Written By: Nick Farinola // Edited By: Joe Ahart

Remnant: From the Ashes, developed by Gunfire Games (who you may recognize from Darksiders II and the recently-released Darksiders III), is a third-person, rogue-like, action RPG with many elements heavily borrowed from the “Soulsborne” series, developed by From Software. This game has been on my radar for some time now, but I would have never imagined it to garner as much positive critical and user reception as it has recently. 

When I hear comparisons to Dark Souls, I somehow instantly feel pessimistic. I can think of several quote-on-quote Dark Souls clones that either successfully create their own unique formula out of a pre-existing one or fail terribly. I’ve stated previously that I am not the biggest Soulsborne fan out there. Quite honestly, I resent most of the games and their masochistic fanbase, but I do respect the hell out of them. They’re not geared towards the casual gamer, but its profound lore, stunning art design and moment-to-moment, tense gameplay (to name a few) are (initially) insanely appealing. I never got Dark Souls, but for some reason, some of my most hilarious gaming memories stem from the series. 

Credit: [Gunfire Games]

 

I’m not here to talk Dark Souls; there are way more in-depth articles and videos elsewhere. This article will cover the first three hours of gameplay in Remnant: From the Ashes. Let me say this first, I may not be a hardcore gamer, but Dark Souls did teach me a great amount in patience. Where Dark Souls asked the player to be more thoughtful and defensive with their approach to combat, Bloodborne demanded the opposite. You still needed to understand the map and all of its hidden secrets, you still needed to respect even the weakest of enemies (who could take you out with just a couple of well-timed hits), and you still needed a s$&t-ton of patience to get past the easiest of encounters. I may not have beaten any of those games, but I took everything that the series demanded and used it in Remnant

I won’t lie. I died…I died a lot. Remnant isn’t an easy game, but it isn’t as challenging of a game if you understand and respect the threats it poses against you. From the very beginning, when your character wields only a sword, I was meticulous with everything. I checked every nook and cranny, treaded carefully in case of an ambush, and approached combat in a cautious manner. Once the tutorial is completed, the game drops you in Ward 13, a safe zone or hub world, if you will. From here, you meet a ton of NPCs that offer you anything from personal worries and kind words to weapon and armor upgrades. In the center of Ward 13, is this giant red crystal that acts as a sort of main travel point between other smaller red crystals. Is it obvious that these crystals resemble the bonfires from Dark Souls? Yes? Good. 

Once you travel outside of Ward 13, the game’s resemblance to Dark Souls really starts to show. Let me make it (crystal) clear that this is in no way a bad thing. Remnant is not Dark Souls with guns. It would be find as an elevator pitch. But, that would be the ultimate disservice to this great game. Once outside of Ward 13, the large, non-linear map design shines. You never really know where to go first, or where one path might lead, but that’s where the excitement stems from (no pun intended). One path up a dilapidated skyscraper overgrown with tree roots brought me to a Tome of Knowledge, a free trait point, while another led me to a horde of ash devils and hollows, or better known as DEATH. 

From left: Scrapper, Hunter, and Ex-Cultist. Credit: [Gunfire Games]
Death in Remnant is a little more forgiving than its Dark Souls inspiration. When you die, you return to your last checkpoint crystal with everything you had found in the world. All of the enemies respawn, but you’re now able to easily travel back to Ward 13 to upgrade your weapons and armor with the scrap you had collected in your last run. 

When talking about enemies, I want to make a comparison to Doom. This is strange, but hear me out. In Doom (2016), the game relentlessly throws a seemingly insurmountable amount of enemies your way. For Doom Slayer, this is a stroll in a park, but in Remnant, it forces you to approach combat in three different ways. There are three classes in the game to choose from, Scrapper, Hunter and Ex-Cultist. They differ in armor appearance, starting weapons, and range attacks. Scrapper is your close-combat tank armed with a shotgun, whereas Hunter is your long-range alternative armed with a repeater. Ex-Cultist arms you with a mid-range weapon. Each class comes with different traits to unlock, and adds a great layer or replayability on top of the procedurally generated campaign world and bosses.

One trait to upgrade is Enemy Awareness. Credit: [Gunfire Games]
There are certain mod slots that can be added to your weapons based off of the class that you decide, but I haven’t explored this aspect as much as I would like to confidently speak on the matter. As a hunter, I unlocked this mod (that can only be used after damaging a certain number of enemies) that highlights enemies in the surrounding area. On top of mods, there are also consumables, bandages, scrap and jewelry buffs scattered around each environment. The Bloodwort regenerates health at a rate of 1.7 HP per second for 30 seconds, and is second in health regeneration only to the Dragon Heart, which is essentially the Estus Flask. Not only does it fully heal the player, it also instantly resurrects a teammate. 

The game, to some extent, is meant to be played cooperatively, but don’t let that stop you solo players. There are many people who’d prefer to play a solo run. 

So far, I’m surprised that I’m enjoying my time with Remnant. I never thought i would like a game like this, but so far it is the perfect blend of excellent gunplay and challenge. The enemy design is awesome, the environments are detailed (albeit somewhat bland in the beginning stages) and large, and the moment-to-moment gameplay is tense and fun as hell. 

If you’re a casual gamer like me on the fence about Remnant, be sure to know that this isn’t Dark Souls with guns. It’s a rare, unique twist on the well-known Soulsborne formula. 

Remnant: From the Ashes is available now on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One for $39.99.   

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