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Remnant II

Remnant II

Gunfire Games is back with its follow up to the brilliant Remnant: From the Ashes.

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Ever since Remnant: From the Ashes debuted years ago, I have been a massive fan of this series. The action-adventure nature, matched up with weird and unusual worlds packed with creepy and deadly enemies, and a deep buildcrafting suite are all key elements that tick the right boxes for me. So, when I saw the reveal of Remnant II back at The Game Awards, I became very excited to see what developer Gunfire Games had in store with its concept for a sequel.

After completely giving myself over to Remnant II for the past few days, religiously playing the title over the week, I've come to the conclusion that Remnant II is simply more Remnant, for better or worse. What I mean by this is that on one hand, this is precisely what people want from a sequel. Larger, more complex worlds, a deep collection of new enemy types, better graphics and visuals, and a more coherent story. Yet, on the other hand, some of the woes that has plagued this series remain, meaning you get quite a rudimentary and limiting buildcrafting system, matched up with a level design where it's very easy to get lost and to lose track of what the story is trying to narratively piece together. So, like I say, if you loved Remnant: From the Ashes, there's a lot to look forward to here, but if not, don't expect a massive change or improvement to the formula. But let's get into it.

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First of all, let's talk about the story. Gunfire Games has taken a leaf out of Diablo IV's book. Not literally of course, both games have been in development for years at the end of the day. What I mean is that now the player takes a more central role in the story, one where despite lacking a real name (you're referred to as the Anomaly), you have a very important part in the narrative. It means that you become far more invested in the story that Remnant II is trying to tell, but the plot still faces the same issues as that of From the Ashes, as the narrative beats are so unusual and peculiar that it becomes a little too complex to keep tabs on it a lot of the time.

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Fortunately, the world design is once again top notch. You'll want to explore every nook and cranny in the hunt for gear, resources, dungeons, and secrets. Whether that means heading to the distant jungles of Yaesha, or into the sci-fi realm of N'Erud, the realms are incredibly diverse and unique, and each bring their own challenges and foes to face, understand, and overcome. On this front, Remnant II once again excels. You'll never be lacking for challenge or bored by the enemy types, as just as you start to feel comfortable, some other horror crawls out of the woodworks to shake things up. Gunfire Games clearly has a talent for designing unsettling and terrifying enemy types and in Remnant II, we get just another example of this.

On the topic of enemies, you'll be glad to know that Remnant II has a plentiful array of boss-type foes, some of which are core to the narrative and others that are simply available to find and take on in the hunt for better loot and gear. It does seem like Gunfire has flexed its fingers a bit with their boss design this time around, as the encounters feel more varied and complex than in From the Ashes, all on top of being a grander visual spectacle with more environmentally-affecting mechanics, such as destructible battlefields. In my time so far, some of the most interesting bosses I have come across include a huntress type enemy riding a large hound, and even an enormous alien butterfly that made me think of Avatar's Ikrans combined with Mothra.

Remnant II
Remnant IIRemnant II
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The gameplay and gunplay is also excellent once again. The combat feels fluid and thrilling, and is designed in such a way where the player's attention is devoted primarily to gunning and slashing the enemies that cross their path. The buildcrafting in Remnant II, however, feels less compelling than even what From the Ashes offered. Essentially, in a bid to reduce the complexity of the buildcrafting suite, Gunfire has pretty much eliminated armour and clothing items from the equation. Sure, you can get new items in this category, and they do offer minor changes, but for the most part, the impactful customisation comes in the form of the weapons, the traits, and the new iteration of the archetypes system.

For weapons and traits, this is pretty much the same as what From the Ashes offered. You find or buy new weapons and then can use resources found throughout the game to improve them. You can also acquire and slot in mutators that provide unique benefits now, such as bleeding effects on shots, and can fiddle with modifiers that provide additional abilities for each weapon. As per the traits, this is Remnant's take on a perks system, and sees you spending trait points to permanently improve certain attributes, for example, total health, evasion range, ability cooldowns. It's a system that already worked and not a whole lot has been done to change this.

As for the archetypes, this is where things get a little funky. In Remnant II, towards the start of the game you choose a class type, which defines how your character plays. Do you want to get up close and personal? If so, the tanky Challenger is for you. Prefer to blast your way through enemies at range? Try the Gunslinger. Want a companion for the journey? The Handler and its trusty canine ally is the class to choose. Each archetype has its own unique play style and abilities, and even opens access to its own special trait set, and can be improved by earning experience.

The catch is that you can only have two archetypes active at once, with your primary archetype having the biggest impact on how your class plays. Likewise, you don't just get access to the rest of the archetypes after you pick your first, no, you have to find items throughout the game and upgrade them to be able to acquire and use a secondary class type. This system is very simple to understand and it works, but I can't help but feel like it has taken out a bit of the fun of buildcrafting in favour of a more rudimentary system, which to me, goes a bit against the core principles of what a Remnant game should be.

Remnant IIRemnant II

Even though I'm not particularly blown away by Remnant II's buildcrafting and progression suites, there's no denying the thrill and fun that this sequel serves up. Be it alone or with friends, Remnant II is a blast from the get-go, and is, like From the Ashes, designed from the ground up to be highly replayable. Gunfire Games has ensured that this is just the case, and be it attempting harder difficulties or just switching to the Adventure Mode to freely explore and hunt bosses for resources and gear, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this sequel.

And this is exactly why I think of Remnant II as more Remnant for better or worse. It's still a very compelling series with tight and engaging gameplay, but there's no denying that it has its kinks too. It's flashier, prettier, has tons of depth, and if you loved the first game, you will have a blast with this follow-up as well.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Bigger, more detailed worlds. Archetypes are a great improvement. Tons to do. Combat, enemies, and bosses are thrilling to face.
-
Progression and buildcrafting feels a bit lacking. Few weird visual bugs here and there.
overall score
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Remnant II

REVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

Gunfire Games is back with its follow up to the brilliant Remnant: From the Ashes.



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