HIGH The imagined cultures of alien realms
LOW My frames too often
WTF There’s a rifle partly made of fingers
Remnant II was hyped up by many as “Dark Souls with guns” leading up to its release.
Following the formula set by its predecessor, it has many similarities to FromSoft’s genre-defining series, from a design philosophy imbuing a dark setting and punishing difficulty, down to small mechanical touches like bonfire-type save points that respawn enemies and recharge healing items.
So yes, it’s a little Dark Souls with guns — a fairly apt comparison and a strong selling point, but the thing that impressed me most about Remnant II was the setting.
Or, more accurately, settings.
The main plot sees players traveling from a post-apocalyptic Earth to alternate realities and shooting just about anything that moves on a quest to end a dimension-hopping evil. Each of the five worlds (two revisited from the previous iteration) is beautifully rendered and designed, offering more intrigue in any one than some titles have in an entire playthrough.
They all have their own unique enemies and mysteries as well, from the Victorian-era city inhabited by the Dran and infiltrated by the magical Fae (a section that gave me serious Bloodborne vibes) to the desert wasteland of N’Erud overrun by psychic zombies and deadly robots.
It’s not just Dark Souls with guns, but also a good amount of Doctor Who — only rather than solving problems with wry wit and cleverness, the player unleashes a fusillade of fire.
That intriguing premise is backed up by solid combat mechanics. From a third-person perspective, Players load up with a primary and secondary gun, a melee weapon, and a slew of consumables and spell attachments for fights devoid of static cover mechanics. Rather, players will need to sprint around and time their dodges (there’s the Souls influence again) to avoid becoming a smear on alien pavement.
Remnant II is a looter shooter, meaning players will be scrounging around for currency as they level up their character. Although unlike many other titles within the genre, it’s decidedly not a live service — no pay-for currency and no incremental algorithmically-generated variants. With the items and mods on offer, though, there’s still enough here for a build-obsessed whiz without necessarily alienating those who looking for a good ol’ run and gun.
This all may sound familiar because much of what I’ve described was already in the original Remnant: From the Ashes, but what this sequel does is take that foundation to the next level.
Locations feel more expansive and offer more verticality, whereas boss encounters require more on-the-fly problem-solving rather than just mowing down intermittent hordes. Algorithmically-generated maps have been fine-tuned, and the same location may feature different events or sections, encouraging multiple playthroughs. And then there are the character archetypes — essentially classes with special abilities that add real customization beyond weapon choice.
Players can also go solo, join up with friends or even posse up with strangers. Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on your perspective — there is zero player interaction, meaning no chat, no VOIP, and no gestures.
Another small gripe, especially in these early days after release, is that this is currently not a well-optimized game on PC. I’ve had massive frame drops while another friend has had so much graphical glitching that some areas nearly unplayable.
Those issues aside, while it might be convenient shorthand to describe Remnant II as Dark Souls with guns, it must also be said that it is its own genre-defining achievement — a co-op looter shooter that finds its own unique, otherworldly identity without succumbing to the worst instincts of the genre.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Disclosures: This game is developed by Gunfire Games and published by Gearbox Publishing. It is currently available on XBX/PS5/PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 30 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. 20 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, and Violence. The official description reads as follows: This is a third-person action game in which players assume the role of a human survivor in a post-apocalyptic, fantasy world. Players travel between four different realms to battle demonic forces, alien creatures, and corrupted mutants in frenetic combat. Players use pistols, rifles, shotguns, and melee weapons to kill enemy forces. Battles are highlighted by realistic gunfire, cries of pain, and frequent blood-splatter effects. Some attacks on enemy creatures can result in decapitation, with large blood-splatter. One quest item players must retrieve is a severed, bloody hand, which can be examined at close range. The game depicts a topless elven female character, with an exposed breast and nipple. The words “f*k,” “sht,” and “a*shole” are heard in the game.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. Audio cues for enemy presence and attacks do not have a visual component onscreen. This game is not fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.