A genre defines the experience for a game then the developers can build on top of those expectations. Remnant: From the Ashes is a weird game as it is a looter shooter without a lot of loot. The core comes from playing with friends to fight through hordes of enemies and defeat daunting bosses. It gets plenty wrong, but with one or two friends, it becomes harder to deny the addictiveness of this apocalyptic adventure.
An alternate dimension has thrown ancient creatures into the modern world, tearing humanity apart. As you go on your underwhelming and confusing adventure, your nameless protagonist gets a whiff of answers along with plenty of more questions. Like any game with RPG elements, you, a random person in this world with no credibility, gets tasked with saving it from an evil force, The Root. That trope never makes a ton of sense, but it is more logical than the rest of the
After a brief tutorial, you finally get to choose between three classes, perfectly suited for three people to play together. Scrapper is the tank with melee focus attacks, Hunter has long-range capabilities, and Ex-Cultist (who I chose) is the support member with mid-range guns. Each of the options has a lot to offer with their abilities and weapon sets when my friend decided with the Hunter along with my healing ability, we made for a killer team against the monsters.
More RPG elements get added with Trait Ranks. A series of skills that get points dispensed into for stat upgrades like the essential endurance and some more unique to the world of Remnant as you make progress. It becomes slightly overwhelming as more traits get piled on, yet that goes away as I grew stronger and feeling like a savior rather than some random person who gets thrust into the position.
Customizing your hero is rudimentary with all of the basics like hairstyles and color along with some voices and pre-set faces. It did not feel limiting even though it lacked much depth. I was able to quickly create someone then move on, feeling satisfied with my character.
Combat has a punch that lands semi-hard on enemies. The guns feel right while the melee is a little overly simplified. Guns have mods for an alternate fire with some that are universal and others being character-specific. Whether hacking away at a group of small charging creatures or shooting down a behemoth, it has a rewarding vibe to kill without having to deliver much loot.
The meat of the experience comes from big boss battles. Most of them are just beefed up versions of regular enemies, making them pretty bland except for main story bosses that have a fresh face. Too many times these fights would either be too easy (one of which got glitched and couldn’t move to make for an easy target) or overwhelmingly hard with swarms of minions to back up the monstrous foe or their moveset would be unfair.
The balance for the challenges continues to struggle in other areas. Healing or taking any consumable goes too slowly. Inevitably you die for no good reason because the hero needed to take in his/her time drinking a potion or refilling ammo.
Finding, buying, or grabbing dropped goods is hard oddly hard to come by. For a looter shooter, this is more of a shooter that tosses a bone your way for exploring or progressing through the story. I played for three or four hours before finding a gun in the ruins of a city with a few accessories here and there that boost my stats.
Selling or crafting to NPCs is the best bet for upgrades or new gear. Finding materials or gathering enough scrap for trade is balanced without having to grind at all for what I need. When I saved my piggy bank to splurge, I gained plenty of rewards that made me feel stronger than before. The odd choice that I cannot get my head around is that selling for extra cash come from only materials or consumables, so excess weapons or armor sit in your inventory taking up space and irritating my organizational tendencies.
Gathering the loot is even more comfortable with an ally. Shared loot makes covering landscapes more accessible without fearing on losing out on supplies or potential gear.
A staggering amount of variety comes from the invading creatures. Every area has specific sets of foes to face to keep the gameplay fresh. The designs are just as interesting as their different combative properties, but some of the textures need some work to give more life to the flood of ancient monsters.
The safe haven from the utter hell that is the outside world comes from Ward 13. Resupplying, upgrades, and interact with vendors as you catch your breath. A generic hub world that makes up for its lack of life by its worthwhile upgrade and trading system.
The level design comes to blend together as each new area has a theme that becomes boring. The structure of diverging paths that balance openness and a linear road kept me on track while having fun exploring. The hopes of finding something great moved me, but not finding better equipment ran dry. The procedurally generated mechanic does not work for these reasons.
A lot of familiar elements rise to the surface as I played through more of Remnant. Fog walls and resting at checkpoints to restore items all seem similar to one fantasy RPG that is known for extreme difficulty. Remnant does not live up to the quality as its influences, mostly due to its inconsistent difficulty that can be unfair with the waves of enemies or ridiculous bosses.
At best, visually, this game gets a pass, but at worst, it is hard to look at. A lot of the textures, especially with certain enemy types, look watered down. Stylistically nothing works together.
The animations are a mess. The worst of which comes from cutscenes, which look worse than gameplay. The mouth sync with dialogue is laughable by how robotic everyone seems.
Even though your protagonist has a voice, it is never used except for random quips during a battle. Selective dialogue with NPCs is pointless as no decision matters, and you don’t hear your voice. This mechanic should just be thrown out and let other parts of the game get more treatment.
The music has every ingredient to make it epic, yet it is halfbaked. The orchestral style fits perfectly during important battles, but it is too quiet, and the music comes off underdone in many sequences.
On paper, Remnant: From the Ashes has a lot to offer, except it somehow falls on its face. A few glitches appear, ranging from annoying issues like not being able to talk to an NPC to stock up for a fight or the unkillable final boss who turned his God mode on before my friend and I got to him. The lowered price of $40 is not worth it unless you have a buddy who is willing to go down with you to save the world.
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