There are universes both modern and old that are always popular to explore. But what if someone wanted to explore them all at once? Well, that’s the thought Gunfire Games had with its sequel Remnant 2. Luckily, this is one of those sequels where you don’t need to play the original to get up to speed. It’s a harsh 3D third-person shooter that has you and anyone alongside you fighting horrors from other dimensions. You can go in guns blazing, swords swinging, or try to make use of any items you have to stand against the horror and protect what little of your own world remains.
What is Remnant 2?
As mentioned previously, you don’t need to play the first game to understand what’s going on here. Remnant 2 continues the universe with its terminology and a new story, but let me break it down for you. You’re a human on what appears to be a post-apocalyptic earth consumed by evil plants that came with their own deadly wildlife and brought along a deadly illness called the Rot.
You and your friend end up finding a safe community called Haven, and meet the leader who appears to be ageless. He reveals that the earth has numerous red crystals that allow travel between dimensions, which is how the plants came through. He disappears into a remaining crystal with instructions to destroy it, but not before his daughter gets sucked in after him. Now, you and any willing volunteers have to follow into the unknown to try and save them.
Remnant 2 Infinity and Beyond
A common mistake when trying to create a new universe with new lore is to combine preexisting ones together, which ends up feeling too messy. Remnant 2 appears to do this, but pulls it off with tact and balance. It combines elements of post-apocalyptic scenarios, eldritch horrors, and Westerns into a blend that is entirely its own. All the designs look and feel unique with the plant-based enemies carrying the bulk of the weight.
The environments have distinct atmospheres that separate them, while the overarching evil plants tie them all together smoothly. The sheer number of archetypes opens up so many possibilities for weapon and gear types that can be blended together. All of them combine to create a character that can strongly support all of these elements on their own.
The key to making a co-op game is making them in such a way that having other players is not only preferred, but somewhat necessary. This is definitely a game that presents a challenge to be conquered by a team of players looking to test themselves. It also works on multiple levels of relationships: The game can be a test of the synergy of friends or a way to forge connections between strangers.
Due to the sprinkling of soulslike influence throughout the whole experience, every encounter feels like it could be deadly. All an enemy needs to do is catch you off-guard, which is why having multiple eyes on the situation is important. Bosses are large and in charge, and you need to be coming at them from all sides with different strikes to bring them down. There’s also a lot of variety offered by the archetypes as well, since there are so many possible team combinations tempting you to make multiple characters just to try them out.
As with anything that boasts a soulslike experience or difficulty, it all comes down to the controls, and these ones play beautifully. The game offers so much customization in terms of abilities and stats while the actions you can take are few enough to comfortably memorize and execute, but more than enough to give each archetype plenty of options.
Melee weapons, firearms, and throwables offer a huge arsenal, while special abilities and mods empower your character and make them more distinct. There’s a nice balance between how responsive the controls are and the timing that you need to master for movements like melee attacks and dodging. It combines to create a challenging game that feels good to play and win.
The sequel has been in development for some time now, but Remnant 2 could take a few moments to tighten the screws. The big one sticking out is the difficulty difference between the number of players. Though it’s made for co-op, the game offers a nice single-player experience, but that’s because the game is literally nice to them.
Unlike Monster Hunter, this game ramps up the difficulty exponentially when dealing with more than one player. There are way more enemies that do more damage, a greater chance to encounter tougher specials, and bosses that may as well be bullet sponges dressed to look like monsters.
Speaking of, some of the bosses seem to be designed in unexpected and frustrating ways. You can fight and fail a few times against one phase only to encounter another phase that has no rhyme or reason to it. One of the early bosses is a prime example, with a phase involving tentacles that pop up and need to be destroyed. Not only do they pop up close together, with long-range attacks that deal tons of damage, but the arena also gives you very little room to move due to all the deep water. This is not a game for the impatient.
On more of a more precise note, the hitboxes and collision detection can be strange sometimes. While mastering the dodge roll is an art, you will certainly encounter moments where you clearly dodge an attack, but it hits you anyway. Also, as a rule of thumb, always assume that an enemy’s reach is longer than it looks.
Remnant 2 is a 3D third-person co-op RPG about traveling to different dimensions, getting loot, saving those who need saving, and clearing out interdimensional monstrosities. It nails the aesthetics, the controls, the soulslike feel, and difficulty, while offering loads of variety in gameplay and character class customization. It still needs to take another swing at difficulty differentiating for varying numbers of players, boss behaviors and hit detection for both characters and enemies. Though, this could be all part of the challenge since you and your friends are meant to be remnants together.
This review is based on a Remnant 2 Steam code provided by the publisher. The game is also available for download on PlayStation and Xbox.