Smashing onto the scene a few years back, Remnant: From The Ashes was a surprise hit from the folks at Gunfire Gamesand Gearbox Publishing. While there were definitely some rough edges in the game, it was unique and fun enough to play solo or with a friend. Now the same teams are back with Remnant II which definitely ups the difficulty and production values from the first game into a huge, dark world filled with a ton of baddies to blast and areas to explore (and die in).
Similar to the first title in the series, RII is a difficult yet rewarding looter shooter with RPG elements. Some circles are calling this game Soulslike and while that could be deemed appropriate due to the difficulty, I wouldn’t really consider it similar and feel that term is being used a little too loosely nowadays. Either way, you are quickly thrust into the action, and after choosing an archetype (We went with the Handler because doggy companions rock) you start your true adventure.
There is a ton to do and see in Remnant II and the fact that most of the worlds are procedurally generated, there is a ton of replay value. Gunplay is solid and refined while some melee and pet abilities feel a bit clunky. Enemies are plentiful and some are extremely challenging to defeat. In the end, the biggest hurdle that many players will experience is the incredibly steep spikes of difficulty in mini-bosses and the like.
I played a few co-op sessions where it took a friend and me almost two hours to beat one of the dungeon bosses. It was fun but felt too frustrating to truly enjoy in the first few hours of the game. Along with a frustrating fog-of-war map system that discourages exploration in the first area, the game isn’t very new player friendly. If you are planning on playing solo, prepare to die, a lot.
While most areas of the game are dark, dank, and otherworldly, there is no doubt that Remnant II is truly a gorgeous game that excels in the technical and artistic sense. Detail is fantastic in most armor, weapons, but it’s the alien creatures and landscapes that shine. This graphical fidelity does come at a cost, especially if you want 60+ 4K maxed out on PC. The game was designed with upscaling tech like DLSS in mind so if you are chugging along, enable upscaling to play the game smoothly as it was meant to be.
The audio sections of the game are as equally impressive as the graphical portion with a haunting musical score and bombastic sound effects. This game is prime example of modern eye and ear candy.
With the procedurally generated worlds and enemies mentioned and all the huge areas to explore, there is plenty of replayability for both solo and co-op play, if you can cope with all the difficulty spikes. Even regular groups of enemies can absolutely tear you to shreds. The Handler’s revive perk will definitely help with newer players.
There is a ton to love about Remnant II whether you are newcomer or a veteran from the first game of the series. That being said, while there are improvements, there are areas that could use some love. As mentioned, the map and fog of war system is ok in some areas but horrible in others. Also, there is absolutely no reason to give such difficulty spikes in the first world/area. Yes, a challenge is welcome but not overturned and overpowered enemies that feel broken, not challenging. Lastly, a lot of the items and inventory management seem vague at best. 90% of the items I looted, I had no idea what it was for or what benefits they provided. There definitely is some room for polish in that category.
Remnant II is one of the more difficult games for me to summarize and score as of late due to all the ups and downs I experienced while playing the game. Overall, it is a fantastic experience that is smooth to play, beautiful in audio and visuals, yet it could have used another month or so of tweaking, balancing, and polishing. Overall, it’s a huge improvement from the first game but suffers from some of the same polishing issues. If you want a tough yet gorgeous challenge, this game is just for you.
Remnant II is available now for PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.