HIGH Still the best example of a shooter-soulslike hybrid ever.
LOW Noticeable glitches, but none gamebreaking.
WTF How is that boss targeting me from behind the boss fog?!
After more than three years of making waves among Souls fans and third-person shooter fans alike, Remnant: From the Ashes finally finds its way to the Nintendo Switch. As an admirer of the original release I was eager to see how it would feel on a handheld. Thankfully, this port is not lacking – it even comes fully equipped with both DLCs, Swamps of Corsus and Subject 2923, both originally released in 2020.
Fans of Remnant surely cherish its frantic pace, creative weapons, build-defining mods, and well-designed areas full of smart enemy placements. For those unfamiliar, this is an action RPG where we create a character, aim from an over-the-shoulder perspective, dodge with a Dark Souls-like roll, and progress in a post-apocalyptic world alongside human NPCs and up to two online players. Standing in our way are the random enemy spawns and fierce bosses guarding entrances to later areas.
After booting it up on the Switch and getting through the admittedly dreadful tutorial, I instantly felt a splash of familiarity and excitement. Even now in 2023, Remnant provides an itch that no other game can scratch — amidst an ocean of similar titles that taught us to respect the stamina bar, Remnant gives us a new spin where guns and futuristic weapons — not swords and shields — take center stage.
Still, that’s not to say that the stamina bar is less important here than it is elsewhere. On the contrary – even if attacking doesn’t cost stamina, the sheer ferocity of enemies makes its management so utterly important. The simple reason for this lies in the “strength in numbers” mantra that all enemies in Remnant live their lives by.
Waves and waves of enemies (they’re all biome-specific and spawn in groups of rangers and axe-wielding grunts alike) will keep on materializing out of nowhere and quickly dominating the landscape. Plus, they do enjoy surrounding the player, so every time we see a group running toward us, we should strive for dispatching them at a distance and not succumb to panicking. In other words: aim for their heads and cherish every critical hit displayed in bright red numbers. Luckily, the player won’t need to memorize their positions or even a world’s layout, as each instance is randomly generated and comes with a mini-map to aid navigation.
Of course, Remnant offers melee weapons as well, but spending precious upgrade materials on them is (mostly) a waste due to their slow attack speeds. No, successfully playing Remnant requires finding a special rhythm of speed and precision, and neither is more essential than the other. Adjusting to this tempo is intuitive, but it’s worth noting that this adventure is tough by design and it can feel unfair, especially early on. But, those who make it to the other end of the devilish tunnels in the first biome, will feel triumphant once the game opens up to reveal more captivating vistas.
On the DLC front, these two additions are worthy. Even if our progress made there has no impact on the main story, both of the DLCs offer exciting and varied ways to experience Remnant’s combat in earnest. A special shout-out goes to the amazingly fat-free survival mode which provides a heart-stomping, vertical slice-like take on the full game. In this mode, the player starts practically naked and needs to carve a path through each area in a randomized order, so no two sessions are the same. Of course, this also means that finding weapons, traits or consumables is up to lucky a roll of the dice as well – which is completely fine. Oh yeah, there’s also a looming timer in the top left corner, counting down the seconds ’till the next increase in difficulty. Combine that with the unrelenting pace of the game, and the result is a truly dynamic mode that produces memorable moments with each new instance!
On a more technical front, Remnant on the Switch isn’t the smoothest thing out there, with enemies often clipping through geometry, bullets sometimes not registering hits, and bosses that tend to stand perfectly still while their AI figures out what to do next. Other nitpicks stem from the quality-of-life viewpoint. For example, Elden Ring proved that stamina shouldn’t drain outside of combat, so I’d love it if something like that was implemented in this new port as well. I was also wishing that there was a way to remove the two long loading screens that crop up every time we try to purchase items.
With all that said, I again recommend Remnant: From the Ashes to any Souls or action game fan. Even after the last few years and the transfer to a handheld platform, it remains an excellent time, and getting hooked on it is dangerously easy.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
— Konstantin Koteski
Disclosures: This game is developed by Gunfire Games and published by Perfect World Entertainment. It is currently available on XBO/X/S, PS4/5, Switch and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on a Switch Lite. Approximately 15 hours of play were devoted to the story, and the game was completed. Around 2 hours were spent in a team with 1-2 other online players.
Parents: This game has received an “M” rating by ESRB, and contains Blood, Strong Language and Violence. The official rating summary reads: “This is an action game in which players assume the role of a hero in a post-apocalyptic world. From a third-person perspective, players explore different landscapes and battle demonic creatures, mutants, and other human survivors in frenetic combat. Players use pistols, rifles, lasers blasters, and melee weapons (e.g., hatchets, swords, spears) to kill enemies. Battles are accompanied by realistic gunfire, large explosions, and screams of pain. Enemies emit large spurts of blood when shot and killed; a handful of sequences depict bodies lying in pools of blood. The words “f**k” and “sh*t” are heard in the game.”
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does offer subtitles, but they are not able to be resized or altered. As for sound, due to the strange way that enemies suddenly appear, I’m afraid that audio is quite important. The limited field of view often demands that players listen for freshly-spawned adversaries based solely on sound cues. The appearance of a mini-boss is often not accompanied by enough visual cues, especially if the enemy spawns offscreen, or while the player aims elsewhere. Obviously, such situations are a lot more manageable when playing co-op, but solo players might feel a tad overwhelmed or even outgunned. This game is not fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: This game offers a controller diagram, but the control scheme is not able to be remapped. Attacking is done via the bumper buttons, pressing the movement stick will prompt the character to run, and the face buttons are used for dodging, reloading, etc. However, playing it on the Switch Lite, I had to re-adjust the sensitivity of the sticks since the default setting simply didn’t feel right.
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