Remnant: From The Ashes reviewed on PC by David Jagneaux on PC. Also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
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remnant from the ashes demands a lot from you while offering very little in return it's excellent combat and high-stakes randomized progression system gives it moments of pure bliss excitement especially in co-op but it's frequent difficulty spikes an underwhelming gear system robbing of the consistently tough but fair feeling that gives souls games their infamous appeal the elevator pitch for remnant is basically dark souls with a heavy focus on ranged gun based combat and it sticks closely to that format your team of three fights across randomly generated maps and slays boss monsters in the hopes of earning extremely rare loot gunfire games did a good job of building out a world that feels unique with lots of fine details that are fun to uncover but the actual post-apocalyptic story about a battle against an evil called the root lacks personality and a driving purpose to keep things interesting on that front each zone has a grotesque Beauty all in its own while also leaning into a dark twisted vision of the world even the swamp zone in the second half of the campaign which seems a little mundane at first distinguishes itself when you see these slimy things lunging at you the flow of progression from basta boss is pretty simple you enter a new zone explore until you find a door to the next area or checkpoint go forward fight the eventual boss and repeat zones are small enough that you don't really get lost but large enough that it doesn't just feel like a linear series of corridors each of those areas is one of a great variety of pre-made honks that are rearranged each time a world is loaded for the first time keeping things from becoming predictable even after you've completed the first 18 hour playthrough since bosses appear in randomized order during dungeons and each one gives you a unique trait when you kill it subsequent playthroughs can be quite different it's very roguelike in its progression systems though definitely not how it handles death that makes most boss encounters even more stressful and rewarding combat is absolutely fantastic everything has a satisfying weight behind it whether it be each of the various gun types or individual melee weapons swinging a heavy hammer down to smash through enemies before switching to a shotgun and blowing off heads then dot rolling out of the way of a charging brute is the kind of intensity you can expect in a standard enemy encounter there's no block button so dodge rolling and stamina management is crucial you can dodge through enemies and attacks if you time it correctly so getting into a rhythm is super important and satisfying when you execute it well your loadout includes two guns a melee weapon three pieces of armor and three trinkets even though upgrading your gear is usually more effective than actually switching weapons the mods add a lot of variety and keep things feeling fresh however a bit more loot variety would have been nice you basically find zero gear and no weapons other than in sparse secret caches or from crafting after killing the boss it's an interesting way of handling loot in a game like this but it's a bit too stingy with the drop rates there are certainly some balance challenges right now – especially if you believe the marketing line that remnant is playable as either a co-op or solo adventure some bosses feel nearly unbeatable alone including one that was still standing after more than 40 attempts and one enemy type is so aggressive with melee attacks it's easy to get stunlock to death if you don't perfectly dodge each assault so without backup they're really irritating even given remnants identity as an unforgiving punishing experience some of the difficulty spikes fill arbitrary and absurd retina delivers a beautifully deranged vision of the apocalypse over running with twisting characters hell-bent on making you suffer the thrill of finally beating a boss that's had your number four hours is right up there with the souls games that so clearly inspired it though the underwhelming gear system sometimes brings down the high of overcoming the frequent difficulty spikes overall it's a solid game that offers one of the best and most rewarding co-op experiences in quite some time as long as you have a hint of desire to challenge and punish yourself over and over for more on revenant from the ashes watch the first 19 minutes of gameplay or see 9 minutes of intense dungeon action and for everything else stay tuned to IGN Gamescom is the biggest gaming event on earth and IGN at Gamescom now is bringing it to you live all week long we've got exclusive gameplay demos cosplay esports and so much more if you can't be here in person IGN at Gamescom now is the next best thing IGN live at Gamescom is presented by alien where alien we're we're game