Gunfire Games took the world by storm in 2019 with their sleeper hit Remnant: From the Ashes as it delivered refreshing “Dark Souls with guns” gameplay and seamless cooperative action. No one was expecting a full fledged sequel until the team sneakily announced Remnant 2 back at The Game Awards last December. Aside from its lazy name (a simple 2 appended to the name of its predecessor), Remnant’s sequel is shaping up to be a bigger and better game that fans of the first game adored.
In short, if you played through the first game, then you’ll feel right at home when you jump into Remnant 2. The third person over the shoulder shooting is back, with a primary gun, secondary gun, and a melee weapon. You probably already know that every gun can be equipped with an attachable mod that can either be purchased with scraps or crafted with boss materials, but now they can also be equipped with Mutators, which further enhances a weapons versatility. You still got your trusty dodge mechanic that provides i-frames and giant red crystals that act like bonfire checkpoints. Bosses hit like a truck and you’ll have to be on your A-game if you want to make it out alive.
You start off with a robust character customizer before jumping straight into a post apocalyptic wasteland. A brief tutorial ensues and then you meet this game’s cast of new characters and even visit your old base: Ward 13. This acts as your central hub and contains a variety of characters to talk and converse with. Several shops are available here, along with some familiar faces from the first game and its DLC, including McCabe, Clementine, and Wallace. The premise mostly remains the same: the treacherous Root continues to plague humanity, and it is your ultimate goal to rid the world of it once and for all. Be sure to talk to everyone at your base as the game doesn’t tell you where all the vendors are.
The team at Gunfire Games has implemented some excellent quality of life improvements and updates from the first game. For starters, you no longer consume stamina when you sprint or dodge while you aren’t in combat. This is definitely inline with the approach that FromSoftware took with Elden Ring, and I’m all for it. While there still aren’t any mounts in Remnant 2, you can nonetheless traverse the game’s sparse and luscious environments quicker and easier. There’s also a gray health system now, where you can get a portion of your health back if you don’t get hit again for a certain time. A handy dandy 3D minimap is provided on the top right hand corner of the screen that indicates where you explored and haven’t, with a power level number indicating if you’re underleveled or not.
Armor sets no longer have set bonuses and aren’t upgradeable, meaning you can mix and match different outfits with little to no downsides. Who doesn’t love to be fashionable? To make up for this, there are now 4 ring slots instead of 2 from the first game. Let me tell you something: rings drop like flies in this game, as you’ll be drowning with the amount of rings you pick up just from exploring. The Dragon Heart estus flask equivalent can now be equipped with up to 3 relics that provide small percentage bonuses such as increased ranged damage, less recoil, or more elemental resistances. In fact, there are now different types of Dragon Hearts that provide different healing effects instead of just 1 generic heart that heals you for a certain amount of health.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes from its predecessor and Remnant 2 is the entire overhaul of the class system. The first title offered 3 basic classes: the Hunter, Ex-Cultist, and Scrapper class which all offered different starting gear, weapons, and traits. It didn’t really make a difference which one you chose because you could obtain all the other classes’ equipment just by playing the game. The sequel now introduces what is known as class archetypes, allowing you to mix and match different base classes to bring dynamic gameplay and strategy. There are 4 archetypes in Remnant 2: the Gunslinger, Handler, Challenger, and Medic. The Handler gets a dog companion and yes you can pet the doggo! Every archetype inherits unique perks and signature moves, and you can equip 2 archetypes to further experiment with different builds.
Remnant 2 takes the concept of procedural generation and cranks it up tenfold. All players spawn and start off in different biomes and levels. Some might start off on the familiar Yaesha whereas others might land on the Yharnam inspired Lossom. Various side quests, mysterious NPCs, and secret dungeons are injected into all the biomes, meaning no two playthroughs will be the same. A New Game Plus mode is included in the form of a reroll mechanic that allows for virtually endless replayability. Adventure mode can be used for re-rolling specific bosses or items, and makes a welcome return that provides a separate iteration from campaign progress. Even after finishing the story, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the plethora of secret content that this game features.
The random generation isn’t all good, because you can run into some terrible luck, like myself. In my entire playthrough, I found 0 other outfits and armor, meaning I was equipped with my starter stuff the entire time. I crafted a mere one boss weapon, the Enigma handgun that fires lightning strikes that chain to nearby enemies, and used my starter rifle and beginner fire mod for the entire game. For a game that markets itself as having tons more guns and gear, it sure didn’t have either in my experience. Keep in mind I’ve done several optional side areas and dungeons too, as I wasn’t gunning straight for the main objectives. Of course this will vary by playthrough, so I hope you have better luck than me!
A game of this caliber isn’t without its faults either, because I do have some gripes with the overall experience as well. While most of the levels and locales look gorgeous with the amount of environmental detail, fauna, and wildlife, a lot of them end up being empty. Sure enemies spawn in the majority of instances, with loot chests sprinkled in here and there, but there were more than a handful of times in which I was just running across pure vastness. Puzzles are an integral part of gameplay too, and some of them come off as too obtuse and confusing, with little to no hints or direction. A lot of them boiled down to a brute force trial and error, which was more frustrating than enjoyable. The game also doesn’t offer a help or guide section in the menus that allows you to look up previous tutorials or messages, meaning if you don’t remember something the first time it’s shown, you’re out of luck.
Cooperative play is where this game shines the brightest, because it’s simply addictive. Unfortunately there still isn’t 4 player co-op as the original three player co-op remains the same here. You can jump into another player’s world on the get-go and progress their narrative or have them jump into yours. It’s all seamless and smooth. Oftentimes you’ll encounter level layouts and enemies that you didn’t even see in your own game! Dungeon crawling with 2 other buddies, covering for each other, and making sure you don’t shoot your teammates whilst battling it out with otherworldly baddies is pure fun. Yes, there’s friendly fire here, so be mindful of where you shoot! Making a team that covers a wide array of archetypes allows you to enjoy the game to its full potential, especially when you have a support healer, tanky frontline, and a deadly sniper in the back.
Difficult gameplay remains at the core of Remnant 2’s DNA. Normal mobs might not post a threat individually, but the increasing number of lesser enemies will no doubt overwhelm you in tight claustrophobic encounters. Healing takes time and can be interrupted mid animation, and you only start off with 3 Dragon Hearts. Brand new boss battles mean brand new challenges, with many that employ unique movesets and mechanics. There are a ton of bosses in this game, with tons more that I have yet to discover, so you’re definitely getting bang for your buck here. A brief note on the final boss though, as it can come off as overly cheap and nauseating, not because it’s too hard, but because of how flashy (literally) the screen gets. I had no idea what was going on given the amount of potentially seizure-inducing lights that filled the screen. If you are prone to light sensitivity, I would hold off on attempting it until the developers deploy a patch.
To be honest, I was kind of worried how Remnant 2 would perform on my ancient relic of a PC. Mind you I’m running it on a 1070 GTX GPU, which is actually under the minimum requirements on the official Steam page. The game runs mostly smooth at around 40-50 frames per second on the lowest graphical settings. I have no doubt that the experience runs flawlessly and beautifully on higher end machines. I’ve run into 0 bugs and glitches, although there is the occasional environmental clipping issue. Load times are serviceable as well, with nothing taking too long. I’ll be testing the performance on PlayStation 5 too in the near future and do a comparison between the two platforms, so stay tuned for that. Unfortunately there is no cross platform play at launch, even though there was for Remnant: From the Ashes, so here’s to hoping it will be implemented sometime down the line.
Gunfire Games knew exactly what they were doing when working on the sequel to their sleeper hit from 2019. Remnant 2 improves upon its predecessor in almost every way, with overhauled systems, beautiful environments, fancy weapons, new enemies, deadly bosses, more build variety, and last but not least, more cooperative action. This is a no brainer must play for anyone who enjoyed the first game or for those looking for some challenging gunplay.