Genre Mashup Remnant: From the Ashes Gets the Recipe Right
Gunfire Games hits a bull's-eye with this genre mashup shooter
Gunfire Games' latest came out of nowhere. Maybe it was the bland name or that people slept on their last title, Darksiders III. Perhaps it was the increasingly interchangeable post-apocalyptic setting. Whatever the reason, it didn't take long for players to see the quality of the genre mishmash of Remnant: From the Ashes.
Like so many others, the most popular comparison is to the Souls series, with its lack of jumping, brutally difficult enemies, and even teleporting "bonfires" (in this case big red crystals). Add various guns to the mix and you have the core of an unassuming action RPG.
The story begins simply enough: A rundown planet, not unlike our own, has been ravaged by the mysterious "root." Begrudgingly, you join the fight, and just when you're ready to write off the plot, a giant obelisk lands in the middle of town and things only pick up from there as your travels bring you to alien lands, deserts, and beyond as the story progresses. If the story doesn't grab you, there are few ramifications to skipping through it and focusing on the action. It's an option that becomes indispensable for repeat playthroughs, which are recommended to discover the world's many secrets – and maybe even kick up the difficulty setting and cross your fingers.
Each playthrough will be somewhat different, with enemies and bosses randomized with each trek through the world. Bosses give players traits to level up, so what traits you receive early on can change the strategies from one round to another. Regardless of a character's strengths or weaknesses, the combat feels terrific. Shooting, dodging, and melee-ing are easy to grasp but reveal depth as the number and caliber of baddies increase.
Go forth as a lone wolf, or better yet, enlist friends. The latter is definitely recommended, if not for the usual reasons (it's more fun to succeed and fail with company) then because the game is significantly easier with additional helping hands. Solitary players will find themselves felled with ease early on, but can be assisted and revived by compatriots.
The leveling and story fall a bit short, but the gameplay makes up for it. The varied world, interesting (and often very challenging) bosses, and quality co-op play make Remnant significantly more than a sum of its influences.
Remnant: From the Ashes
PS4, Xbox One, PC