I don’t know about you but I sometimes feel like stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying something I usually wouldn’t play. Although a little daunting, it’s not always a bad thing since I get to try out new games which could surprise me and be a nice change of scenery. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Remnant: From the Ashes, all I knew about it was that it is supposed to be a difficult action-adventure shooter with beautiful visuals. So, when I jumped in and tried it out, I was very impressed by its setting and the way it played.
It was super fun being able to co-op with my friends as we fought off evil bosses together, but there were a few things I didn’t like about the game which I feel reduced my overall enjoyment whilst playing…
The story is quite simple, there are ancient evil beings from another dimension that have made their way to Earth. With our very existence under threat, we need to find a way to survive by eliminating them all one by one as we venture through portals into dynamically-generated realms and procedurally-created maps. Despite being heavy on the ‘procedurally-generated’ side, Remnant: From the Ashes focused on the story in a way that kept me curious to find out more about what was happening all around me and how everything will play out in the end.
When starting the game for the first time, you can create your own character with customised options, although I found the options to be rather limited. I found it really positive that you can choose between gender, hairstyles, skin colour, etc, but at the same time, there weren’t that many other options to make the character truly unique, thus creating a character was fast and unsatisfying. I personally enjoy creating characters in games that offer a lot of customisation options, for an action game in which you play with other people, I thought it was a shame that there weren’t more options to play around with.
If you want to play co-op with your friends then you will have to play the game solo at first until you reach a certain point, which makes sense since you still have to choose an archetype (class) before being able to properly fight off your enemies. There are three classes that typically focus on either long-range, mid-range, and short-range combat and they all have the same base stats except with different starting gear. The Scrapper is the short-range class that deals massive damage when being close up to the enemy, while the Ex-Cultist is a support and mid-range class that supports the whole team as well. Lastly, the Hunter is the long-range class and deals critical damage even when the enemy is far away. You can, however, buy and carry any weapon after choosing your profession and therefore, don’t have to necessarily stick with a class once you’ve chosen it.
There are three different types of weapons, handgun, long gun, and melee weapons. You have a slot for each type and you can equip and swap between them at any time, even whilst within combat. Weapons have a modification slot as well where you can add mods you can find from boss drops, purchase from Merchants or simply just craft them yourself. It is important to mention that you can’t remove some mods when crafted. You can, therefore, modify your own playstyle with multiple options, like traits as well. There are various traits that help you improve certain things like your health, stamina, etc which are indeed useful if you wish to survive.
A good thing about Remnant: From the Ashes is that it actually tries to avoid repetitiveness by changing the map with each entry. You will even face different enemies and bosses depending on your luck. Each map starts with making your way to the final boss whilst defeating a lot of mobs and searching for items. When you’re playing in co-op, any item you pick up will be added for the whole team as well, although this resulted in either me collecting everything or someone else collected the items whilst the rest of the team just tagged along for the spoils!
Whilst playing with other people, the game adapts and increases the enemy spawns in correlation to the number of players, making it hard to stay alive. Whether playing in solo or multiplayer mode, I found the enemies quite difficult and overwhelming, especially when you face a boss for the first time and need to get used to their mechanics. Thankfully, each boss always has its own combat mechanics, so it’s a case of learning the pattern and then using that to your advantage the next time you see it.
When you want to revive another player you can use the ‘dragon heart’, although it takes a few seconds to revive someone and therefore, you need to be careful if it’s during combat. After obtaining the dragon heart, you have three charges by default but it’s also upgradeable so you can use it up to 7 times. Dragon hearts, will get recharged when reaching a checkpoint, as well as your health points, ammo, enemy spawns, and this checkpoint functions as a save spot as well. You can also revive all players once you hit a checkpoint (providing all of those who are alive gets there at the same time) and any ‘spectators’ (people who have joined your game via the multiplayer menu) will be spawned in at this point – so the game can adjust the difficulty and enemy spawns once they join in.
Just like in similar co-op based games, there’s a safe haven in-game, where you can purchase items from merchants, which is completely free from enemies. This is another place where you can join your friends for your co-op adventure or invite them to join your party, rather than having them try and join you mid-battle. From there on, you can choose to travel to different maps to advance with the story together.
Something that really confused me was the directions/navigation as I wasn’t really sure what to do next at times. You have to pay attention to the dialogue and narrative whilst remembering who and where the person you have to talk to is standing – I spent quite some time endlessly walking around the area until I was able to advance with the quest thanks to forgetting where my contact was!
I also found the scaling of the co-op gameplay really unfair as it scales your enemy’s health, damage and the number of enemies which spawn in. At first, it doesn’t sound like a bad thing as it’s only natural that it would somewhat adjust to avoid the gameplay from being too easy. However, I found it was extremely hard to play with someone who is a much higher level than yourself, even when you are hosting, as it would still scale according to the highest level, making the missions a lot harder for the low-level team members. So, unless you plan to play Remnant: From the Ashes from the beginning with your friends, it was almost impossible to find someone who is close to your level during matchmaking.
Sure, you could technically just play it in single-player mode, but some bosses are really hard when playing without any help, especially if you’re not good at this genre or don’t really have the time to dedicate to self-levelling up and mastering the combat on your own. It kind of felt like the balance was really off in Remnant: From the Ashes, because some bosses were too hard when playing co-op (due to the scaling) but others were also too challenging when I tried playing it in single-player mode as well.
Remnant: From the Ashes is a thrilling and enjoyable co-op game that I really enjoyed playing with my friends as we fought off enemy mob groups together, although I feel like the scaling system is a little off and could use some improvements/adjustments. I also found the navigation within the game a bit confusing as I found myself getting a bit lost at times with little advice on what to do next. However, I was very delighted to see that Remnant: From the Ashes focuses on the story whilst also procedurally generated the levels to keep things fresh and free from repetition. Well, the story stays the same but the land is randomly generated each time and whichever boss you end up facing is the luck of the draw!
If you enjoy challenging games which have a decent story and a large variety of gameplay elements (over 100 enemy types), Remnant: From the Ashes will be right up your alley.
Remnant: From the Ashes£32.99
- - Avoids repetitiveness with the procedurally generated worlds
- - Different bosses as you never konw which one you're going to face
- - Focusses on its story
- - Being able to play with up to two friends
- - Interesting gameplay mechanics
- - Confusing navigation and directions
- - Scaling is off when playing in co-op (and it's a bit too hard when playing solo)
- - Limited customisation options