Darksiders III may not live up to our expectations, but Gunfire Games has returned to the load and in what way! Remnant: From the Ashes, his new RPG action game, not only raises the bar of the studio, but it is also one of the best surprises that 2019 is leaving us. Discover with us what makes it so special.
It’s no secret that Dark Souls has been one of the most influential games of the last decade. I bet you are able to remember some recent game that mimics its design of scenarios and enemies, life and death mechanics, multiplayer, or even its cryptic narrative. So, first, we could say that Remnant: From the Ashes is “Dark Souls made shooter” and stay so hot. We would not go too far astray: we have equivalents to bonfires and Estus jars, we have fog walls, gray moral NPCs and many things like that, but it is enough to spend a few hours to realize that it is really more than that.
Not content to borrow a little from here and a pinch from there, Remnant From the Ashes manages to make something familiar, but at the same time, it feels fresh, original and addictive on its own merits. Gunfire Games moves away from the many awkward incursions of double-A productions in the genre of ‘souls-like’, hitting the spot with a delicious mix of shooter and RPG action game that, without inventing the wheel, offers us a very solid dynamics and with a universe that lives up to expectations. The final result? It is very likely that we not only complete the campaign but do not even shake our hands when it comes to replay a few more times in search of new material.
A world to discover and rediscover
Remnant: From the Ashes is founded on the premise of giving us a world that we want to explore more than once. To achieve this, he has several cards stored under his sleeve, but the key to everything lies in the procedural generation of the campaign. That is, every time we start a game, the game world will be generated with random variations of maps, bosses, loot, characters, and events, although all these elements are carefully pre-designed in advance and the backbone story is the same regardless of how to Look at the world we have played.
On paper, it may sound weird, but the truth is that it works really well. In fact, it is something that more or less already exists in many board games that build their scenarios from interchangeable boxes arranged randomly or semi-randomly. The idea is to provide an alternative to the classic NG + mode, which is limited to reviving the campaign with little or no variation from our previous round. Yes, here you can play again with a higher difficulty mode, but one of the main attractions of that experience is to discover something that you would not have seen last time: “I see that in this game I can get the monkey’s key, so I’ll do with the +3 assault rifle that I missed in the previous game “; “the other day I gave the guardian’s heart to the king of Rhom,
We could say that Remnant: From the Ashes is “ Dark Souls made a shooter ” and stay so
hot! Corpus swamp. Each of them has its own artistic direction, history, characters, enemies, loot, secrets, and bosses, although logically we will not be able to know absolutely everyone in one game. What we like most about this issue is the variety of scenarios and how different they feel from each other. For example, in Whom we find a gorge full of narrow bridges and small houses that will force us to take out our shotgun, but it also opens in a huge desert dotted with huts here and there, and among the sand bathed in the light of its black sun there is also a huge and dark underground dungeon, the Citadel, full of otherworldly technology and huge constructs.
All these areas are linked by the same narrative and missions, but they have very different artistic directions and the geometry of their scenarios has nothing to do with each other. The enemies and loot that we find in each site also serve different patterns. For example, the most basic Stems that roam the ruins of the Earth tend to dodge our bullets from side to side as they slowly approach us, while in Corsus we find zombies and dogs that crawl through the mud, running towards us from all the directions. All enemies have some movements and behaviors that we must learn to succeed, but the elites are even more complex.
Although all the scenarios are a great visual emergency, unfortunately, the sound section does not always accompany. There are very few subjects to enjoy, which is a shame because those present are very good. It would be nice to have had several pieces for the bosses and maybe one or two for each planet, even if it was merely environmental. During our adventures, we can often stop and listen to the environmental sounds of birds and grunts from our opponents, but we fail to finish feeling on stage. He would have liked a little more pampering in that regard. The dialogues and kinematics, meanwhile, run better luck thanks to an effort of dubbing into Spanish that, without fail, does its job.
We would have liked to see some more synergy between enemies and stage to put the icing on the cake. We will not find anything designed as conscientiously as the traps of Sen’s Fortress of the first Dark Souls, or the snipers that protect the Fort of the Canyon in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. But neither is it far from what we can expect from those and beware: we are talking about exemplary level design. Remnant has a bit of that but also has a bit of ‘rogue-like’ with its random conditions. It is a somewhat unusual combination, but surprisingly, unique and satisfying.
Role? Shots? Perfectly balanced, as everything should be
The character creation screen of Remnant: From the Ashes gives us a choice between three classes that respond to the archetypes of magician, tank, and specialist, but soon we will realize that they were nothing more than ‘presets’ of armor, weapons and Statistics to encourage us to choose some kind of specialization. What happens to the classes we have dropped at the beginning? Don’t worry: you can get everything they carried a little later.
The freedom by the flag. We have no restrictions on class, work, statistics or level to equip any weapon or piece of armor that we have found or manufactured. We can change equipment during a mission as many times as we want, directly from the inventory, and also edit the mods of our basic weapons at pleasure, without any penalty or prerequisite. Similarly, armor only affects our elemental resistances and weight, and infuses new set properties: “One piece of this set will give you this ability, three pieces will give you that ability but improved.”
There are no levels as such, but rather a range system that works in a similar way to the legend levels of Diablo 3 or those of Borderlands slap: they allow us to raise statistics indefinitely to improve, for example, our critical or consumption probability of running resistance What is even more interesting is that these advantages are unlocked by doing concrete actions in the game (such as defeating bosses or knowing certain NPCs), so being a complete specialist will reward us with new advantages and possible new character constructions.
This is a somewhat unusual combination, but surprisingly, unique and satisfying.
Another thing we liked a lot is that even if Remnant borrows ideas from the ‘loot shooter’ genre, it will never make us spend dead hours chasing better versions of weapons that we already have : Each object of the game is already predefined, as in Warframe, and can only be improved in the blacksmith to meet the demands of the world. This makes us look for materials all the time, but it prevents us from becoming obsessed or having the feeling of wasting time in obtaining a less good weapon than we expected.
All that flexibility makes us have fun testing every new boss weapon we get, every mod and ring, creating totally unique roles. In just 15 hours I have been able to see the power of a character in the melee, who becomes more powerful the more health he loses and steals life while hitting his opponents; of a sniper focused on distancing himself as much as possible to maximize the effectiveness of his shots and I’ve even seen someone capable of doing absurd damage from stealth. All these options are viable and fun because the game lends itself to make us experiment and manages to stay challenging whatever we do.
Spreading shrapnel alone or three bands
If you have read this far, you will undoubtedly realize that we liked the game a lot, and we would certainly recommend it to anyone who more or less convinces you what is on the table. But not everything is perfect, and Remnant: From the Ashes is no exception. We have very few complaints about the game, and almost all of them materialize in multiplayer mode, which at the time of writing these lines is exclusively cooperative and for a maximum of three people.
As with many other games, Remnant does not necessarily become easier as new players join our session. The difficulty scales with the number of allies, making more enemies appear and increasing the health of the bosses. It is perfectly viable to play alone, soaking up history or exploring at our own pace, as we can also form a team with friends or strangers and wipe out absolutely everything at a fast-paced pace. Most of the loot, including money and equipment (but not ammunition), is distributed at a ratio of 1: 1 among all players in the same session, so it all depends on our personal preferences.
The problem is that this section is limited to doing homework without giving us many options and comforts, something that frankly we know little. We need a text chat, an internal tool to manage our squad or inspect other players; and options to communicate as gestures or a dialing system such as Apex Legends. In addition, the friendly fire is activated and the game does not help us to identify our teammates on the screen, so we will often give them a shotgun (with reduced damage, though) thinking they are enemies. It would have been enough to put their names floating above their heads, and we do not rule out that these kinds of improvements come with future updates. These should also correct some technical problems, such as enemies that are stuck between the stage.
Remnant: From the Ashes mixes the best of the procedural generation of a rogue-like with the terrific level and narrative design of Dark Souls. The end result is a shooter with round RPG action that we can revisit everything we want while improving our characters to infinity and trying new ways to face their many and varied scenarios.
- The procedural campaign is a success
- The scenarios are varied and overflow personality
- Boss battles feel intense, different and rewarding
- Secrets, special dialogues, events … each planet offers a lot to do
- The progression and specialization of the character is very satisfactory
- Some technical problems pending polishing
- We miss some more control in multiplayer sessions
- Small inconveniences with the interface that affect combat and exploration