Remnant II is one of those games that comes around only once in a while. It’s hard to describe a game that does so many different things so well. Remnant II is a Soulslike game that I can only describe as Gears of War meets Dead Space with a dash of Fallout 4 and hints of BioShock. It plucks the very best aspects of Third-Person Shooters, adventure games, RPGs, horror games and puzzlers and combines them all into something truly exceptional. With fun cooperative play and excellent combat mechanics too, it’s hard to find much to fault it on. Welcome to our Remnant II review!
Survival of the fittest
You take on the role of a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world who fights to save humanity from extinction. To do this, they must travel to different worlds and battle nightmare-like creatures. The first time you play Remnant II, you are presented with the character creation screen. Despite the incredible graphics, the options here are unfortunately limited. It would have been great to have had more control over your character’s facial features, but sadly this isn’t an option. However, this is about as bad as Remnant II gets.
From the onset, it is clear that Remnant II is not to be sniffed at. There is a lot to learn about the different worlds and lore alike, and this can be overwhelming at first. Some might argue that there is too much to pay attention to, but I disagree. This is because if you are paying attention, then you will quickly realize that every single aspect of the game is there for an important reason. Allow me to elaborate: you have generic inventory features such as the inventory itself and weapons management. There is also an area where you can manage your character’s attire, each garment coming with its own set of pros, cons and abilities where applicable. This is also somewhat common in such games.
Items all around
Then there is the section where you manage your character’s jewelry, in the form of four rings. Each ring grants your character special abilities and/or benefits. There is a plethora of rings to acquire in this game. You are then able to manage your character’s archetypes, which are essentially classes that grant your character special abilities and strengths. Then you can select a specific special move of sorts to use whilst adopting each archetype.
The worlds in which you go about exploring and battling within contain a plethora of items that can slot into these categories. Each of these items is richly detailed and beautifully designed. As such, there are potentially limitless combinations of items that you could have to make your character’s time as easy as possible. The possible loadouts of attire, jewelry, weapons, skill sets, trinkets and everything else to consider, however, could lead to paralysis analysis. However, this also isn’t a bad thing because it grants you creative freedom and thus allows you to play exactly the way you would like to.
It’s important to note that you will probably have a unique experience each time you play Remnant II when compared to other players’ experiences. This is because the order of the five worlds in Remnant II is randomly generated, except for Labyrinth and Root Earth which are worlds two and five respectively. Even things such as events of the main storyline within each of the five worlds are random, meaning that in theory, every playthrough should yield a different experience. The way this works is that there is a plethora of storylines available, and each playthrough randomly selects some of those storylines at random and pieces them together, thus producing a unique story line and experience.
Considering how much there is to do, see and obtain, it never feels tiresome and retains a fresh feeling the whole time. If anything, I found myself genuinely wanting to go and find certain things and nothing ever made me feel like I was just wasting my time.
Built for co-op
Co-op play is vital in Remnant II. This is because, generally, Remnant II is a hard game. You will die. Repeatedly. Even more so if you try to battle some of the bosses alone, which can be almost impossibly hard. That is why you should seek assistance when this begins to happen frequently. In this respect, Remnant II shares a similar co-op model to The Division 2. You can join a group and play as a team to (sort of) progress through the game together.
You can play in a team of up to three players, inclusive of you, and you each have your own set of unrestricted abilities. It is great fun to have a companion along for the ride as it helps motivate you. The added bonus here is that you can plan your attacks and also revive one another should one of you get taken down.
Playing with others is smooth and easy to get into. You connect with a World Stone or World Shard, select Join Game and then choose from the dozens of available co-op matches out there. If nothing takes your fancy, simply hit the refresh button and a new set of available co-op matches will appear. You can keep doing this until you find one that you want to join. These available co-op sessions can also be filtered by difficulty, which is also helpful in itself as you can tailor your co-op experience even further.
Similarly, you can set your co-op option to one of three settings: off, friends only or public. The first two are self-explanatory. The latter will allow anybody to join you at random, but this is not as disruptive as it first sounds. The way it works is that somebody will join your session, and you will see their name in the top left-hand corner of the screen. However, they will be dormant, as such, until you reach a World Stone or World Shard (these are smaller, less feature-rich versions of World Stones). Once at a World Stone or World Shard, your character will place their hands upon it and a few seconds later you will see your co-op partner appear at the same stone. From then on, you can go about your business together.
Progression during co-op play works differently from playing solo. If you join somebody else’s session and progress through a portion of the game that you have yet to complete, then it will not count towards your own progress. It will remain the same as it was before the encounter. What that means is that if you defeat a new boss whilst being a member of somebody else’s session, then when you play solo your progress will remain where it was before the encounter. In other words, only the host will progress in their campaign – no other party members will. However, this doesn’t mean that co-op is of no value unless you are the host – quite the contrary, in fact. Everything that is unlocked or discovered during a co-op quest is granted to all members for good. It is merely progression that is locked to the host only.
Host-only progression was very disappointing to discover first-hand, as I had put a significant amount of time into defeating a couple of bosses only to find that they didn’t count. As such, I had to defeat them all over again, and bear in mind that boss battles are super hard!
From my perspective, matchmaking could do with some improvement. It’s not possible to invite random people from a lobby to your party but you can invite people on your friends list. If you don’t have any available friends, then this means that if you are stuck and need help, you will have to wait until somebody randomly decides to join your party before you can potentially progress. What makes it more difficult still is that you then need to bring them into your session via a checkpoint. A system where you can essentially cherry-pick people looking to join a game and invite them in would be much better. Either that or allow progression for all party members.
What’s your type?
Archetypes are classes which define what kind of attributes your character has. Each archetype has its own unique set of skills, perks, and abilities that define a particular play style. There are 11 in total and at some point, you can gain the ability to adopt two archetypes simultaneously. Personally, I found it great fun to combine different archetypes and see what benefits the amalgams brought.
You have the option to level almost everything up, including things such as abilities, traits, weapons, weapon mods and even the archetypes themselves. When you reach level 10 under each archetype, you unlock its Prime Perk. The Prime Perk is a powerful ability that can give you a significant advantage in combat – think of it as a special move of sorts.
Combat in Remnant II feels truly incredible. Each fight feels unique and you rarely feel challenged as the enemy AI always makes you think and react quickly. It’s easy to become overwhelmed at first when dealing with an enemy onslaught as you will quite literally be attacked from all angles relentlessly. As such, it is important to plan how you are going to go about each fight. Some are possible to simply sprint away from whereas others are not. Ultimately, you are forced to learn how to think about approaches to battles the more you play and this is a great thing.
There is a huge selection of weapons to acquire. Each of the three weapon slots belongs to a specific class: long guns, handguns and melee weapons. Each gun handles differently from everything else, each with its own pros and cons. There are also several secret weapons that you can find, all of which have significantly better specs than more freely-available weapons.
Enemies are varied and each type has its own unique style of combat and abilities. Some are definitely more infuriating than others and you will almost certainly want to repeatedly smash your screen to pieces after almost making it through somewhere before you are stopped in your tracks.
I found that sky-based enemies did the most damage as I had to not only look all around me but also take my gaze away from the action on ground level. As such, I lost sight of ground-based enemies and kept getting killed. Therefore, I learned to adapt my own combat style to suit the battle that I was in at any time. This was refreshing because I never found myself button-bashing, but rather thinking about my character’s positioning, dodging enemies’ locations and paying close attention to my surroundings in case I could run away somewhere.
Unique boss battles
Bosses are something else altogether. First off, they are probably unlike anything you will have ever seen in any other game. The variation from one boss to the next is incredible. It’s often easy to forget that they are all part of the same game. Each boss tends to go through stages as they weaken, typically sending waves of attacks in your direction. These can be in the form of laser beams, throwing of bomb-like items or even spawning literal waves of level-based enemies for you to also deal with whilst trying to stay out of harm’s way. Every boss battle is infuriating, but in a really good way. The feelings of satisfaction when you defeat them are immense!
The ability to travel between worlds at will whenever you encounter a World Stone is so much fun. One moment you are running through the streets of what looks like Victorian London in an attempt to escape some killer Londoners. The next moment you could be battling an army of various robots on an alien landscape. This ability grants the freedom for you to essentially customise your experience further, because you are free to do as you wish. You can do missions in the order that you choose and are not tied down to a specific order.
Every playthrough is different
Remnant II has immense replay value. This is due to randomly-generated elements, worlds and storylines as well as the locations and availability of collectables. Most players will have a unique experience because the order that the worlds appear in is random. This means that players will be unlikely to inadvertently ruin their specific experience by watching gameplay videos or reading walkthroughs as they are likely to be different to their own.
Further to each world being randomly selected, the majority of the content of each world and the location of said content is further randomised in terms of placement. As such, each playthrough is almost certain to be completely unique and interesting every time.
Given the nature of travelling across dimensions via the multiverse, it also seems fair to say that future DLC could easily be created in the form of new worlds to explore, without the need to follow a particular style. Based on how the existing worlds are designed, this could be very exciting indeed.
Loads of content
There is also a lot of content to acquire in Remnant II. Completionists will see themselves spending around 60 hours to achieve 100%. Personally, I’m not a completionist – never have been. I like to explore worlds in games to see what I can find, and Remnant II certainly didn’t disappoint. It seems like every time I play, I keep discovering new things to see and do, which in turn increases the desire to return.
Remnant II is utterly stunning. Character models are complex and detailed and the environments even more so. Movement looks natural and the use of light throughout the game is expertly executed to create an incredible atmosphere in every world. Weapons look excellent, especially with mods attached which tend to look primarily biological in some way or other (think wooden or flesh-based mods).
Everything in Remnant II sounds precisely how you would expect it to. Root monsters and eight-foot-tall bipedal robots sound precisely how you would imagine them to sound. Gunshots all sound unique and powerful, and the sound of every footstep sounds accurate based on the corresponding surface. The only thing I think sounds out of place is the main character’s death scream which sounds far too dramatic when compared to the rest of the game. (I’m nitpicking, of course.)
In addition to this, the background music is top-quality. Every level contains a suitable operatic piece that adapts in tempo according to what is happening on-screen. As such, this further enhances the already-amazing atmosphere and only improves the experience further.
Remnant II truly is one of those games that you will almost certainly play for many years to come. There is so much to do and see that you will probably need to play through several times to see it all. Every aspect of the game has clearly been thought out deeply. From level design to enemy AI and even down to player outfits. Every world is so deeply unique that they could genuinely be their own game. No two worlds are even remotely alike.
Co-op play is both fun and exciting, yet the implementation could do with some improvement, especially around progression. Other than that, there really is very little to dislike about Remnant II. It truly is one of the very best games that I have ever played and has immediately taken a well-deserved spot among my all-time favourites.
- Combat mechanics feel smooth, responsive and natural.
- Every world is truly something special and could all be their own games.
- Enemy types are rich and varied.
- Bosses are exceptional and wildly different from one another.
- Stellar voice acting.
- Tons of replay value.
- Content remains fresh and interesting even after a long time.
- Character creation could be more detailed.
- Can be almost too difficult at times.
- Despite being fun, the implementation of co-op play could do with some improvement.
Remnant II is currently available through Boosteroid and GeForce Now. This review was made by Mus from PapaBear Gaming. You can check out his channel right here. You can follow him on Twitter by going here. That was it for our Remnant II Review.