Remnant: From the Ashes Review
Remnant: From the Ashes is a third person survival action shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world where chaos rules. It can be played alone or with up to two other people as you fight to survive this waking nightmare. Its Souls like combat gets the blood pumping and is an enjoyable experience solo or with others. It has a few things that are more annoying than game breaking which helps it to be a great game.
Remnant quickly starts you out by letting you make your own character. While the character creator isn’t as in depth as something like Black Desert Online, it has enough options to allow you to create a pretty bad ass looking character.. Multiple hairstyles and various scars for your face can be chosen and there were several different voice types to choose from for both female and male models. It was easy enough to go through the options to not only make a character I would like and that was memorable.
The details for creation were all focused on the head of the character leaving the body as a default which could be an issue for some people. I would have preferred some more options with eye instead of just eye color or a few more options in regards to facial hair or even accessories like earrings. But it helps to know that depending on the head piece you wear, you may not be seeing much of your characters face. Those details decided it was time to get the story rolling and learn the basics of the game.
At its core, Remnant is about a world where society has basically gone to hell and back. Humanity itself is holed up in various locations simply trying to survive the various monsters which now inhabit the world. The evil beings known simply as The Root stalk the land killing anyone they come across.
Various buildings are now entangled and engulfed by giant trees and root like structures which these creatures come from. Sprawled throughout this land are the bipedal forms of The Root, plant like monsters looking to dish out death. Some are armed with blades while others also have guns. You are sent to discover what happened to the hero who left your village and seek out any other news you may find.
The beginning of the game starts off slow but picks up pace as you learn more of the dark secrets of this twisted Earth. I felt grief at times as I discovered old diaries littering the landscape that were the last memories of whole families now lost forever. The story of Remnant: From the Ashes had me hooked as I found more pieces of lore that painted the picture of just how bad things had gotten and why. I felt the story fit perfectly with the withered wasteland landscape you have to traverse as you go deeper into the mystery.
While there is a great story and terrific lore behind Remnant: From the Ashes, the majority of your time will be spent in combat. As you make your way through the tutorial you get to make a choice on archetype you want to play, which will set you up with some basic armor and weapons to start you out with. I went with the more long-range character which gave me a rusty machete like blade, a pistol as my secondary gun weapon and a marksman rifle which was very similar to a Winchester rifle as my primary gun.
You use these weapons in a very Souls-like combat system that has you dodging to avoid damage and sometimes opting to use your melee or secondary guns to conserve ammo for the harder hitting mini bosses and actual bosses in the game. While there is stamina usage for dodging and running, thankfully melee doesn’t take any stamina to use and helps to make it a viable form of combat in a world with plenty of guns.
The gunplay felt solid and worked well in conjunction with melee combat. Switching between either gun or melee on the fly as combat evolved around you was fluid and fast. Even though I was more of a ranged character, I was still able to dodge as needed and start melee-ing anything that had gotten too close to me. You have to be aiming to use any of your ranged weapons, otherwise your primary attack button is your melee attack. It was easy enough to use both destroying hordes of enemies while also dodging a mini boss that had spawned to make sure things weren’t going too easy for you.
While all this is going on you will eventually take damage and need to heal up. You can do this in a few ways, but the primary way to do so is by using the Dragon Heart which has a finite number of uses per rest (if you’ve played a Souls game, this may sound familiar to you). All of this combat is to help you progress through the level and get to various checkpoint crystals. The special thing about these is that when you rest, you reset your ammo, health and charges on your Dragon Heart, but you also reset every enemy at that level. These checkpoints can also be used to travel back to your main base which you will do often to upgrade your gear.
Items in Remnant: From the Ashes come in several forms. You have your melee weapons and various ranged weapons which help you create a style of fighting that you enjoy and look cool doing it. All of the ranged weapons have slots for mods that charge up so you can activate a power from them, like a circle of healing or sight that gives your group an advantage to critical hits. This was great because it added another facet to the game for more variety for character builds. You can only have two mods equipped at once and there are several in the game. Having a team equipped with different mods to balance out a boss fight can make things that much easier.
There are also various types of this armor that have different resistance and bonuses attached to them. These bonuses stack and become more powerful if you’re wearing all three pieces of the same outfit (like a bonus to critical hit damage). As you progress in game you will eventually spend the currency (scrap) and iron to upgrade your weapons and armor to make them powerful, this also includes a nice visual change to the weapon as well. Both scrap and iron are loot that either drop from mobs or can be found in chests or smashed open boxes. None of these currencies can be bought with actual money. Bosses will also drop items which can be used to craft special weapons, such as a crossbow that shoots a row of bolts at once or depending on what you kill you can craft new mods for weapon. There is a bit of grind to Remnant to make yourself as strong as you can be to face that next killer boss, but it isn’t as bad with friends.
You gain experience as you fight and do quests which turns into points for the Trait system. Traits are a way to further customize your character build, from simple things like putting points for more health to more advance traits like having damage resistance against ranged attacks. You start with a few basic traits, but as you go deeper into the game, you’ll discover other ones which may give you give you a bonus for playing with other people or even earning more XP per kill. There are quite a few Traits in the game which can help you to customize your character as you see fit.
While I’ve talked about the combat in the game, it changes itself up a bit when you play with up to two other people. The difficulty of what you’re fighting goes up the more of you there are, but the loot that drops becomes more powerful as well. The game itself can be played solo, but it reaches its full potential when you have friends to play. There are options to join a friend's game or just join a random person's game as well.
There are a few negatives to multiplayer, though. Surprisingly there is no in game VoIP or text chat at all. While all the loot that drops is shared amongt the group, ammo drops are first come, first serve which can be a bit of a pain.
There is eventually the ability to travel to alternate realities with dynamically generated world maps to help keep things fresh and the challenge going once the main story is complete. There are currently four different worlds you can travel to each with their own unique environment and enemies. The person hosting has their quest/story progress while everyone else gains experience and items. Because of this the main storyline can only be progressed if you’re the host, but it was easy for me to host a game and leave it open to the public for people to join me or for my friends to help me out as well. This is a great way to go back to earlier levels to help a friend and get some extra loot. Just try to keep in mind that there is friendly fire in the game (it’s a reduced amount of damage, but it’s still damage).
All of the above is highlighted by the environment design in Remnant: From the Ashes. The beginning area of Earth with decimated buildings and roots thrusting up from the ground and a dark sky help to set the atmosphere and mood for the story to come.. Eventually this opens up to exploring alternate worlds that can seem alien and some too close to home. From your first encounter with The Root with their twisted plant like visage to the deranged insect like mutations of the Iskal race that inhabit the swamp like world of Corsus, the design of these monsters mesh well with the story of Remnant. The music provides an even background that accelerates at boss fights and try's its best to blend into the various environs.
Overall Remnant: From the Ashes is a great third person shooter that will have you going back for more even after you’ve died several times. The Souls like combat works well with the ranged weapons in the and the melee as you need it. The story told is sometimes heart wrenching and often times quite surreal. It’s a great play both solo and with friends. The biggest negative being no in game VoIP or text chat. Which a launch of currently four different world types though I am concerned about game longevity. It’s available on Steam for USD $39.99.
- A great and heart wrenching story
- A ton lore that is scattered throughout the world
- Souls like combat done right with both range and melee
- Fun both in solo play and in multiplayer
- Environments that will sometimes have you staring and taking screenshots
- Plenty of gear and items for you to obsess over to make a perfect build for killing a certain boss
- Easy to learn gameplay that with time can be mastered
- No in game Voice or text chat
- Longevity may be a problem with only four worlds/map type at launch