Video games have reached a point where developers have a wide and varied history of games to pull inspiration and ideas from to build upon established experiences and create new, interesting ones.
“Remnant: From the Ashes” is an exciting mixture of a handful of established ideas from the video game industry that puts you and up to two other players in a tough-as-nails shooter that blends some of the ideas that made the venerable “Dark Souls” series a classic with guns, easy multiplayer and an eye toward endless replayability.
The best — and most simple — way to describe “Remnant: From the Ashes” is “Dark Souls with guns,” and it’s not all that bad of an explanation. The “Dark Souls” games set a player in an eerie, maze-like world filled with monsters that mixed medieval tropes with Lovecraftian horror, giving them tight and satisfying combat with tough one-wrong-move-and-you’re-dead enemies.
“Dark Souls” armed players with swords, shields and magic while “Remnant: From the Ashes” is set in a post-apocalyptic setting where you’ll be exploring through ruined cities taken over by a mysterious tree-like enemies known as The Root. The same Lovecraftian horror themes are at play here and there are more than one enemy that looks a lot like the tentacled Cthulhu.
You’ll be armed with a variety of hard-hitting guns as well as a melee weapon.
Combat and multiplayer are where “Remnant: From the Ashes” really shines. Controlling your character from a third-person perspective is tight and fun. You’ll dodge and roll, maintaining your characters’ stamina while avoiding enemies’ brutal attacks and delivering attacks of your own.
Playing the game through single player is particularly challenging so teaming up with a friend makes the game more tactical as you can work to circle around the bad guys and protect each other against surprise attacks. It’s also fun to explore and see the world open up in front of you.
My chief complaint about “Remnant: From the Ashes” is the comparative lack of customizability and gear. There’s a decent number of different guns, sidearms and melee weapons but it pales in comparison to multiplayer loot-driven shooters. I don’t think “Remnant” is attempting to become the next “Destiny” or “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” both of which have a treadmill-like grind for loot with increasingly better stats and which have wrongly been compared to “Remnant,” but I would have liked to see more options for how to approach combat.
A fair bit of customization comes through unlockable traits that bolt additional abilities onto each gun. These range from pretty standard damage boosts and healing shields to more unique abilities like summoned allies and decoys.
There’s also some light customization for the player where you can level up and boost their stats to increase their health, damage or other traits.
One of the most intriguing things about “Remnant: From the Ashes” are its promises of replayability. Where the “Souls” games were all carefully hand-crafted, “Remnant: From the Ashes” uses a auto-generated level system that creates each map on the fly from a selection of pieces made by the designers.
So far, it’s been fun and added to the madness of the world “Remnant” is working with and I could see it being added to and fleshed out in the future.
“Remnant” is a challenging game that’s particularly fun when played together. It’s already given me plenty of long nights of attempting to beat a particularly tough boss and I look forward to plenty more.
Matt Buxton is a freelance writer and gamer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You Play
Game: “Remnant: From the Ashes”
Rating: Four stars out of five
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, Playstation 4
Internet usage: 30 GB, internet required for multiplayer
Release Date: Aug. 20, 2019