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Remnant: From The Ashes Review

The Tree Slayer, First Of His Name .

Published October 18, 2023
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What is it that drives people into risking their necks in a practically lost battle when the wisest decision would've been to just not do anything at all? Like, is it naivety, an innate desire for heroism, or perhaps something more profound that compels characters to step forward and think "Guess I'll go save everybody, idk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" without having the track record that they'll even be worthy of holding a weapon in the first place? Those are both really great questions that sadly I don't think we will ever see answered in our lifetimes — or, at the very least, not in the foreseeable future anyways.

 ...As it turns out, bringing a gun to a knife fight really is as smart as it sounds... 

Alright, leaving my daily rant about main character syndrome aside, let's instead steer towards some actually great and exciting topics, shall we? So, something I believe we've all said or at the very least had the thought cross our minds when playing a Souls game is: what if... guns? So, yeah, apparently someone very capable thought the exact same thing and went ahead and rode that idea until it became reality. Introducing Remnant: From The Ashes, a third-person shooter that is greatly inspired by the series of highly successful titles made by FromSoftware, drawing heavily from those game's combat as well as storytelling veins while still offering a fresh take on the sub-genre for players to explore.

Out since 2019, the game already has a sequel in store for fans to go grab, and, as it is known, if a sequel exists, then that's got to mean this first entry must have done something quite all right. Developed by the aptly named studio Gunfire Games and published by Perfect World Games, Remnant really does feel like something truly special. And I don't say this solely because of its concept (which I am a huge fan of, btw) but more so because while it's definitely not reinventing the wheel in any way, shape, or form, its ability to deliver thrilling battles and adrenaline-pumping action sequences consistently throughout its entire length are just so mouth-watering it can't be denied. Additionally, the inclusion of co-op gameplay adds an exciting layer to the equation, even though I couldn't fully explore it myself, given my current lack of gaming companions.


Remnant's allure lies in its captivating combat and immersive gameplay. It's a game that takes the essence of magic users from the Souls games and amplifies it to an extraordinary level. The experience in Remnant hits truly like nothing else, as if the developers harnessed the very energy of those spells and unleashed it in a frenzy of mesmerizing abilities that draw players into a whirlwind of exhilarating battles and strategic encounters.

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Set in a decaying post-apocalyptic world, the game's plot revolves around the insidious spread of 'The Root,' an unprecedented corruption with origins deep within the Earth, where its malevolent tendrils have been ravaging the planet for untold ages. Be prepared to embark on a journey across interdimensional planes, venturing through lush jungles, scalding deserts, and long-forgotten mystical temples in a variety of distinct game modes. Along the way, the fallen foes you conquer become the source of powerful trophies, each being craftable into unique firearms, arming you with the tools to triumph over this otherwordly menace.


The Root, a formidable and enigmatic adversary, manifests as beings with bodies intricately woven from tree-like structures. These insidious entities have infested Earth, relentlessly vying for dominion and seeking to extinguish the remaining members of humanity. Operating as a collective hivemind, they exhibit a restless drive to consume and propagate, with their insatiable hunger allowing them to advance as a single unit until they are able to wrestle their claim over the entire world.

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Developer: Gunfire Games

Publisher: Perfect World

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Buying the game from the link above is a great way to support the site.

Where Our Years Of Training Come Into Play: Bring The Weed Cutter .

In the dimly lit prologue of Remnant: From The Ashes, as we take our first steps out of the death's door and into this treacherous, unforgiving world, the game thrusts us into the shattered remnants of once-thriving civilizations which are now nothing more than crumbling relics of the past. Amidst this desolation, you, the protagonist, stand as a beacon of hope — a lone torchbearer of resilience in the face of unfathomable adversity. As you delve deeper into this nightmarish realm, the threads of the game's narrative begin to unravel, revealing hidden truths about the origins of the corruption and the pivotal role you must play in the battle to reclaim a world teetering on the brink of annihilation.

Faced with such a bleak reality, the humans who weren't immediately killed sought refuge in a place known as Ward 13, a last bastion of hope amidst the chaos of the outside world. Within these secluded and fortified walls lies a sanctuary for the few who, like ourselves, managed to survive the initial onslaught of The Root, forming a resistance against the relentless tide of invaders, refusing to surrender to the interdimensional terror. It is here, in the heart of these labyrinthine corridors of this fortress-like structure, where our story truly commences; the strategic center of our fight against the enemy which threatens our very existence.


After having gathered our strength, our plan of action, forged in the crucible of desperation and necessity, is set brightly clear ahead of us: we must venture forth in search of the elusive knowledge that holds the key to restoring our world in daring forays into the hostile territories infested by The Root… knowledge which just so happens to be kept by an old dude who hasn't been seen in ages and is presumed dead, so we're off to a good start. Meanwhile, even though our enemies' numbers are vast, their durability is nowhere near insurmountable, meaning that to strike back we just need some unwavering resolve and a sh!t ton of ammo.


As the beating heart of the game, Ward 13 serves as a focal point for players to regroup, rearm, and try to understand the mysteries of their surroundings. Here, players can upgrade their gear, interact with intriguing NPCs, and plan their next journey into the unknown. Beyond its practical functions, Ward 13 embodies the essence of Remnant, a world where every corner holds the promise of discovery and danger, and where the pursuit of survival meets the pursuit of knowledge and power. It's a place that beckons players to explore, experiment, and uncover the truths that lie beneath its worn and weathered surface.

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Having invaded our world by exploiting one of its vital weaknesses, all we know at the start of the game is that The Root must be stopped no matter the cost, and to understand how this can be achieved is why we'll go on a quest towards a place known as The Labyrinth, with no promise we'll be able to return intact. Needless to say, the desire to comprehend the evil entity's true nature is what will drive the narrative forward, pushing players to explore the unknown and confront the ever-present threat.

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Acting as the game's main method of locomotion, these massive pieces of rock known as World Stones can take us anywhere in an instant via good ol' fast travel. There are also checkpoint shards scattered across the world which we can interact in the same way, being the game's equivalent of the beloved 'bonfire' concept we're all familiar with.

Armed with sheer determination and newfound insights, we prepare to strike back knowing that victory lies within our grasp so long as we remain steadfast in our pursuit of freedom.

As we step beyond the protective walls of Ward 13, the image of what we once knew as 'our' world begins to fade before us in a terrifying reveal. Since humans began to vanish, our absence enabled the streets to crumble, creating an urban environment riddled with decay as Mother Nature started to reclaim its territory with a life-strangling force. From yawning craters dotting the cityscape to the unchecked proliferation of weeds, derelict buildings were left in ruins and the few shelters that somehow managed to remain standing were made into prime breeding grounds for ambushes, leaving the bustling sound of crowds to be replaced by the hauntingly deafening sound of silence.


To survive in this unforgiving place where the weak are culled and the strong hide in wait for an opportunity to strike, we'll have to be fierce and sharp in order to be able to push forward while being aware that every corner holds the potential for a deadly encounter. Now that we're completely exposed, each move we make is a gamble on not only our life but also the future of our planet, meaning that our journey will be ultimately defined by our ability to adapt, endure, and confront those who seek to annihilate what remains of humanity's legacy head-on without fear of losing ourselves in the process.


In the unforgiving world of Remnant, our adversaries are far from pushovers; they pose a formidable challenge that demands our utmost attention, leaving no room for complacency, as underestimating them can prove fatal. The stakes are high and for each time we fall, enemies rise again to oppose us, erasing hard-earned progress.

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On this perilous journey, the stakes are high, but our advantage lies in the fact that we no longer have any attachments left, no family that we can recall, no friends beyond those we just met, and therefore there's no need to ever hold back. As a matter of fact, our journey has only just begun, and the challenges that await ahead promise to be as ruthless as they are formidable. In the next section, we'll delve into the heart-pounding combat that awaits, as we confront The Root and their otherworldly ilk, forging our path to victory in this battle for survival to find out what kind of fate awaits us.

Arriving upon what I think has got to be the highlight of this review, Remnant's combat is, in a few words, a surreal fusion of two long-dreamt-of elements working in harmonious unison. If you've ever played a magic character in a Souls game and thought to yourself, "I need more of this in my life," then welcome aboard, for this is the very platform to fulfill your wet dreams of being an untouchable ranged demigod. Forget being within kissing range of enemies ever again, as now the only way they can ever hope to reach us is by braving a hail of bullets, adding layers to the satisfaction of going unbruised through encounters.


The Bigger They Are, The... Oh, Nevermind: Better Safe Than Sorry .

​Speaking of bullets, one early game tip worth noting is that, thankfully, saving rounds is pretty much pointless. With enemies constantly dropping ammo, fire conservation isn't something to be concerned about at any stage of the game. The only resource we really have to watch out for is stamina, as it determines our ability to dodge, sprint, and defend against enemy attacks. Understanding when to push your limits and when to retreat can be the difference-maker between victory and defeat in this unforgiving world.

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Featuring a sweet blend of melee and ranged methods of engagement, combat is the cornerstone of the game's allure. Over there, pretty much every skirmish evolves into a pulse-pounding ballet where gunplay and close-quarter combat are masterfully intertwined to create a dynamic and exhilarating experience made with unmatched flair. Whether you find solace in the close-range devastation of a shotgun and blade or revel in striking from afar with the superior accuracy of a sniper rifle, you can be assured that whatever your playstyle might be, there is definitely a class that has been cooked up specifically to cater to your combat inclinations.

When starting up the game, still fairly early on, players have the opportunity to choose from a few distinct class archetypes: Scrapper, Ex-Cultist, and Hunter. It is important to note that these initial choices serve more to guide you and not define your build. They mainly determine your starting equipment, and as nothing is set in stone, you have every possibility to revisit your decision later down the line if you so choose to walk a different path.

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While it may seem hasty to shower the game with praise, I can't help but admire its boldness in demanding players to forge synergies with their weaponry to conquer adversaries who won't simply stand idly watching us decimate them like brainless dummies, being able to return fire for a change of routine. Although this departure from conventional up-close combat style might initially arouse concerns of omission, further exploration of the game reveals that maintaining a considerable distance from certain individuals is by far the best invention in the history of inventions.


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Let it be written the ultimate test of our mettle are as tough as they come. Overcoming these behemoths demands a seriously cautious approach. It's in these moments that Remnant truly shines, pushing players to their limits and rewarding them with exhilarating battles that leave a lasting impression.

The spectacle of these open-field fights is elevated by the game's ability to showcase the action in all its glory, making each showdown an unforgettable and thrilling experience.

Contrary to common expectations, I am happy to report that attempting to kite the hulking brutes we often classify as bosses while gradually whittling them down remains as difficult a task in Remnant as it is in any other game. As a matter of fact, these advanced enemies, which are the epitome of any respectable Soulslike, have a tendency to be perceived as predictable, slow-moving oversized creatures, but in this particular case, they are the total opposite of that, appearing to have been meticulously designed with the sole intention of challenging our preconceived notions. Their movements are swift, precise, and their movesets are far from predictable, being packed with a devastating barrage of attacks that can quickly punish even a minor lapse in judgment.


Overall, I'd describe combat in Remnant as being exceptionally crisp, smooth, and responsive, offering players an engaging experience that rarely falters. It manages to capture the best aspects of Souls games, minimizing the drawbacks associated with such systems, containing all the ups and almost none of the downs of the regular combat we already know and love. Personally, I'd say its secret sauce lies in its ability to strike a balance between the player's power and the challenge of the adversaries, as it hits this equilibrium that ensures battles can remain thrilling even as you become more skilled and better equipped.


One surprising thing I learned quite late in the game is that localised damage is a thing. Apart from critical hits, which happen when you hit an enemy in their vital parts, you can also stop a rushing enemy by aiming at their legs, for example, effectively halting their advance. A neat feature I wasn't expecting to see work and that I wish I had learned about it a little sooner.

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Furthermore, it's worth mentioning that, while experienced players are unlikely to struggle constantly against most adversaries, this by no means signifies the game is a walk in the park — not even close. Perhaps I'm being a tad presumptuous in my assumptions, but when we have towering creatures, three to four times our size, charging at us with unfettered ferocity, it's difficult to label any encounter as being outright easy, ya know? With that being said, I can say first-hand that irrespective of your skill level, the game is more than capable of putting up a good fight that can inconvenience even the most adept of players.


As we discussed a moment ago, ridding the world of such troublesome folk is by no means an easy task, getting even harder when we consider they come in seemingly endless numbers. With that being said, to aid us in this perilous endeavor, we'll have to search far and wide for the various avenues for self-improvement the game promotes for us to be able to stand a chance against these formidable foes. Alright then, if improvement is what you seek, you've come to the right place, as we'll now be discussing the multiple ways "getting stronger" can be achieved in the game.


Nowhere To Hide From The Revolution: Steel Remains Superior .

Taking the form of a robust, multifaceted system, progression in Remnant feels distinct in the sense that common stats like strength, agility, et cetera are basically non-existent, meaning that, for us to improve, we actually have to do some considerable leg work. As you traverse the game's diverse landscapes, you'll come to acquire valuable crafting materials, which are essential for upgrading your weapons and armor. After stuffing up our pockets with more spare parts than we could ever need, skilled craftsmen NPCs found across the world can be interacted with to refine our gear, bolstering its damage output, armor ratings, and even unlocking powerful weapon mods.

Weapon mods are a vital component in Remnant, offering players the ability to tailor their firearms to their unique playstyles. While many mods can be swapped out as needed, it's essential to note that some weapon-specific mods are permanent fixtures. These permanent mods often define a weapon's identity, altering its capabilities significantly. Therefore, understanding the synergy between weapon mods and your chosen playstyle is crucial for success in the game.

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Whether you fight alone or in a group, finding yourself a specialty can be the difference maker in many situations, especially as your weapons begin to reach their full potential.

Another major aspect that is still related to progression is the acquisition of traits, which are essentially talents made to enhance various aspects of our character. These are acquired based on the actions and experiences of the player character and can be leveled up using knowledge points. For example, you won't be able to gain a trait that boosts melee damage if your preferred playstyle revolves around engaging enemies from a safe distance and vice versa. This dynamic system encourages players to diversify their gameplay styles and engage with different aspects of the game to unlock a wide range of unique abilities and enhancements for their character. 


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In the game, the axiom that raw firepower is the best stat is quickly dispelled. While heavy weaponry and massive damage output are undeniably appealing, they don't always translate into guaranteed success in the game's intense battles. Often, agility, speed, and a keen understanding of one's surroundings can be the more valuable assets.

The primary means to fine-tune aspects of our build, traits serve as the foundation for creating specialized character builds. For my specific case, the traits that worked best were the ones that increased the character action speed. Also, do note that since the game doesn't have a respeccing option, after you've made your decision, you're pretty much locked on with it for the rest of your playthrough.

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In my humble opinion, one of the most noteworthy aspects of this game is how it manages to weave exploration with the process of us growing stronger. Beyond being huge motivators on the progression front of gameplay, each of the elements mentioned above contributes greatly to fostering a heightened engagement with exploration, instilling a sense of curiosity that compels players to scour every nook and cranny more thoroughly, even if some locations might seem initially unpromising. Even though not every venture yields immediate rewards, the promise of character enhancement is more than enough to keep someone who can't bear missing out on some nasty upgrades biting the nails off their fingers. ​ 


Additionally, the knowledge gained from exploring the game's lore-rich world can unveil secrets that provide substantial advantages. Whether you're uncovering the history of the mysterious Root or deciphering cryptic messages, exploration isn't just about sightseeing; it's a fundamental aspect of empowering your character for the trials ahead. However, while the potential benefits are abundant, personal motivation and interest in knowing more about the game's world plays a significant role, and I must admit, I occasionally succumbed to laziness, choosing to skip certain lore entries. Nevertheless, the undeniable value of exploration in Remnant remains marred only by the outrageous design of the minimap, which frequently hampered my excitement to round another corner. 


Whoever came up with the idea of implementing a neon-minimap that conceals entire sections of itself depending on your altitude must have had a peculiar sense of game design. It is so bad that navigating through the game world becomes a frustrating ordeal as you grapple with deciphering areas you've already explored. Attempting to achieve completionist goals in such circumstances feels like an exercise in futility, fitting for those seeking the ultimate masochistic experience.

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On a similar note, consumables also fall into the category of intriguing elements that, for some unknown reason, I couldn't be bothered to delve into. These are essentially highly valuable items that can bestow temporary buffs upon us, enhancing our survivability, combat prowess, among other advantages that can significantly lower the odds of us eating dirt during encounters. Regrettably, due to my reluctance to use anything, I often found myself hoarding them out of fear that I might run out when I needed them most — a classic case of "saving for later" that, unsurprisingly, only led these consumables to gather virtual dust in my inventory.

Ranging from potions that increase our damage output all the way to bandages that can help us regain our footing, the benefits of using consumables are varied, highly situational and always extremely useful. You can tie a total of three of these items to a shortcut, ensuring prioritary access to the consumables of your choosing.

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Final Thoughts: Sometimes You Hug Trees, Sometimes You Slay 'Em .

As the ashes begin to settle, Remnant emerges like a phoenix in a blazing testament to the captivating effectiveness of an alliance between chaos and order. While it pays obvious homage to the giants in beloved franchises laid before it, it refuses to be a mere imitation, offering players a fresh perspective and a unique blend of intense combat, intricate world-building, and cooperative gameplay that is nothing short of remarkable. Suffice to say, when the precise gunplay of a shooting game meets the unforgiving framework of a Soulslike, the resulting product is nothing short of exceptional.


All in all, Remnant has proved to be a delightful surprise that not only met, but far exceeded my expectations. At first glance, it appeared to be another run-of-the-mill action-adventure title, but as I delved deeper into its intricacies, I discovered a true gem of a game. In conclusion, it stands as an exceptionally impressive title, even if its duration felt slightly shorter when compared to similar games — an understandable aspect considering the studio's scale. And while occasional issues did crop up, as they always do, they didn't come close to ruining my overall enjoyment of the game, solidifying its place as a standout experience that deserves recognition and praise. 

Clocking at only about 12 to 13 hours long, Remnant is undeniably short when compared to games of the Souls franchise. Even then, this does not mean that you're limited to a single playthrough. With its many game modes, the total playtime can last even longer than the longest of the Soulsgames.

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Before we get to call the curtains on this review, I must emphasize that although the game's campaign is relatively short, its longevity can extend far beyond a single playthrough. With a massive replayability due to its many game modes which I didn't explore much due to lazy, I'm willing to bet that if they're half as good as the main game, they're undoubtedly worth the try. With all the pieces now in their rightful place, I can confidently declare that Remnant: From The Ashes is a title I'm genuinely grateful not to have missed out on.

Looking ahead, I'm eager to see where the sequel takes this promising franchise. Despite the flaws, Remnant: From The Ashes has left a mostly positive impression on me, therefore I'd say I'm fairly enthusiastic about the potential improvements and innovations the sequel might bring. If the developers can refine the game's weaker aspects and expand on its strengths, I'll certainly be embarking on another journey through the ashes.

Positive symbol 1

Marvelously fluid as well as responsive gameplay, with everything moving precisely where we want.

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Although far from being the bestest ever, the artstyle was great enough to be passable.

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In terms of worldbuilding, there is plenty of lore to be found around areas in the form of notebooks and the like.

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Most fights were actually challenging and looked unusually cinematic when seen from a distance.

Negative symbol 1

Somewhat short, despite the many game modes it include to balance out how shortlived the main campaign is.

Negative symbol 2

Mediocre minimap that hides entire sections of itself depending on your position, making exploring some areas feel awful.

Negative symbol 3

No autopickup makes missing components fairly common, given how often they are dropped by enemies.

Negative symbol 4

Two-dimensional story that goes from point A to point Z as straight as it possibly could.

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