wasn’t disappointed here. Combat is tight, and your character feels heavy and weighty. Your shots feel good and sound loud leaving your gun, and shooting enemies in their weak spots is particularly satisfying. Melee Weapons aren’t just for show, and they can be used at a moments notice, really making combat feel smooth and responsive. This is the melee I wanted in Immortal Unchained!
When not fighting you’ll be exploring the game for randomly generated Dungeons and events that will provide you with Boss encounters, and new upgrades. Upgrades come in the form of new Traits, Weapon Mods, Weapons, or Armor that your character can use. Which Boss Fights and Encounters you get will determine what loot you gain, so each playthrough will be a bit different for everyone. On my second playthrough about half the Bosses and Encounters were new, which I was pleasantly surprised to see.
Weapons and Armor in the game are very well designed and it is always exciting when you get new gear. However, in my first playthrough I ended up only getting 2 new Weapons and 3 new Armor Sets within the first 8 hours or so of playing. This left me playing with the gun I began the game with, and the Armor I began the game with for nearly half my playthrough, which was very frustrating. This is one of the biggest flaws of the game, and in my opinion really held the game back from being much more than it could have been.
Boss fights are challenging and for the most part, well designed. Each Boss itself looks and feels unique, and you never feel like anything was copy pasted to inflate the Boss count of the game (I’m looking at you God of War). However, they were very clearly created with multiplayer in mind, and might be frustrating to solo players. Nearly every Boss fight in the game features waves of spawning ads that never seem to stop coming, and juggling these and the Boss can be difficult for one player to handle. Now imagine doing it on every Boss you face…
Remnant From the Ashes can be played with up to 3 players Co Op, and in my opinion, this is where the game really shines. With drop in drop out functionality, finding a game is easy, even if you have no friends. Progress is made only in the host game world, but you keep everything you get while playing there.
What I found particularly interesting, is that players tend to fall into MMO like roles while playing Co OP, with usually a tank, healer and DPS. In my co op playthrough for example, I was playing a squishy Ranged DPS in light armor, while my friend was playing a tanky heavy armor dude with a Shotgun. He’d run in and take all the hits, while I hung back and shot over him with my rifle. This seemed to work out rather well for the most part, and is something I was definitely not expecting to see happen. I love running Dungeons in MMOs, so this was a true delight.
Audio and Visual
Visually Remnant looks about how I would expect a 40 USD game to look by a smaller studio. The graphics were nothing to write home about, but they were not bad either. There were a few pop ins that were jarring here and there, but not often enough to really ruin the experience.
The voice acting of Remnant was better than I expected, but it was not outstanding. Music was a bit of a mixed bag, and often felt inappropriate for the area or circumstance, though I did generally liked the songs they picked. Sound effects were also very mixed, and often times you could hear enemies that sounded close by only to find they were really not.
All in all, I was satisfied in this area, if only just. No one’s mind is going to be blown, but I don’t anticipate too much complaining either. One thing I’d really like to note here as well, is that on PC I had almost no bugs in 30 hours or so of playing, and the game only hung up on me once, forcing me to close it. I had zero crashes. Indie games typically have way more issues than Remnant, so they get a big kudos here from me on this aspect.
I genuinely enjoyed my time playing Remnant From the Ashes, well most of it anyway. The game suffers from pacing issues where there are stretches of no real meaningful character progression for hours on end, and then you’re suddenly slammed with 3 or 4 good upgrades. Gunfire has designed the game to deliberately reward you for playing what is essentially New Game Plus, by placing all the best stuff at the end of your first playthrough. It’s a risky move, because if people don’t enjoy the journey to the end, they may not feel like playing a second time. I was definitely on the fence about it when I got there, but I am very glad that I did, and very glad I played it multiplayer the second time around.
It is really hard to emphasize just how much better Remnant is when you are playing co op vs. single player. I honestly cannot remember a game that was such a dichotomy in this area, and I’m trying very hard not to understate this. I actually wish that Gunfire had not included the option to play by yourself, as silly as that sounds, because I fear people will get the wrong idea about the game in its current state. If Remnant did not have multiplayer, it would be an average game at best. Thankfully it does!
If you’re picking up this co-op shooter be sure to drop by our Remnant From The Ashes wiki. You can also check out more our reviews in Lucah: Born Of A Dream Review and Attack On Titan 2: Final Battle Review – Reclaiming Territory.
Remnant From the Ashes is bound to be a polarizing game, much like Dark Souls was when it first released, and I highly anticipate scores to swing wildly from outlet to outlet. Players may find that their first playthrough is not what they had hoped for, and they might write the game off because of this, and I nearly did so myself. However, there is much more to Remnant than it appears, and the deeper you dig, the more you will find that the things you loved about the Souls series are present, just in smaller quantities. For 40$ USD I think this game is priced about right if you are looking for a new multiplayer experience with your friends that will last between 15-30 hours, depending on how many playthroughs you do. However, if you intend to play single player, I would wait for a sale or for Gunfire to add more content. Remnant From the Ashes is definitely a game you should play, it's just a matter of when and for what price.