Review – Remnant: From the Ashes
Remnant: From the Ashes brings a lot to the table, with randomized dungeons to offer greatly extended replay value, top-tier combat to bring the excitement, and often crippling difficulty to frustrate you until you quit and ‘reroll’ a new game campaign.
Calling it the Dark Souls of Shooters might turn some people away, but it’s also the most accurate description of this genre mashup I can think of. If that hasn’t sent you screaming for the hills, there’s an awful lot to like here and even a bit to love.
First off, the combat is fantastic. Where the Souls games rely on stamina management as much as manual dexterity, Remnant is more about positioning and target choice. The route to boss fights is challenging, and it ramps up a notch when you face the boss itself – fortunately there’s usually a checkpoint just outside the area they reside. Talking to your team is a must, and though the game can be played solo it’s quite a bit more fun with a team of two others coordinating attacks. Don’t expect an easier ride just because you brought friends, however, as the game scales difficulty to match your party.
With no ability to block or parry, defense is entirely down to positioning and dodging – accomplished with a dedicated roll button. On the offensive side of things, players can use ranged and melee weapons, though the game tilts heavily towards ranged play. New weapons and other gear can be found in the world or crafted from the materials gained from boss fights, and you’re more likely to be crafting than finding loot, as this isn’t a Diablo-like ‘loot shower’ game. One nice feature to the loot is that if one party member finds a hidden loot item, everyone in the game gets it – even if you’re far away and doing something else at the time.
Outside of loot the biggest way to advance your character is acquiring Traits, passive abilities that give you bonuses. Traits are picked up by progressing through the story and finding secret tomes, and you can use Trait Points, gained by leveling up Trait Rank, to make them stronger. Traits range from the mundane – though vital – ones like increased health to more exotic ones like increasing the chance to stun enemies with your attacks or bumping up your critical hit damage. Once you have the right Traits it’s possible to tailor your build to your style of play.
While it’s fun and the leveling and crafting systems are very engaging, this is at times a very difficult game. The spikes in difficulty are sometimes down to the order the boss fights come in, thanks to the randomization factor it’s possible to hit a boss you have trouble with right out of the gate. When that happens it’s probably best to bow out and re-roll the campaign to get a new layout to give you time to be stronger before butting heads with them again.
What I Liked:
- Great combat – nailed the shooting and dodging
- Boss fights – good variety, each with a different strategy required
- Good loot variety
What I Disliked:
- Some staggering difficulty spikes if you get a bad campaign sequence
The Final Word: This is an interesting mix of Dark Souls and shooter, and they nailed the shooting and traversal parts well enough to overcome the occasional difficulty spikes.