Last year's action RPG hit Remnant: From the Ashes now has a swanky new physical release so I figured it's about time to check it out.
Coming fresh from playing the incredible Nioh 2, I wanted to sink my teeth into yet another Dark Souls style ARPG. To my surprise, Remnant: From the Ashes doesn't feel as Souls-like as most of its brethren so right off the bat, I knew I was in for a unique adventure. For starters, it features both long-range and melee combat which I guess you could compare to Bloodborne although that focuses much more on melee than Remnant: From the Ashes does. Anyway, you basically equip 2 firearms as well as a melee weapon and can quickly alternate between the 3 depending on your current situation. Being swarmed by ankle biters? Rapid-fire shoot them with a pistol. Have a hulking monster on your tail? Smash him up with your hammer. Then, simply blow everything else away with a shotgun.
Most Souls-like games lack a sense of personality as they generally try to create mysterious atmospheres while leaving your character as a blank slate. With that in mind, I was very impressed with Remnant: From the Ashes' cast of NPCs who range from sarcastic introverts to helpful fellows and suspicious drifters to wise old folks. Not only that; even though you make your own character, they even say things mid-gameplay which makes the world feel all the more real as the things they say always match their current situation. Speaking of game world, I found it to be rather immersive although the graphics are neither stylish nor realistic enough to truly stand out. Specifically, the character models are on the generic side of the equation while the environments look good but not quite memorable.
When I play a Souls-like ARPG, I always try to collect everything which is as enjoyable as it is pointless. So, one aspect that I appreciated a lot about Remnant: From the Ashes is that every weapon or piece of armour you collect feels like a monumental occasion. Expanding your inventory while completing armour sets and upgrading your gear is super-satisfying and out of every single similar game that I've played, I think that Remnant: From the Ashes handles this collectability aspect the best. Needless to say, this makes it compelling to explore areas fully as you may discover a wealth of materials and perhaps unlock new gear. There appears to be a random element to item spawns as well which can be irritating if you're using a guide but it's cool to re-play sections and see that things are slightly different.
The most frustrating part about Remnant: From the Ashes is when enemies swarm you and you're stuck in a corner with a camera that's struggling to capture the action. This happened to me on multiple occasions and I was rarely able to break free; never mind be able to work out just what the heck was going on. Aside from these moments which can be avoidable if you slowly progress while strategically taking out your foes and staying away from corners, it's a fairly smooth campaign. From time to time, you'll find yourself having to grind in order to deal with particularly tough bosses and whenever you do, it can be a tedious endeavour but thankfully, you keep everything whenever you perish so if you stick to it, you can become powerful enough to take down any monstrosity that stands in your way.
Remnant: From the Ashes - Swamps of Corsus Xbox One ★★★★☆
It's been a couple of months since I reviewed the main game (it's now June 4) but some new DLC just released so I figured I would play and review that as well. The Swamps of Corsus expansion includes plenty of new content which is surprising considering how inexpensive it is. Before I get to what's in the DLC, allow me to say that there's a free update which includes new dungeons, enemies, and such. Of course, this is great although some of this content is listed in the add-on's description. If you just want to know what's included in the expansion, I'll discuss that now. For starters, it comes with a Survival mode which features its own currency in the form of Glowing Shards that you can trade with an NPC for armor skins. Finally, there's an expansive Corsus area that you can explore in Adventure mode.
The main appeal of the Swamps of Corsus DLC is definitely Survival mode. In it, you basically start with a pistol and some scrap then traverse a random assortment of areas and as time goes on, the difficulty increases. I've never played a similar game that features such a mode and it's simply awesome to experience a remixed campaign in a roguelike structure as you level up and play as efficiently as possible. Imagine playing Dark Souls and after every boss that you defeat, you're sent to a random area so you can conquer that next. That's exactly what this is. It's such a clever and ingenious implementation that it makes this DLC worth downloading on its own.Remnant: From the Ashes - Swamps of Corsus gameplay video →
Remnant: From the Ashes - Subject 2923 Xbox One ★★★★☆
It's September 1 now and a new piece of DLC has recently emerged in the form of Subject 2923. Unlike Swamps of Corsus, this add-on is primarily focused on its very own campaign. In it, you'll fight new bosses, traverse unique areas, and acquire a wealth of cool gear. Right off the bat, let me just say that if you already own Remnant: From the Ashes then getting this DLC is a must because the adventure within truly feels like its own distinct experience. It takes place after the base campaign yet it's kind of a bummer that the ending of the main story didn't actually resolve and that this DLC wraps things up in a new way but it's still cool how it all ties together.
When you begin Subject 2923, you're on a quest to find Ward Prime and you start by traversing a creepy fog-filled farmland that's crawling with aggressive enemies who will warp around and shoot at you. I didn't find it all that difficult but it definitely has an awesome atmosphere. I don't want to spoil anything but when you reach Ward Prime, it's downright frightening and very strange. You can interact with an odd glowing organism that makes the hue change as well as materializes enemies which took me off guard at first. After that, you'll explore the frozen lands of Reisum that are filled with diabolical monsters and it has a very dark fantasy feel. In fact, it feels very similar to Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel which is a good thing, needless to say. Overall, this is one impressive chunk of content.Remnant: From the Ashes - Subject 2923 gameplay video →
Remnant: From the Ashes is one of the better ARPGs released in recent years so if you enjoy Souls-like campaigns or third-person shooters in general then I'm sure you'll have an enjoyable time mowing down the monsters that lurk in its post-apocalyptic world.
- + Visceral gameplay featuring well-done melee and long-range combat
- + Strong sense of personality
- + Fun collectible aspect
- - Enemy swarms and bad camera positioning make for highly irritating moments
- - Graphics aren't the greatest
- - Grinding can be a bit of a pain