Remnant 2 is the most polarising game I have played this year. It soars high with its satisfying gunplay, unprecedented buildcrafting potential, next-gen visuals, and mechanically sound boss battles that could put most souls-like and looter-shooters to shame. However, it falls low with equal intensity with its approachability, quality-of-life problems, and a slew of technical issues.
There's a lot to like here, and there's a lot to dislike here. Gunfire Games has crafted a sequel that feels ambitious, perhaps a bit too much for its own good. However, despite its many problems, Remnant 2 offers a kind of fun experience that not many games in this genre can currently offer.
Table of Contents
As soon as you create your character and venture into the familiar rusty overgrowths of Ward 13, it's evident how much of a step up Remnant 2 is from its four years old predecessor, Remnant: From the Ashes. The gunplay feels vastly superior, and the world feels more vibrant, thanks to the Unreal Engine 5 makeover.
What made Remnant: From the Ashes so unique was its procedurally generated worlds, where no two players could have the same gameplay experience. In Remnant 2, it's not just about exploring different worlds but facing different enemies, encountering different puzzles, and even pursuing different objectives.
Even if you and your friend accidentally end up exploring the same biome, you're unlikely to experience the same storylines, watch the same cutscenes, or encounter the same dungeons. It's simply astonishing how many different combinations there are available.
The overarching narrative remains the same for everyone. You play as the Traveler, who, after an intense encounter with the Root, the deadly corruption that has overtaken the world, ends up in Ward 13. Here, you meet up with Commander Ford, the founder of Ward 13, who became immortal with the power of a World Stone.
One thing leads to another, and Ford ends up activating the World Stone again, which engulfs one of Ward's residents, Clementine. You, the Traveler, now have to rescue Clementine, who could be anywhere in one of the five biomes.
It's crazy how different every region in the game feels. It's like the studio decided to mash together all the best settings of every souls-like game. The lush green forests of Yaesha have a more low-fantasy vibe to it, whereas N'Erud feels more sci-fi. On the other hand, Losomn's gothic world feels straight out of Bloodborne. It's incredibly refreshing to go from one biome to another, and Gunfire Games' art team has crafted some breathtaking vistas and towering structures to gawk at.
Every region has its own stories to tell, NPCs to interact with, gear to earn, dungeons to explore, puzzles to solve, and bosses to defeat. In short, there's no shortage of things to see and do in Remnant 2.
If you don't like the biome you're currently exploring, you can reroll your world and go someplace else though doing so will reset your campaign progress. However, you will retain your character progression, and in Remnant 2, your build and character are what's most important.
The overall structure should be familiar if you have played Remnant: From the Ashes or any Souls-like title. You travel to a new location, fight challenging bosses, unlock checkpoints, travel to the boss arena, and vice versa. Interacting with a World Stone (checkpoint) replenishes your Dragon Hearts (health potions) and resets all enemies in the area. There are also countless optional dungeons that boast challenging puzzles and intimidating boss battles but offer unique gear and crafting materials.
What I liked about the gameplay in Remnant 2 is how you can jump into your friend's session, and they could be in a completely different biome, exploring a completely different dungeon, or stuck solving a more demanding puzzle than your world.
In Remnant 2, you don't have to make story progress to explore different regions and strengthen your build. You simply have to hop on to your friend's session and play through whatever they are playing. It's such a breath of fresh air because sooner or later, you're going to run into a brick wall in your own world, especially if you're playing solo, and there's no better way to fend off that frustration by hopping into a different game world and continue to acquire new and powerful weapons, mod, armor pieces.
Fancy yourself a shiny katana-esque boss weapon that one of your friend's flexing right now? Maybe join one of your other friend's sessions, who's currently exploring that biome, and explore that world together to get that sweet weapon. You retain everything you acquire in other players' worlds, so you'll continue to get stronger even if you're not making progress in your world.
Remnant 2 offers a lot of flexibility in terms of playstyles and progression. You begin with one of the five Archetypes, namely the Challenger, Gunslinger, Hunter, Handler, and Medic. However, soon you get the option to equip a second Archetype. What's interesting is that there's no restriction on what you can choose. Do you want to have two support Archetypes? You can easily do that. Do you instead want to be a tank but also a ranged sniper guy? You can do that as well! The only limitation is that you can only use the Prime Perk of your Primary Archetypes, which I never found to be an issue because the potential for hybrid builds is endless as it is.
Every Archetype can use one of the three skills in combat. While having only one active skill may seem too limiting at first, Remnant 2 makes up for its by adding a huge array of unique weapon mods, which serve as great alternatives for skills. You can use up to three weapon mods at any given time, each for a different weapon type. These can be anything from elemental attacks to unique boss skills. One boss weapon mod, Fargazer, summons a devilish floating eye that applies Madness status on enemies and deals bonus damage to them. It's incredible! Weapon mods also change the look of your weapons, which is pretty neat.
There are some intricately crafted armor sets, which you can get by exploring and completing side dungeons in the game. While they don't offer stat bonuses like in Remnant: From the Ashes, Gunfire Games has introduced another item type called Mutators which takes its place.
Mutators slots are available on your weapons, right below the mod slots. You can only have one Mutator equipped at a time, with three spread across your primary, secondary, and melee. These offer passive bonuses like increased ranged weak point damage or reduced stamina cost of charged melee attacks.
Remnant 2 shines through its intricately designed boss battles. These are brutal encounters across all difficulty levels and demand agility, team coordination, and a strong build to overcome these colossal beasts. Some of these bosses reminded me more of Destiny 2's dungeon bosses than anything I have faced in Soulslike titles, and that's a compliment.
Bosses are best faced in a group of three as there's always just too much going on at any given moment. For instance, one boss, Corruptor, deploys a gigantic Sentinel to keep you busy as it prepares to shoot its one-shot kill laser beam at you and your friends. It's at this moment you have to decide whether to slay the Sentinel first or focus your firepower on the Corruptor while narrowly avoiding all of the Sentinel's attacks, or tell your teammates to keep the Sentinel busy while you take care of the Corruptor. There are so many ways to approach these boss battles, it's mind-boggling, to say the least.
Approachability, Quality-of-Life, and Technical Issues
FromSoftware games have a steep learning curve, but they never outright feel cheap to engage with. Countless Soulslike titles have tried to adopt that philosophy but not many have succeeded. Remnant 2 feels like it belongs in the latter category because of its relentless nature to make you feel miserable no matter what you do.
It's not about the game's difficulty. It's about the challenge that feels unnecessary. You will face hordes of enemies from all directions, but there are no visual cues to indicate that there's someone behind you or on your side. They don't even show up on your mini-map, which is basically useless (more on that later.) I got hit and died countless times because I didn't know a minor enemy was standing behind me. Strangely enough, the team didn't skimp on audio cues only visuals, so if on one session you decide to use your TV speakers instead of headphones, good luck making progress.
Minor inconveniences like this make Remnant 2 more challenging than it needs to be, which in turn makes it incredibly infuriating. You can't put markers on the map, not to mention how difficult it is to read it for navigation. Most video games feature awful map designs, but somehow Remnant 2 tops that list.
Remnant 2's problems don't stop there. Most game puzzles hide hints in little notebooks, which you can find exploring the game world. They also provide a ton of background info about the characters that inhabit the biome you're currently exploring. However, you can't pick these notes, so if you're trying to solve a puzzle or simply can't spare time to read the lore, you have to go back to access it or take a picture of it on your cellphone, because that's more convenient than just going back.
Speaking of puzzles, there's a thin line between intriguing and irritating, and most puzzles in Remnant 2 falls in the irritating category. Some main paths are locked behind these puzzles, and they could halt your in-world progress for hours.
Problem-solving with friends is actually fun, but only if it doesn't drag on for four-plus hours. To make things worse, some worlds don't lock the main objectives behind these infuriating puzzles, so your friend may be able to progress their campaign easily because they didn't encounter something game-breaking while you remain stuck in a stupid environmental puzzle for hours. As I said, sometimes, Remnant 2 breaks character and feels unnecessarily challenging.
Sadly, its problems don't stop here. As with almost every major release this year, Remnant 2 suffers from a slew of technical issues. Performance-wise, I was pleasantly surprised to get a constant 60-70 FPS on Ultra Settings on my RTX 4080 with DLSS enabled. However, I encountered several bugs and glitches, like my friend's dog getting stuck upside down in the environment during a boss battle, not being able to swap weapons, and more.
In addition to these, there are network issues. While I only experienced a handful of crashes in my playthrough, my friends got kicked out several times, especially in pivotal moments. In a game that already feels quite overwhelming, these little annoyances were enough to make me rage.
What has me worried the most is that these network issues occurred in the pre-release version of the game, where only a handful of people were playing. I can't even imagine the network congestion and its impact on the servers when the game goes live for everyone.
For the most part, Remnant 2 is a satisfying souls-like that feels like a major step up from its predecessor in every single way. The gunplay is tight and precise, and there's an unprecedented potential for build-crafting. Having the option to hop on to a friend's game to play through a different biome means progression never stops, even if you get stuck in your world. If it wasn't hell-bent on making me miserable all the time, Remnant 2 may have been one of the most memorable games of this sub-genre.
PC Review code was provided by Gunfire Games.