More often than not, sequels tend to turn the tables on their predecessors. Take Assassin’s Creed 2 and Borderlands 2, for example. The former remains the most fantastic game in the series to date, while the latter took everything that worked in the predecessor and made it a thousand times better.
And now we have Remnant 2, which has had the privilege of learning from its predecessor, Remnant from the Ashes. Meanwhile, developer Gunfire Games has been receiving valuable feedback from the Remnant community. So, now, it’s time to see whether they actually listened and whether they went above and beyond to introduce novelty we haven’t seen before.
Join me for a deep dive Remnant 2 review, will you?
The Root of Evil is Upon Us, Yet Again
Just like Remnant from the Ashes, Remnant 2 takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth. A nuisance destroyer of all words, called “the Root,” has run wild. In the case of Remnant 2, it’s been a couple of decades later. Nearly all lifeforms have been wiped out, except for you, a nameless survivor, and a few others surviving in these harsh lands. Your job is to save interdimensional worlds from succumbing to the mysterious invader, Root of Evil.
Into the Multiverse
There are five worlds in Remnant 2. Much deeper, bigger, and better than ever before. Each world is distinct from the other, so much so that you’d think they were five different games. We have The Labyrinth, Root Earth, Losomn, Yaesha, and N'Erud. While the first two are tied to story progression, the last three are randomized.
Ward 13, the place where players spend roughly 15 to 20 minutes on a quick rundown tutorial, is the central hub connecting the various worlds. It’s the base of operations, and the last sanctuary hosting the last remaining humans left on Earth after other wards and the universe were overrun by the root.
Multiplayer mode will let you team up with two other players. However, cross-play is not yet available. Once you complete the tutorial, the journey can begin, often starting with the lush forest, Yaesha.
I say often because you don’t always land in Yaesha as the first world to explore. Remnant 2 has a new randomized system where one of two players will likely land in a different world. Each world has unique landscapes, dungeons, events, enemies, bosses, NPCs, merchants, items, and overall lore. It really does feel like stepping into a new game, only that the gameplay remains the same.
Furthermore, Remnant 2 is a procedurally generated game. I couldn’t tell you how often I returned to a spot and spent nearly half a day exploring different versions of the same lore. These worlds are so incredibly detailed. They inspire a different feel, too, As aforementioned, Yaesha is a lush green serene place. But because of the root, the once lush green jungles have succumbed to death and decay.
Losomn is a merger between the Fae and the Dran that spans chaos and confusion. The Dran, once human-like, has become a hive mind easily spooked into frenzies. N'Erud, on the other hand, is a behemoth of science and exploration. It’s a humongous construct, with its people obsessed with searching for sentient life in the galaxy.
It took asking a friend how their progress was in the game to realize that our adventures were completely different. Sure, there’s an overarching story, but at the core of it all, you never truly know what to expect. I can tell you that finishing the campaign adds up to a weak 20% completion rate. Hence, returning to the beginning is a no-brainer because it takes hundreds of hours for even a hardcore player to see everything, and I have a feeling even those ludicrous hours still wouldn’t be enough.
What’s the Fuss About?
A 400+ plus hours game? What’s so special about it? Well, firstly, Remnant 2 nails the basics perfectly. A speedy, fast-paced combat system. A fantastic, deeply satisfying weapons build. And the sheer variety and randomness of enemy encounters keep you on your toes throughout the playthrough.
Remnant 2’s combat system is best described as chaos. The good chaotic type. There are roguelike elements, some Bloodborne-Soulslike feels, and Remnant’s own kind of flair, too. While there’s lesser focus on melee than ranged combat, the game is, after all, described as a looter shooter, melee doesn’t totally suck, either.
However, I did have a hell of a time with the shooter side of combat, with a ludicrous amount of weapons to choose from. Over 70, to be exact. Machine guns, pistols, crossbows, you name it. From start to finish, players explore the realms and pick up plenty of mods, rings, and amulets along the way that further buffs the weapons to adrenaline-infused levels.
You may want to gun for the mods, in particular. As some will allow you to modify weapons to do extra fun stuff, like launch missiles that branch into smaller rockets on impact. Or eggs that hatch ferocious space crabs.
Don’t worry, too, if you don’t find all the mods in the first playthrough. Remnant 2 has been prudent enough to add a shorter version of the campaign called “Adventure” that lets you replay individual realms without starting afresh.
Enemies, on the other hand, particularly bosses, are more treacherous. It seems Gunfire Games listened on this front a whole lot more because, my oh my, are they full of personality? It demands learning a boss's patterns to defeat them, which isn’t always easy.
If there’s one thing Gunfire Games got right, it’s the fantastic surprises bosses throw at you, forcing you to fight through the chill and take them down. Oftentimes, a boss’s patterns are like puzzles. And they may have multiple ways to kill them.
They’re an interesting bunch, too. Like the cubes circumnavigating around you and wanting to crush you at every chance. Others throw poisonous spit at you, crawl in and out of a horrifying asylum, punch through the floor beneath you, or have eyes that make you go mad and die.
Oh, it gets better when you factor in archetypes, also known as classes. Remnant 2 didn’t leave anything to chance when designing the classes, such that each one is a unique experience from the other.
Of course, you have the usual “medic” healer, “hunter” ranged shooter, or “challenger” closer-ranged shooter archetypes. But there are also unique ones, like the “handler” with his own loyal canine partner. A quadrupedal pet who can give you buffs with its howl and fight enemies alongside you.
Each archetype has unique starting weapons and armor. However, they also have newly introduced skills and perks as well. Meanwhile, onward into the game, you’ll unlock more specialized archetypes like alchemist, summoner, and engineer.
You’re free to swap between them as you like. All along, you can upgrade your character’s skills. And once you hit level 10, you can start to mix and match them to create whole new archetypes drawing double the perks, skills, and strengths of their base build.
I’ve placed little focus on the story itself for two reasons. I wouldn’t want to give spoilers, and it wasn’t exactly a killer feature for me. Perhaps it’s the game’s branding as a looter shooter. Or that there are but a dozen people either playing static roles from the predecessor or one-note scripts that you’re likely to forget in the long run.
Generally, there were quite long breaks between story progression. Looking back, much of the dialogue feels abstract. When placed against the over-achieving, ambitious procedural generation, the plot seems minuscule. On the bright side, though, the randomness and dynamic adventure of Remnant 2 more than makeup for its flaws.
No first playthrough is enough to scratch the surface of all Remnant 2 has to offer. And when you jump on the second run, it continues to push you to the limits, all while providing a fantastic, brutal experience. To some extent, Remnant 2 is an addictive venture. I feel I’ll keep playing for the better part of the coming months. The worlds are compelling. They draw you into their lore, and because of their procedurally generated system, they never take you through the same journey twice. The combat system, particularly the boss fights, is a complete overhaul from Remnant from the Ashes. Each boss has a unique personality that makes taking them down a fresh experience worth the effort.
While most games will have one, perhaps two killer features, Remnant 2 has nearly every gameplay element working in its favor. This is the kind of game that simply watching walkthroughs won’t do. Unless you personally take it out for a spin, the fantastic surprises it has in store for you just won’t land the same way. It’s definitely a must-play for anyone looking to have a fantastic time.
Remnant 2 Review (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, & PC)
A Brutal, Compelling, Must-Play Looter Shooter
Remnant 2 feels almost like a sightseeing tour. It’s a stunning game with five worlds distinct from the other, so much so that you’d mistake them for five different games. The worlds sync well together, though, with a constant, adrenaline-pumping looter shooter experience that’s as entertaining as it is satisfying. Its predecessor, Remnant: From the Ashes, has nothing on Remnant 2. You enjoy way more great content, an addictive exploration journey, and a challenging yet highly rewarding gameplay experience.