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Remnant II Review

Kevin Chick Posted:
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The developers at Gunfire Games are back with Remnant II, and they are not wasting time getting players back into the action. When compared to Remnant: From the Ashes, this game has an overhauled UI, revamped Map/HUD, Mutators, and has rebuilt the Archetypes. There are a lot of system changes for players to dig into, but it still retains much of the gameplay feel from the first game. The retention extends to the post-apocalyptic world atmosphere ravaged by the Root. I loved returning to Ward 13 and revisiting most of the characters I met during Remnant: From the Ashes 20 years later, and I think you will too if you are a fan of the first game or new to the Remnant universe.         

The Remnant II story is simple. In the first game, the Root was defeated. But they didn't die like everyone expected. It's 20 years later, and your new character, the Traveller, needs to figure out why.

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Remnant II looks great, and the sound design is amazing. There are a few elements in different environments that I could say are a bit lacking for the textures. But the large set pieces, expansive worlds, enemy design, and character design overshadow the few lesser elements I noticed. Each world is dripping with atmosphere, and I have enjoyed exploring every nook and cranny. Even The Labyrinth from the first game has been expanded and looks fantastic. The developers have once again done a great job of world-building in Remnant II, and I can't wait to see what they will do in the future when given the chance to build more worlds.

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Adding to the atmosphere is the excellent sound design. Characters sound great as they shout warnings or comment on different events/locations. The voice-over work is excellent, and it pulled me into every conversation. The audio cues add tension as mini-bosses arrive. Even during co-op play, I enjoyed listening to other characters call out incoming enemies and vocalize when they were reloading.    

While exploring the different worlds of Remnant II, veteran players may notice that the UI, Map, and HUD have had an overhaul compared to the first game. The new UI screens are easy to navigate, and the 3D map is excellent. But I could see some players potentially being overwhelmed by the new map as they try to pan and zoom to see specific levels/rooms. I could easily see where the next campaign goal was and what areas I hadn’t already explored.

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Character creation in Remnant II was enjoyable but limited. There are not many options for customization, and I would have liked to see more of a selection for faces, hairstyles, and eye/skin color palettes. Even with the limited customization options, the character models look great. It’s one of the few games where my the character's facial expressions don’t bother me most of the time. I did like that creating a Hardcore character was just a matter of clicking the checkbox. Once completed, the tutorial can also be avoided using a checkbox. In this case, the starting Archetype is selected at the end of character creation. 

When playing through the tutorial for the first time, it does a good job introducing most of the gameplay basics but needs to cover a few. I am surprised they didn't include crouching or using the Shift key on ladders.  

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Archetypes in Remnant II have seen an overhaul as well. While players may recognize familiar names, the Archetypes now do much more than determine your starting armor and weapons. The starting Archetypes include Medic, Hunter, Challenger, and Handler. If you pre-ordered, the game Gunslinger is unlocked as well. My favorite start is the medic for their ability to drop a ground AOE heal. As players progress, other starting Archetypes can are unlocked by buying specific items in Ward 13 and crafting them into the Archetype at Wallace, the Mystic.

Gunfire Games have done a great job expanding on Archetypes in Remnant II. Archetypes provide starting armor, weapons, a primary perk, class traits, and three skills. Each one has ten levels. You can also pair Archetypes. Only the primary Archetype selected keeps its primary perk. The rest of the second Archetype's features are added to the build. The pairing also sets a class name. 

There are hidden Archetypes unlocked as you explore and complete the campaign. Once discovered, a new Archetype is available during character creation, giving players access to different starting armor and weapons.  

The replay value of Remnant II goes beyond the Archetype build options as well. The game has four difficulty modes: Survivor, Veteran, Nightmare, and Apocalypse. Survivor will be challenging for most players, but it's not as much as the first game. But I was still dying a lot until I learned enemy mechanics.  

There is also an Adventure mode in Ward 13. When a new game starts, players randomly gain access to one of three worlds: N’Erud, Yaesha, or Losomn. After completing a world during the campaign player can start an Adventure mode session to go back and explore that world again. It’s a great option for completing the various random dungeons and puzzles. A character can have one Campaign session and one Adventure session active at a time.  

General gameplay and exploration of the various maps are great. The developers have created fun puzzles, and the bosses are challenging. Some players may find the map can be linear at times, but I found that to be part of the charm of Remnant II. There are only a few puzzles I have come across that I haven’t succeeded at yet. I can see the hints and am looking forward to going back. 

On the Survivor difficulty, the only boss so far that I almost had to take a break from while progressing was the final Campaign boss. I want to say more about how much I enjoyed some other fights, but experiencing them yourself is a big part of Remnant II. While there weren’t many mechanics I hadn't seen before, they were fun and well put together.

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The co-op experience is fantastic. I love the synergy between the different Archetypes. For example, the Handler can reduce friendly fire and provide a constant regeneration effect from their dog for party members within range. My only complaint, I haven’t found a way to pet the dog yet. While I could see the usefulness of voice chat, the various character voice lines do well at identifying threats and imparting information. I like that most resources and pick-ups are shared. But the ammo is not, so it becomes even more of a managed resource during co-op. I didn’t notice if it was there during our couple of co-op sessions, but it would be nice if we could clearly see the current amount of ammo another player has on the HUD.   

The gunplay feels excellent. Swapping between weapons is smooth, and every tool in your arsenal has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some weapons I have unlocked through gameplay are excellent, and I am already thinking about what kind of build I could use them for in the future. One of my main complaints for Remnant: From the Ashes at release was that dodging would not activate properly every time, or you would sometimes get stuck on terrain. I am happy to say that is not an issue in Remnant II. So far, all my deaths are because of my horrible timing or being an idiot as I dodge off a ledge.

The developers have improved their map design and locations of waypoints/checkpoints in Remnant II. It was rare that I found myself wishing one was closer as I worked my way through a map. The waypoints also made getting back and forth for quest completion easy.  

When compared to some other new releases, Remnant II has very few technical issues. Ones that I noticed may be patched by the time of release, as I am playing on a review build. The game has crashed on me a few times, but it is multiple hours between them. I have 48 hours played with only four crashes. Unfortunately, when you crash, progress on the current map is lost, and you restart from your last waypoint/checkpoint. Thankfully, I have had no crashes during boss fights. 

I did run into rare enemies that appeared beneath or above the floor/ceiling. When it occurred, it was typically on N’Erud. If I kept exploring, enemies would eventually pop out and find me. In one area, I also had a giant death orb of energy slowly following me for part of the dungeon. At one point, the orb appeared outside of the walls. But it eventually self-corrected.   

Remnant II is a fantastic game for a base price of $49.99. I enjoyed Remnant: From the Ashes, even with the issues at release. Gunfire Games has refined what I loved from the first game, fixed the problems I noticed, and continued to expand on this post-apocalyptic universe that they had only scratched the surface of before. At the same time, they have successfully iterated on various systems to make for more fun gameplay and added a lot of replay value. Even on the base difficulty, the game can be challenging. The co-op is a great experience as your frantically clear areas and have friends cover you while reloading as the mini-boss charges, and I can’t wait to take on the Root with a few more friends.

Full Disclosure: A copy of the game was provided by PR for the purpose of review. Reviewed on PC.

9.0 Amazing
  • Atmosphere/Graphics/Sound
  • Gameplay, especially gunplay, is solid
  • Refined Archetypes
  • Replay Value
  • Co-op is legit great
  • Rare crashes
  • Rare issues with enemy spawns


Kevin Chick

Kevin "Xevrin" is an avid gamer having started playing video games on an Apple III with the Wizardry Series and Questron before the age of 10. In junior high, he branched out into tabletop gaming with the release of D&D 2nd Edition. During his first year of university, Everquest was released combining both of his favorite activities.