- Developer: Gunfire Games
- Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
- Release Date: August 20th, 2019
- Price: $39.99
Remnant: From the Ashes is the newest game from Gunfire Games, the folks behind the brilliant Darksiders series, and publisher Perfect World Entertainment. This is their take on procedural generated worlds, large bosses, and difficult enemies. The game blends RPG elements, with third person shooting mechanics, and an emphasis on action adventure gameplay. It’s all task to enter into a market predominant owned by developers like From Software but if anyone can do it, it’s Gunfire Games. In this review, we’ll see if this third person shooter is worth your time and money.
As soon as you start the game, you’ll be tasked with creating your character. It’s not the deepest character creator in a video game, especially when compared to more RPG focused experiences, but it’s enough to get the job done and craft a character you’ll be content with. From there, you’ll have the option to pick a class out of three: Hunter, Scrapper, and Ex-Cultist. Each class has its perks, it’s strengths, and it’s weaknesses. The Hunter class is perfect for those players who like to attack from a distance, those who like to utilize range to their advantage. If you like to play with sniper rifles in most games, this is your class. They also get the special ability Shadow Walker, which allows you more leeway for stealth kills on unaware enemies. The Scrapper class, which is for those who prefer the opposite of the Hunter class. This is for you, if you like getting up close and personal with enemies. Shot gunners will more than likely gravitate to this class, which also comes with a perk that increases melee damage called Warrior. Then there is the Ex-Cultist class, the happy medium between the other two classes. Close quarters combat and mid-range assaults are the defining features of Ex-Cultist, which also has the Spirit trait which increases Mod power generation.
Regardless of the class you pick, your never permanently forced to play that way or adhere to it’s benefits. The game encourages experimentation and you can equip any armor or weapon to any class. Speaking of armor, each piece of gear has its own weaknesses and benefits. This could be things like allow you to receive more damage by a certain elemental effect or make you more vulnerable to certain hazards. It’s important to look at the stats. You might feel inclined to equip the highest rated armor but it might be better to choose the one that has effects that counteract the world your in’s hazards. You will get added perks when equipping two or more items that are part of an armor set. With that said, I usually found mixing and matching to be more beneficial in the long run. Armor is usually rated by weight and elemental resistance and you may run into a world where having multiple resistances to be a life saver. With all of that said, armor also effects your character mobility because of weight and being able to move and dodge quickly is most important. This is one of the few games where rolling and dodging from enemy attacks is dreadfully important because it will determine how far you get.
Enemies are very difficult and being unable to dodge from an attack can leave you dead. This makes armor selection an interesting trade off. Do you pick something that can handle massive damage at the expense of mobility, thus making fights longer, or do you choose to wear something light that cannot handle much damage but affords you the opportunity to deliver more attacks? Different play styles will choose different tactics and freedom like this is always welcomed. Balancing the two is the goal, though sometimes difficult, and different fights might warrant different strategies. Along with armor, you have jewelry you can wear to boost skills, argument traits, or increase resistance to elements, these include rings and necklaces.
With armor, comes weapons. You’ll always have a primary weapon that is a pistol across all classes, a secondary weapon that’s usually either a shotgun, sniper rifle, or other weapons like boss created ones. Melee weapons range from clubs to machetes. Every weapon has its own rating, damage output is showcased, and a slot available to add modifiers. Like armor, they can be upgraded for better damage and effects. Oh, yeah, upgrades are done by using materials found in the worlds and paying an NPC to do the job. Enemies will also drop ammo and items. Be advised that you can only carry a certain amount of ammo. If your rifle can only hold 50 clips, 50 clips is all you can carry. Normally this would be annoying, but ammo is regularly dropped by enemies and this also encourages using your melee weapon.
Modifications that can be added to weapons range from temporarily having incendiary rounds, blasting the ground to create a healing pool, having a flame thrower, and even some team buffs. To use these modifications in battle, you just have to use the weapon and a bar that encompasses the icon will fill up until it’s ready. I didn’t find a massive amount of weapons but the game tries to have them varied in design. Much like the game’s armor selections but both are either hit or miss. Boss weapons, however, I found to be really creative and I enjoyed the designs.
The Traits in the game make a difference and are important. You’ll get different Traits by either playing through the game’s story, doing a task repeatedly, or by finding tomes throughout the game world. As you’re character levels up, you’ll be given points to apply to your unlocked traits to increase their power. Some of these traits include things like increasing your health and stamina, increase the amount of materials you get from the world, and giving you more experience points for your actions. The game rewards your actions with traits, like unlocking one based around team work because you’ve constantly gone out of your way to help a downed teammate. That last part is important because the game really jumps in difficulty when one or more players are added to your game world. Having abilities, like teamwork, upgraded to a high level will really make a difference in boss fights and such.
Now before we get into detail about the gameplay, let’s quickly address the story. The desolation of humanity is all across the globe, with few survivors held up in different bunkers. You take control of one of the few remaining survivors, a character you’ve created, and it’s your goal to defend the onslaught of the terrifying Root and to learn where they’ve come from. After nearly dying, you’re taken in by Ward 13. From here, you’ll explore different dimensions in hope of accomplishing your goals and freeing humanity. Essentially, it’s explore, kill enemies, get loot, and kill a boss. Then you repeat. Luckily strong gameplay helps make this all an enjoyable experience.
You will explore procedurally generated worlds, different for each player. Some of these random creations can be bland and can feel uninspired, but it’s rare to get a world generated this way. The game also reuses assets from Darksiders 3, it’s apparent, but otherwise the game can get really beautiful and diverse with dark and colorful environments. The game’s environments are also littered with items, a nice detail that makes the worlds feel more realistic. You’ll find lush environments like swamps, you’ll have broken cities with multi-storied buildings, grotesque looking underground sewers, blazing sun deserts, and areas drenched in deep crimson blood. It’s all varied, all tells it’s own story in a way, and all enjoyable to play in. It helps that the in game music ties in nicely with it’s moody and atmospheric tones that play in the background. You have some really nicely composed orchestral music that ramps up when in battle and shifts to better enhance the gameplay experience. It is hard to notice at times because it’s in the background of even the game’s sound effects but that’s by design because those sound effects are important. There’s a nice interaction between sound and animation, and some bosses have some sound cues when they attack that are immensely important to gameplay. It can truly make or break an experience because sometimes the bosses aren’t in your line of sight but will continue to attack. Overall the sound and graphics are fantastic, even the voice acting is nicely done and feels natural. The voices match the characters and the line delivery comes across naturally with a realistic flow. The game also has some great particle effects, great elemental effects, and great attention to detail. The only issue is that sometimes, only happened a handful of times, textures are delayed and can be seen loading in.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t like your world or need to change it, you can re-roll your world. What re-rolling does is resets the world and changes it. Essentially you’re generating a new world and quests will be reset and locations will need to be unlocked once again. It’s as if you’re playing for the first time. This is great for trying to complete side quests because, depending on your world design, they may be locked off an unable to complete on your first play through. You’ll also have different spawns depending on your world and, so, re-rolling might be necessary to complete the world. I was having issues with one of my worlds and I re-rolled because I thought it would only be for a level. It was not. My whole world was reset but, on the bright side, things were easier to overcome. Quests are unique in that way, they can be cut off depending on your layout, and they can be accidentally discovered by picking up an item. There is no doubt you’ll have to play through a world multiple times to get all of the side quests done, which is great for replay value and for those looking for an excuse to stay in this game after beating it. The same will go for secret armor hidden in the game, you may not be able to get them depending on your layout and, so, you’ll have to re-roll.
The highlight of this game, the thing that brought me back time and time again, is the gameplay. It’s addicting with how fluid and balanced it is. The flow is fantastic. You’ll encounter formidable enemies that are smarter than most other game’s A.I. You, and the enemies, will take cover, try to flank, and back track when getting overwhelmed. Some enemies will even allow the tank of the group to take center stage whole they fire behind him or try to come around the sides to attack you. It’s excellent. Seeing enemies use the environment to their advantage was amazing to see because so many games get it wrong or fail to live up to expectations. Enemies are varied, have their own tactics, and will require their own strategies to defeat. You’ll find wraith like beings with a blade on each hand, hulking beasts with Gatling guns, and being that’ll explode on you with a gas that poisons you. Every enemy is uniquely designed with a great art style. Also, animations in the game are fantastic. When you are poisoned, the game goes above the simple name being displayed for you to see, your character actually reacts. They’ll cough, feel sluggish, and lose stamina more quickly. Running looks and feels great and the game has the best vaulting over cover animation in gaming. The way enemies react to being shot is satisfying as they stagger back and the impact causes them to visually react.
Boss fights are definitely the main attraction to this game and a most welcomed stand out. You’ll fight some amazingly crafted entities and the strategies are all different. I couldn’t number how many times the sound design that interplay’s with the attacks saved my life. Seriously, Gunfire Games doesn’t get the recognition it deserves for creating some of best bosses in gaming, from gameplay to design and down to artistic direction. Remnant has great bosses that are fun to play, have different ways to defeat them, and are my favorite aspect of this game. It’s so fun and addicting. The fun in multiplied when you play with friends. The game does feel harder when playing solo but it’s definitely more fun when playing with others. Things also become more chaotic as enemy numbers multiply and this makes friendly fire actually happen for frequently. Yes, there is friendly fire and yes it does happen. You have to identify your target and be careful because accident deaths from friends, happens. On the bright side, enemies also have friendly fire and you can have them kill each other if you plan it out right. For example, exploding enemies can be shot and explode into others, killing them. All of this is even better on new game plus modes. These worlds all feel like puzzles and mazes littered with secrets and collectables to find.
You can’t go wrong with buying and playing Remnant: From The Ashes. It’s an addicting and fun game that has great mechanics, great boss fights, and a procedurally generated world mechanic that works pretty well. The game does have some issues, like texture load in, and it does struggle to maintain 30FPS at times. I’ve also had bugs, like disappearing enemies and bosses struggling to move when playing online. I’ve also had the game crash and send me back to the main console menu. Those were few and far between but they happened enough to warrant mentioning in this review. Regardless, Remnant is so much fun and a game I’ll be spending a lot of time in. Hopefully, I’ll see you online.
- Boss And Enemy Designs
- Fun, Addictive Gameplay
- Excellent Sound Design
- Traits System
- Cooperative Play
- Texture Load In
- Bugs, Glitches, And Crashes
- Frame Rate Troubles
Remnant: From The Ashes is a great game whether you’re playing solo or with friends. Strong, addictive, gameplay captivates the players and the enemies and bosses are all fantastic. It has some minor issues but, overall, it’s a great game.