Interdimensional evil is back with a vengeance, the Root has taken over and somehow you find yourself as the chosen one to stop it. Remnant II was developed by Gunfire Games and published by Gearbox Publishing. This multiplayer third-person shooter is a solid blend of strategy, RPG, and even some light roguelike mechanics. The dark yet beautiful worlds that you will traverse are filled with relentless enemies and rewarding surprises. Each playthrough seems to offer not only new experiences but new gear. With a simple jump-in and out multiplayer, Remnant II has been a difficult but rewarding game to play. At the time of writing, I have over 20 hours in the game and have failed to beat the supposed main story boss.
Gunfire Games has found a way to meld soulslike mechanics and third-person over-the-shoulder shooting into an epic experience. Dodging, casting abilities, modifying weapons, augmenting your Dragon Hearts (healing items), and grinding a specific location for crafting material. These are a small number of things you will find yourself doing during your time in Remnant II.
Remnant II’s Story
In Remnant: From the Ashes, the Root caused catastrophes across multiple dimensions. And through the efforts of a survivor were thought to be defeated once their link to reality was destroyed. Like all proper evil entities in Remnant II the Root is back and stronger than ever. You are a simple survivor who gets swept up in saving humanity and reality. You start the game off in a sewer system that will seem familiar to those who played the previous entry to the series. And you quickly find yourself in an unbeatable situation. At the very last moment, two characters come in and use some crazy abilities to save the day.
Once you make it out of the sewers you arrive in the settlement that will be the central hub for the rest of your time in Remnant II. Most of the NPCs and merchants are aged-up characters from the previous game. Mud Tooth, Wallace, Bo, McCabe, Reggie, Riggs, and the founder of the settlement Ward 13 himself Ford are all in this area. All except Bo, are merchants with supplies ranging from crafting needs to weapons. Your saviors from the sewers are Bo and the extremely powerful Clementine who was also from the previous titles DLC.
The Importance of Clementine
Clementine was one of the dreamers from the previous game. Basically, that means she was used by the Root to connect to other worlds. And without getting too heavy into spoilers she quickly becomes a core part of the main story in Remnant II. This game uses all forms of storytelling throughout the worlds you will visit. An NPC may be in the middle of the map that describes what happened to that world. Or, there are plenty of books/audio logs alongside environmental storytelling to paint a vivid yet gruesome tale of how the Root ruined a location. Remnant II does an amazing job of building off of an existing universe while also creating a fresh story.
This is not your average action-adventure game. Remnant II blends together a few easily recognizable game genres but then adds a twist to make it something truly special. Beyond shooting a variety of creatures and humanoids you will be solving intricate puzzles, deciding the fate of a kingdom, and maybe even helping an orphanage.
The combat in Remnant II at its core is simple, you have a long gun (Snipers, automatic, semi-automatic, etc.), melee weapons, and sidearms. You will be using these weapons to fight through what at times seems like hordes of enemies. Using an Xbox controller, in order to shoot you have to hold down the Left Trigger in order to aim your firearm and then Right Trigger to shoot. There is no shooting from the hip, so pressing Right Trigger alone will activate your melee weapon.
There Is An Archetype For Every Playstyle
Moving on to Archetypes and abilities there are currently five Archetypes to start with in this game. You have the Hunter who has abilities that focus on ranged damage. There is the Medic whose abilities focus on healing and resurrecting fallen squad mates. There is also a tank class called the Challenger which focuses on heavy armor and melee weapons. Then there is the Gunslinger Archetype that leans in on weapon handling and ammo efficiency. But the Archetype I believe will be the most popular for obvious reasons is the Handler. The Handler Archetype comes with a canine companion that will not only resurrect you and your downed squad but will also buff the squad with its howl.
Once you reach a certain power level with your starter archetype you will be able to add a second archetype to create a hybrid class. The new class will allow you to utilize the perks and abilities of both archetypes. I have been playing as a Hunter and Medic for most of my playthrough. The ability to increase ranged damage and add shields to my party has become a core part of my play style. And the synergy that can be created from having a party with a mix of Archetypes creates some top-tier moments.
Many Ways to Destroy The Root
Now a major part of this game is its “dynamically generated dungeons and areas”. Players may start the game in the same world but have a completely different experience. I have been playing with two other people and each one of our worlds has been varied. Bosses, NPCs, puzzles, and even loot have been different within the same regions. And on top of that, you often have a couple of ways to beat a boss that results in a variety of loot drops. Now add in the adventure mode that allows for random generation of a completed area to farm for resources or crafting parts. And this creates a game that is built with replayability in mind.
You will die a lot in this game, but thankfully there are no punishments outside of having to fight back to the point you died at. There is no loss of items or scrap (the game’s currency) collected if you are killed before making it to another checkpoint. Now even though I have been having a good time with this game there are a few frustrating points to discuss.
More Scraps Please and Thank You
Once again trying to avoid spoiling too much, there is a main story quest that is locked behind a puzzle boss fight. I can easily imagine this being a herd thinner for the player base. I was lucky enough to have a full party of people to complete it with. But can picture this being frustrating enough to push players to quit. Now I’m not saying it needs to be an easy fight but a normal enemy boss would have fit way better in that part of the game. Also, the main mission checkpoints are far and few between. It creates a situation where you question whether or not you are doing what is needed to progress the story.
Also, the amount of in-game currency or scrap that is dropped is extremely low. There are “mini” bosses you will fight and they will drop around 50 scraps which is low considering a consumable can cost 250 scraps. But honestly, these were my main complaints outside of that the gameplay has been simply fun.
The multiplayer is where the game shines. There is a simple drop-in and out system for co-op play. If one of your friends is online you can go to the menu and with one click start joining their world. You don’t progress in your story, but any loot and resources earned during the co-op session definitely make up for it. The variety of dungeons and boss fights within each area creates a solid chance to experience something different from your own story. For example, I went to one area in three different worlds, each time had a different boss fight, crafting materials, and loot drops.
Having different experiences within each player’s world creates a more helpful co-op environment. I found myself more eager to jump into someone else’s game and help them progress. Or even simply to clear an Adventure because not only do I get hard to find scraps but, also a chance to get gear that I did not have access to in my world.
Now during co-op there is friendly fire the damage is not as severe as when shooting enemies but it is there. Also, within each open area, there is no tethering, if you want to split up (don’t recommend it) and clear multiple areas at once you can. If you want to go through a portal or into a new area you need to be near each other. The maps are large especially when compared to Remnant: From the Ashes. So be mindful of that if you decide to split up.
There are a few sounds within the game that will be recognizable to players of the previous title. The high-pitched chime that rings off when a special enemy is on the way. This sound is iconic and gives me the same vibe as the alert sound from Metal Gear Solid. Once you hear it you know you are in for a tough fight. But seriously the music and sounds of Remnant II help to round out the dark and evil atmosphere. Something that surprised me while playing was how vocal your character is in this game. It was not annoying while playing to hear random callouts about a lack of ammo or announcing that the enemy is coming. The sound of each weapon is unique and the enemies have a wide variety to them as well.
The audio for Remnant II does a great job of adding life to the different environments. Also, the way that sound is used to clue you into unopened chests or upcoming enemies. Makes you want to have a headset on so you don’t miss anything.
This is easily one of the best-looking games of the year. There is so much detail put into each world you visit. My time in Remnant II was spent on PC and I don’t have a powerful rig. But that did not stop me from having an enjoyable time while recording gameplay. During my time with Remnant II, I only experienced one crash and a weird but helpful glitch that had my weapons ability stay permanently activated. Visually this game is stunning and runs multiplayer very well. This is a fast-paced game with a lot of combat going on simultaneously. So, having the ability to dodge attacks while three other people are shooting the enemy and not lose out on visual quality is beyond awesome.
It would be easy to say this game is a soulslike with guns, but that is too cheap of a description. Gunfire Games has created a game that has the ability to shine in a year stacked with big releases. Replayability, fun engaging combat, drop-in/out co-op, and a playstyle for just about anyone. Outside of a hard-to-come-by currency and strange obstacle course boss from hell. Remnant II is a solid action-adventure third-person shooter that you should check out. This game is not easy but it is definitely rewarding and I give it an 8.8 out of 10.
Thank You Gunfire Games and Gearbox Publishing for the Review Codes.
Played on PC via Steam with an Xbox Controller.