Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person action game along the lines of Dark Souls. Now, you may be wondering why everyone makes that comparison. Well — while I admit that it's overused to describe challenging games — in this case, it's warranted. If you disregard the combat similarities which focus on dodging, bosses are hidden behind fog walls, lore is told through obscure means, and you have to constantly upgrade your equipment through rare resources to stay competitive. However, Remnant: From the Ashes does enough to distinguish itself from its inspiration and, because of that, become an evolution of the popular genre.
One of the best
Remnant: From the Ashes
Bottom line: This is Gunfire Games' best title and one of the biggest surprises this year.
- Addictive gameplay
- Gorgeous concept art-like visuals
- Excellent online co-op support
- Questionable voice acting
- Minor performance issues during co-op
- Some boss battles need balancing
Remnant: From the Ashes story and randomization
Remnant: From the Ashes takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is on the brink of extinction. You have the ability to create a custom character, choose one of three unique classes, and set off on a grand adventure in a randomized environment. What you experience may be different from what other players encounter because choices, dungeons, mini-bosses, and buildings drastically change for each playthrough.
Since the game relies on online co-op, other players frequently join your sessions. Whenever that's happened, I've been amazed to discover that my new teammates fought different bosses and completed different missions on their journeys. While one took out someone known as the Mad Merchant, the other was tasked with destroying infected trees. This is by far one of the greatest features in Remnant: From the Ashes, and I hope other titles adopt it in the future. In many ways, the game takes the unpredictability Blizzard Entertainment started with Diablo III to the next level and adds unprecedented replayability.
Remnant: From the Ashes combat and exploration
Depending on the class you choose, you'll either be using long-range guns, midrange guns, or close-quarters weapons. While Remnant: From the Ashes' melee combat system is somewhat clunky and unexciting, its gunplay is superb. Another Xbox One game called Immortal: Unchained tried to do something similar, but due to poor shooting and movement mechanics, failed. Remnant: From the Ashes not only features precise aiming, but its Mod system — which can add fire damage and other attributes to weapons — makes even a humble Repeater Pistol into a boss-slaying legend.
Remnant: From the Ashes' gunplay is superb.
Exploration plays a major part in the game, and you have to break every crate and open every chest in order to acquire crafting materials. Fallen enemies also drop a lot of coveted items. If you're having a hard time surviving, just grind resources for an hour or two and upgrade your armor and weapons. This will not only help you survive, but the fact that you can withstand much more makes Remnant: From the Ashes even more enjoyable.
Remnant: From the Ashes environments and progress
Unlike other games in the genre, this one clearly tells you what you have to do to progress in the story. The premise of the plot is quite simple — the world is in ruins and you have to vanquish the extradimensional invaders — but the events that led up to it are shrouded in mystery. There are journals and other documents scattered throughout the world which fill in the blanks. There are also various creatures from other dimensions who act as allies. While many gamers may find the details unnecessarily complex, I enjoyed filling in those gaps because it's an important part of understanding the setting of the game.
Remnant: From the Ashes features tremendous level variety. You start off in a ruined city, then venture into an interdimensional labyrinth, cross a desert, explore a swamp, fight through a bioluminescent forest, and finally reach a Hell-like dimension. The environments are breathtaking and each one of them presents its own set of challenges. The monsters vary depending on the region, and you have to learn their attack patterns. The bosses are like nothing you can imagine. The creativity on display here is astonishing, to say the least.
Remnant: From the Ashes graphics and performance
Remnant: From the Ashes appears to be running at native 4K resolution on the Xbox One X. The game looks absolutely stunning because it's incredibly crisp. The textures are high resolution, the lighting looks natural, there are plenty of subtle reflections, and the particle effects are a sight to behold next to the fast-travel pillars. Unfortunately, these excellent visuals come at the cost of performance.
Remnant: From the Ashes runs at 4K on Xbox One X.
Even on Xbox One X, the game is locked to 30 frames per second (FPS). While input lag isn't a concern, some animations feel slow especially in situations where you have to constantly dodge. For example, when you're fighting one of the hardest bosses in the game — The Ent — he unleashes a shockwave across the ground. Witnessing that in 60 FPS would've been beneficial because you would've been able to time your actions better. At 30 FPS, you sort of have to guess. It takes precision out of certain aspects of combat.
I would've liked Remnant: From the Ashes to offer a 1080p 60 FPS mode. The game features contained areas with not a lot of enemies, so it could've easily run at a higher frame rate by lowering the resolution. When it comes to titles that require precise evasion, smoother gameplay is necessary. The performance is also stable outside of some co-op boss battles, so it's a polished experience.
Remnant: From the Ashes final thoughts
Despite some questionable voice acting and repetitious dialogue, Remnant: From the Ashes is a superb title even though it has a lot of similarities to a number of games out there. Its biggest inspiration appears to be Diablo III because randomness is its best feature. The fantastic creature design — which seems to take inspiration from The Lord of the Rings and even Halo 5: Guardians — is another standout aspect. This is easily Gunfire Games' best game in my opinion and one of the biggest surprises this year.
Remnant: From the Ashes is incredibly difficult. You'll want to play with two other players because taking on titanic foes like The Nightmare is nearly impossible on your own. By playing together, not only will you have people helping out, but you can also discuss strategies on which weapons and Mods are the best. Due to the unpredictable nature of the game, you'll want to help others because you may gain items and other quests you may never experience in your playthrough. More importantly, it gives you a reason to talk to others because, in order to succeed, you need to exchange information. I don't think I've ever played a game like this before where I've actively communicated about strategies because everything is so diverse from player to player.
Xbox accessories you'll love
Every one of these quality accessories is guaranteed to enhance your Xbox experience.
PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox One ($20 at Amazon)
PowerA's take on the Xbox One controller is an attractive pickup for budget-conscious gamers that nails all the basics.
Talon PDP Xbox media remote ($20 at Amazon)
The Talon PDP Xbox media remote is great for watching shows on your console.
Xbox One S vertical stand ($10 at Amazon)
Stand your console upright with this accessory.
This review was conducted using a Remnant: From the Ashes Xbox One copy provided by the publisher.
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