Review: Remnant: From the Ashes
The last survivors of humanity, the last Remnant of hope
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
“Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival action shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by monstrous creatures. As one of the last remnants of humanity, you’ll set out alone or alongside up to two other players to face down hordes of deadly enemies and epic bosses, and try to carve a foothold, rebuild, and then retake what was lost.” – Steam
The world is overrun by monstrosities. You start the game by sailing out in search of a way to end the horrors that run rampant in your world. Your destination is the lighthouse in the distance, following in the steps of former adventurers who never made it back home. The ocean is unforgiving and you soon find yourself shipwrecked. Equipped with a flimsy sword, you attempt to continue your journey on foot. You meet with The Root, the species that is threatening humanity. The first part of your journey sets you out to fail; The Root smacks the life out of you before you are rescued by the good people of Ward 13, your salvation for now.
After your traumatising experience, you can finally pick the class you feel best resonates with you to help you weed out The Root (pun intended). I went with Ex-Cultist; a mid-range specialist.
After completing the errands that the Commander engages you to do, you begin your journey (again) to end The Root. In Remnant, you can fast travel with the Crystal checkpoints that also heals you and replenishes your ammo upon interaction. Doing so will also respawn all the monsters in that map that you’ve killed previously.
The checkpoints give off a Dark Souls vibe, especially the smaller one that looks like a bonfire. The larger standing Crystal will “spit out” your party members when you summon them for the first time while the campfire one will just spawn them around it.
The campaign begins proper in the concrete jungles of Earth. Flora (The Root included) have consumed the abandoned landscapes and shells of vehicles. The ambiance will be familiar to those who have played the Fallout series.
After travelling to the jungle (Yaesha), a buried city (Rhom), and swamps (Corsus), you eventually find the entrance to the final boss right under your feet.
The game rotates inspirational quotes on the death screen in an attempt to calm your rage against certain bosses, especially the last one.
I haven’t managed to kill the final boss yet as you need fully upgraded gear. That’s going to be a long grind.
Here’s what I thought:
The attention to detail was hard to miss; everything was so hauntingly beautiful. The hallowed cityscape, the ruined city, the jungle and the swamp each had various aspects that left you mesmerized. Upon entering a boss room, you’re greeted with a badass cinematic of the boss. This definitely increases the fear factor before you come face to face with them.
The accompaniment of sound effects also incites anxiety. Whenever you encounter monsters in the environment, the background music changes to follow the onslaught happening. When a mini-boss spawns in your midst, a distinct sound prompt you of their presence. This, along with playing solo in the middle of the night, effectively triggered my anxiety. The game also does a good job in making full use of my 7.1 surround sound headset to help me directionally track the position of enemies. This definitely helps in heightening your game-sense. Even the sounds of projectiles making their way towards you makes you extra inclined to GTFO.
The music was forgettable. While roaming without enemies around, I hardly notice music playing in the background. Although, this might have been done purposely to add suspense and let you listen out better for enemies approaching.
The story became confusing and hard to follow at times. Combined with the disorientating gameplay, it was difficult to find my way sometimes cause the quest log progresses even if you don’t complete past requisites. The game tests your memory, requiring you to remember where Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) are and routes to travel to complete objectives. Traits earned while playing the game can be upgraded through skill points. Unfortunately, you are unable to reroll the points until after you’ve defeated the last boss in the game, which seemingly defeats the purpose of wanting to swap traits. Why only be able to reroll skill points AFTER completing the storyline?
The world is randomly-generated. As such, on multiplayer mode, there is no guarantee that your world and your friend’s world is the same. Encounters change and certain bosses may not appear in your world. The decisions that you make in your world will also translate to how you play out the rest of your world.
For example, you have the choice to give the heart of a beast to a king or a queen. Doing one or the other will change how you experience the game. In order to collect all the different traits and armour sets, its compulsory for you to engage in multiplayer and follow the story of another venturer.
There was also no way to communicate with the other players in the game: There was no chat box and the in-game voice communication seemed buggy as well. Despite being on full volume, I could never hear the voices of pugs who attempted to use the voice function. We just had to follow the leader.
I would say that even with the lack of communication, the community of players in Remnant: From the Ashes were mostly pleasant. There’s friendly fire in the game and well, some people just like to watch you burn. But for most parts, pugs always came to your rescue to revive you and hardly had homicidal tendencies. There were times that I accidentally shot my teammates and they turned to give me “the look” before shooting me a few times as well.
But with the friendly fire mechanic came something interesting as well. The friendly fire is actually applicable to the monsters as well. Some of them explode, some swing their menacing scythes, and these all inflict damage on the nearby monsters as well. So if you can manipulate that to your advantage, it makes for very interesting gameplay.
The randomly generated world also increases the replay value of this game. You can opt to “reroll your campaign” which effectively resets your story progress and scales the difficulty according to the items in your bag. You don’t lose any of your items or traits, you just get another chance to experience things differently and maybe die a few hundred more times.
You also get to pet and love this mutant dog thing.