Not having been entitled to a proper test on Gamekult when it was released on August 20, 2019, it is good form to offer Remnant a little presentation. Often summed up rather crudely as a “Dark Souls with guns”, Remnant: From the Ashes is a third person shooter with a class system. Equipped with our two firearms and our hand-to-hand weapon, we are launched into a furiously difficult adventure, with prickly bosses and a demanding dodging system in a dark universe. This is where the resemblance to FromSoftware’s venerable license begins and ends. The scenario of Remnant was much less cryptic, the adventure playable in cooperation very simply and above all, the zones were generated procedurally to renew the interest of the player. Having had its little success, the game was even entitled to two DLCs (Swamps of Corsus And Subject 2923) and with these 3 million copies sold in December 2021, it has far exceeded the expectations of its creators, who are now very motivated to give it a sequel that will mark more. And it’s not the acquisition of Perfect World Entertainment by Embracer in 2021 (renamed Gearbox Publishing since) that will disrupt Gunfire Games’ plans.
BNP Remnant, a changing world
After a fairly basic character creation, we must therefore choose between Medic, Hunter, Challenger and Handler. Nothing too shocking in these choices with classic archetypes like a healer, a tank, and two slightly more original DPS, one of which is accompanied by a dog. Everyone will have their own skills and as in the first opus, we will be able to attach mods to our weapons offering additional special attacks. We were able to do the entire session in cooperation with two other players and before even talking about the gameplay or the personal experience, the first thing that strikes us is the diversity brought by the procedural generation. Of the ten trios present for the occasion in the European premises of Gearbox, not a single one will have done the same thing, explored the same world or fought the same boss. A little tour of the table was enough to see sections totally different from ours and what was a nice aspect in the first opus seems to be much more overwhelming in Remnant 2.
The whole question is to know how different things will be and above all, if they will not be repetitive in the long term, but in the context of a preview, it must be recognized that it is intriguing. We imagine a game with a very solid replayability, while remaining cautious about its limits. Note that thanks to the Unreal Engine 5 and the help of Epic Games, which has invested some money Remnant 2the game is far from gross and takes advantage of techno to offer friendly environments for our retinas, when we are not going through the many rather basic corridors going from one room to another, but which seem almost obligatory in a game whose levels are procedurally generated.
A game that lives up to its name
For the rest, it’s hard to find anything that isn’t reminiscent of Remnant: From the Ashes. The classes may be different with a few subtleties, the gameplay is not upset and the progression system with weapons and mods remains substantially the same. A formula that works, but hopefully will be denser in the final game. If the character design of the monsters is still inspired, especially on the bosses, we find the same problems as in the first opus, namely a difficulty that sometimes seems artificial. Some difficult bosses are especially difficult because small enemies spawn endlessly. Over the three hours of play, we spent at least 45 minutes on an enemy difficult in itself, but made hellish by the continuous stream of trash mobs. This is not the only point taken from the first opus and if we still appreciate the difficulty of Remnant which earned him his comparison with Dark Souls first, it remains uneven in some sections.
As we said above, the arsenal does not seem to have undergone a major upheaval and if we expect more diversity on the end of the game, the beginning is shaping up to be very familiar territory. for those who have already cut their teeth on Remnant: From the Ashes. Even in the sensations of using weapons, we have the impression of finding this old friend with whom we had not played for years. We really rely on mods, these objects that we attach to each weapon and which will give them a special attack with a reload time. It is on this point that things could well be decisive with original uses, but the little that we could see was not very innovative. In terms of multiplayer, things will be as simple as in the first opus to join and a HUB will allow us to do a little theory crafting between two assignments. It remains to be seen how the game will manage the progression in each person’s story in relation to the host of the game, a dispute often addressed in this kind of video game experience.
If the combat system knows little changes in the end, we appreciate more the great efforts made on the level design. Large phases of puzzles or obstacles are wedged between two fights with sometimes a difficulty not piqued by beetles. We think in particular of this crystal which generates fatal electric arcs and which descends on a closed elevator and forces the player to hurry to advance at the same pace or risk having to start over. Or this door that only opened once certain conditions hidden on the map were met. Once again, procedural generation offers great possibilities. In three hours, difficult to realize the scriptwriting implications, but it is important to specify that the story will be in the continuity of the first opus. Not sure that’s the wisest choice, the scenario of From the Ashes not having left us with an imperishable memory, and which raises questions of ease of access for newcomers. The future will tell if Gunfire Games was right to impose this additional challenge on its development.