REVIEW: ‘Remnant: From the Ashes,’ A Game You Can Play Again and Again (PS4)

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Remnant: From the Ashes

Remnant: From the Ashes is an action role-playing game developed by Gunfire Games and published by Perfect World Entertainment. It was originally released to the PC, PS4, and Xbox One on August 20, 2019. However, it recently was made available on Microsoft’s Game Pass for Xbox, which means it’s time for more gamers to dive into this sci-fi-horror-adjacent world.

In Remnant: From the Ashes, humans are on the brink, the world has been thrown into chaos with the arrival and subsequent attacks by an ancient, otherworldy species called the Root. As part of the last remnants of humanity, you are tasked with beating back the invasion by the Root, find ways to rebuild humanity and carve out a foothold for further retaliation. On your quest, you’ll be able to explore four unique, alien worlds and battle a plethora of challenging enemies.

There are two main modes in Remnant: From the Ashes, the main campaign and adventure mode. The main campaign is probably self-explanatory: the player makes a character and you play through the main story either singularly or with up to two other players. The adventure mode which was released after launch allows players to re-roll the individual worlds you encounter in the campaign. This allows you to defeat bosses again and explore each world as if it were new, which it probably is.

What makes Remnant: From the Ashes quite unique is that everything is procedurally generated. All the map layouts, the number of enemies, what type of enemies, and even which bosses you’ll face are all random. On top of this, you’re guaranteed to only see a portion of the possible bosses to defeat or places to explore. You’ll have to play the game multiple times in order to actually see and experience every possibility. Adventure mode makes Remnant that much more replayable.

As per most role-playing games, Remnant: From the Ashes allows for visual customization of your character – although it certainly isn’t as expansive as other roleplaying games like Bioware’s Dragon Age or Mass Effect. You can also customize the initial loadout. You can pick between three main loadouts which mostly determine your range of attacks (long-distance vs. up-close-and-personal).  Now, this isn’t expansive but is adequate to start out with, especially since you aren’t stuck with this loadout forever.

You can customize your character more and more down the road as you buy/build new guns and armor. On top of this, players can unlock trait points which can be used to increase character stats. As you find materials in the maps, you can also upgrade all your armor and weapons. This allows for a decent amount of character customization.

Remnant: From the Ashes borrows many of its mechanics from the soulsborne game-type. From the fighting mechanics to how checkpoints are used, not to mention the difficulty of the bosses, you’ll find a great number of similarities. However, this game comes with a few twists, making it stand out from other games in this genre. Where the Dark Souls games tend to focus on melee combat, Remnant: From the Ashes incorporates a third-person shooter element, allowing players to use everything from crossbows to shotguns to laser guns. Players are allowed to wield up to two ranged weapons and one melee weapon.

On top of this, there is a strong co-op aspect to this game. In co-op you can play with up to two other players. When other players join, the game automatically scales the difficulty based on the number of players in the game, like most drop-in-drop-out co-op games. As a group, players can advance through the campaign together. Additionally, all players earn the same loot as the host player. However, the downside is that if you aren’t the host, once you return to your own world, you don’t retain any campaign progression and you have to progress through your own story again. Although this is certainly a downside, it’s understandable considering that everything in the game is procedurally generated so one player’s game can be vastly different from another’s.

Remnant: From the Ashes

Another big difference from similar titles is that when players are killed they don’t lose any items they found or skill points they earned upon death. Instead, they’re sent back to the last checkpoint. However, once a reset like this occurs, all enemies are randomized. Enemies may spawn in different areas, the number of enemies that spawn changes, and even the type of enemies that may spawn is different. This makes failure much less punishing than other games in this genre but also doesn’t necessarily make things easier. Upon respawn, the player doesn’t know what they’ll encounter, which makes learning harder.

Unlike other soulsborne games, Remnant: From the Ashes does come with three difficulty levels: normal, hard, and nightmare with the latter only available upon completion of the campaign. However, harder difficulties don’t equate to better loot drops. They only relate to higher experienced earned. It’s a bit of a shame to those of us who do really enjoy these types of punishing games but it also makes it so that people who are only, or can only, play on lower difficulties not feel like they’re missing out. So, to make up for the amount of extra time involved in beating the game at a higher difficulty, the player does earn extra experience.

There’s a large emphasis on the fighting aspect of the game so the story isn’t saturated. If you’re feeling that the story is lacking, be sure to keep an eye out for letters or computer terminals you can access. These elements help fill in the background story. You’ll also encounter many interesting alien denizens in the worlds you visit, both hostile and benign. Be sure to interrogate the non-hostile characters because they have a lot to say and will often expand the story as well. They can also give you quests or you can kill them and take whatever they have on them. It’s your choice.

Remnant: From the Ashes offers a healthy dose of punishing enemies while soothing a player’s wounds with an adequate amount of storyline and interesting places to explore and characters to meet. Although offering very similar mechanics to other games in the same genre, the game is a bit more accessible to the average joe but also allows even greater challenge for those players looking for more. With it’s procedurally generated world, each playthrough is guaranteed to be different, resulting in high replayability.

Remnant: From the Ashes is available now on Game Pass for the Xbox.

Remnant: From the Ashes
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Remnant: From the Ashes offers a healthy dose of punishing enemies while soothing a player’s wounds with an adequate amount of storyline and interesting places to explore and characters to meet… With it’s procedurally generated world, each playthrough is guaranteed to be different, resulting in high replayability.