Remnant: From the Ashes is out now, and I love new I.P.s, as they can take us right out of our modern gaming comfort zone, especially with first- and third-person shooters.
On top of that, it is great to see something a bit different instead of a years-old tried and tested formula – I’m looking at you Call of Duty! Gunfire Games – most notably known for Darksiders 3 and Darksiders 2: Deathfinitive Edition – have brought us Remnant: From the Ashes as a brand new I.P.
These can occasionally go bad for known developers, with Bioware as an example re: Anthem, which I did enjoy, but haven’t played since completing the campaign as there wasn’t much to do once you finished the story (there have been events since, though, in all fairness).
Remnant is another post-apocalyptic setting. I have seen similarities to Darksiders mentioned in Steam reviews and online when looking about. Personally, I would say Remnant has a lot more in common with Gears of War and the older Hellgate: London, with the setting and how it plays.
The backstory sees you as one of the last remnants of humanity trying to sort out what has gone wrong with the world. Portals had been opened during experiments which allowed through the Root, which has grown and destroyed our world. You set off towards the tower in the intro, but end up washed up on the shore due to a huge tidal wave capsizing your boat. Once you come round, you start working your way through a run-down building which serves as a basic tutorial. You will get so far, but end up being subdued and rescued, then taken to Ward 13 which is your main base of operations.
Heading out of Ward 13 and into the main areas, sees large open spaces with plenty places to explore like dilapidated buildings and offices etc. There are plenty of burnt-out vehicles dotted about the landscapes, and you will occasionally come across NPCs (non-player characters) where you can top up on supplies. The areas are procedurally-generated, so no two people’s games will be the same, except for getting from Point A to Point B into the next area.
Within quite a few areas there are underground tunnel systems to explore (dungeons if you like) with a multitude of enemies, and occasionally you may come across a slightly harder enemy similar to what you have been fighting. These dungeon-like areas can be quite vast and will vary depending on the area you are in, and occasionally will take you to the next place you need to go. On your travels, you will come across red crystals which you can use to rest and replenish your dragon heart (healing charges) and ammo etc, and also transport you back to Ward 13 if you so wish to upgrade weapons with scrap you will have collected. These crystals are very much the same as the bonfires on the Dark Souls games.
Combat is similar to Gears of War but there is no cover mechanic. However, you can crouch and fire from above barrels, and some other lower items in the environment which does work as cover in a tight encounter. You do have a stamina and health bar, and you can dodge out the way with rolls in all directions, but you do need to watch said stamina and health (which does not regenerate). The weapons you have are limited to a melee weapon, heavy rifle and a pistol. I have found myself using just the melee weapon to take out smaller enemies that only require a single hit, and using the pistol on most others as you need to conserve the limited ammo on your heavy weapon (shotgun, rifle etc) for tougher enemies and bosses.
There are RPG elements with Remnant also, since as I already mentioned, you collect scrap and other bits when killing enemies and collecting stuff from the world. You head back to Ward 13 and you can upgrade your weapons damage and your armour. On top of this, you also have weapon mods which you can attach and use once charged up. As an example, I have a health mod attached to my pistol and it creates a field which heals everyone in your group. Another I have makes my bullets become fire-charged and so on. Finally, you have your traits which look like playing cards but enhance health and stamina when you add points to them.
There are some really hard difficulty spikes which I have encountered whilst playing in sheer enemy numbers, as having one heavy enemy rushing at you to do big damage and also a few mid-level enemies also attacking, can lead to an early demise. After heading to the Labyrinth, I found an area indoors where the enemies caused radiation-type damage. Myself and a co-op player were working our way through, and got swarmed by fast enemies on foot in a small space. We ended up getting taken out and lost around 15 minutes play.
The bosses themselves are pretty difficult also, with the ramp up in difficulty coming from mobs of enemies attacking you whilst you are trying to avoid the boss attacks. A good example is the first boss I encountered (apparently, some players don’t get this boss, due to the way the game generates the world). You have a large sword enemy called Gorefist, who is hard enough to evade and attack as it is, but you have groups of enemies that explode giving off a poison dust at you. It took me and a much higher-level player a total of nine attempts to take this guy out, since rolling out the way of a boss attack could land you beside an exploding enemy which does damage and causes a status effect.
It is a bit cheap really as all the bosses have these mobs. The guy with the welding mask has plenty of lackeys who rush you with melee weapons, as well as weapons from a distance. Singe – an awesome looking dragon-type creature – has the enemies which set alight when shot, and who then rush you whilst trying to dodge his attacks, and there’s oil on the ground which is on fire. The bosses don’t really need these mobs just to inflate the difficulty.
There is a co-op play feature which works really well. You can browse for friends playing in the ‘join game’ browser of jump into a public game. I have it set to Public on the main menu, and had quite a few drop-in players who have stayed for quite some time, clearing areas and bosses. It works really well and does help when you hit a difficulty spike.
Overall, Remnant: From the Ashes is a great new I.P. The developers are working on balance and listening to community feedback, which is always great. I imagine they will keep tweaking it to get it perfect, but at the moment it is still a great game regardlessm, which is stable and runs great. I am running on an older i7 4790k with 12Gb DDR3 and a Radeon RX card with 8Gb Vram and it is running 4K resolution without any slowdown or stutter, and all settings are on Ultra with a frame cap I set at 60 so it matches my screen refresh rate (Iiyama 28″ Prolite 4k with AMD Freesync)
If you want something different Remnant is well worth picking up, you don’t get any abuse from co-op buddies if you mess up so it has a decent community and the pricing is fair at £31.
Remnant: From the Ashes is out now on PS4, Xbox One and Steam/PC.
- Developer: Gunfire Games
- Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
- Players: Single player & Co-Op
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!