Remnant 2 offers surprising twists and turns in a mostly unseen, very enjoyable way

In the 80s and 90s, every other game was a platformer. Now it seems like you’re either a roguelite or a souls-like.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So many great games fall into these categories, it often feels like we’re drowning in a sea of riches.

Now you can add another to the pile with a game that has a real shot of being a Game of the Year contender in what is, undoubtedly, the most competitive year I’ve seen since the early 2000s.

Remnant 2 hasn’t just come from nowhere. Sequel to cult hit: From the Ashes, it’s got the backing of Gearbox and is made by the brilliant Gunfire Games, best known for Darksiders. Yet it’s a release that has managed to stealthily drop in what is, I guess, the quietest month this year.

It’s more than just your conventional Souls-like that gives off a Bloodbourne vibe, too. Remnant 2 actually surprised me from the off with this post-apocalyptic, zombie esque setting. For someone who’d read or watched very little of the game coming in, and based on the way the game throws hordes at you in a Left 4 Dead style, I was expecting a very different game from the one I ended up with.

But when I was suddenly transported to this Victorian environment, spiked gates, rundown buildings, people strapped to their beds and enemies attacking me with pitchforks and oversized rats, the game completely spun my head. It’s Remnant 2’s ability to magically transport you between environments, freshening up its scenarios, enemy types and weapons that is so distinctly captivating.

And the game really presents its content in easily digestible ways with regular checkpoints, the option to bounce back to the safety of your post-apocalyptic haven when you want and to experiment with different upgrades in order to keep yourself ahead of the game.

Even the way each level is carefully mapped out and the way it blurs the fantastical with gritty realism, Remnant 2 is super smart and keeps you hooked every step of the way.

A big part of that is the expert gunplay, with weapon handling feeling very fast and fluid, a refreshing change of pace in a Souls-like, which is often more slow and methodical. Often you’re in somewhat close-quarters to your enemy, but in Remnant 2 you could be firing at an enemy sniping you from a rooftop or from around a corner. It changes your strategies accordingly.

It certainly makes boss battles interesting, too. Some of which, I have to say, I found kind of cheap with the amount of damage they inflict and the frequency of attacks. Even the durability. There’s even some insta-kill attacks which can take your health down in one hit and you’re defenseless to stop it. Which is super frustrating.

But you will eventually make it through, just like every Souls-like, with added patience. Even if you end up cursing and groaning every step of the way.

I guess another criticism I could lobby here is that sometimes abilities you build up and level initially don’t make a huge amount of difference, but as you build up over the course of the game the picture does become more clear and you feel better prepared for challenges ahead.

But of course the big pickup point between this and most other Souls-likes is the co-operative element. Teaming up as a group of three to gun down enemies, tackle bosses and brave the challenges together is definitely a highlight and in some cases, where mobs are all over you and bosses won’t die, you’ll be glad of the help.

The game even feels a bit designed for that multiplayer experience. Even when you’re diving into the game proper and exploring its initial tutorial – which is really well thought out and developed, by the way – it prompts to say people can’t join your game until it’s finished. It’s a great way to ensure you see as much of the game as possible and can keep you sustained through to end game and all future content.

That said, progress is only saved for the host and there is no cross-play, both of which are disappointing omissions but not entirely surprising.

Remnant 2 loves you to experiment, between its various character classes, upgrades and enhancements. The playstyle genuinely feels quite different whichever route you take, as you can have a melee-focused character if you so wish, and working out which weapons to evolve and what to craft is a big part of the experience as well as the story plays out between worlds.

And to really speak to the further depth of the game, outside of the initial classes you can eventually upgrade to sub-classes and customise even further.

You can add mutators to weapons to really mix up the way you play and even throw in unique abilities that chip away at enemy health while you try to catch a breather. You’ll find your health units deplete super fast and you move so slowly when bandaging or using powerups that sometimes you’ll find you didn’t even use them because you got interrupted, so have to try and find another safe space to try again.

Remnant 2 is a Souls-like on steroids, honestly, which is where having allies can help as you can be picked up when downed, similar to the aforementioned Left 4 Dead. But some of the platforming sections, leaping between areas and getting caught in corners more often than you’d like definitely means you’ll be dying plenty and not often in ways you’d expect.

Which is why, I think, it’s unfair to just characterise this as a Souls-Like. In many respects, it’s like when you put Jedi Survivor in the same category – there’s definitely similarties – but you could also liken Remnant 2 to The Division and even Gears of War. This could be the game that finally gets you into the genre because it’s so widely reaching and so well spread that it taps into many games you know and love.

My only other main criticisms are playing on PS5 right now has resulted in at least ten seperate lockups that crash the game and this often happens when moving between areas. But by the time I’ve reported, reloaded and got back to the game, I’m right where I need to be and don’t even need to see a menu screen. So it’s a minor frustration, at best.

The game does also have some iffy performance at times, particularly when the action gets a bit hectic on screen. The slowdown is noticeable but never enough to detract too much from the experience.

All this to say, Remnant 2 is a massive surprise for me. I never played From the Ashes but heard some good things from those did. Looking into it more, it seems Gunfire have done a magnificent job addressing issues people had with the first game, providing a more complete, customisable, varied experience that has a healthy, well-proportioned amount of content, set up for a long term future.

As if we needed another fantastic game in this year of absolutely fantastic games, but Remnant 2, minor grievances aside, has a great gameplay loop and is right up there with the years’ best so far.


Remnant 2 takes the typical Souls-like formula, blends it with many other fantastic games, while also giving you a surprisingly deep, customisable experience that matches a dynamic playstyle with its ever-evolving environments. Throw in some solid co-op, epic battles, and an intriguing story that blends gritty post-apocalyptic warfare with high fantasy and you have something really quite special. PS5 performance issues, cheap boss tactics and slow-burning ability growth aside, Remnant 2 is the game you probably weren’t planning to play this year but one you absolutely must. 


+ Surprising customisation, crafting, and upgrading potential in the game that goes far and deep
+ Really satisfying gunplay and wider combat
+ A well engineered co-op experience
+ Levels are well mapped out and content stays fresh through secrets and unique discoveries
+ A great blending of genres and envriroments to provide an intriguing setting and story


– Some PS5 performance issues through lockups and slowdown
– Several bosses are super cheap and frustrating
– Skilling up takes a while to kick in and so players might struggle early on

Remnant 2 is out now on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation

Code Kindly Provided by Gearbox and Diva for review purposes

Played on PS5

About the author

Sam Diglett

Sam grew up with a PS2, spending hours howling at the moon in Okami and giving students wedgies in Bully. Fortunately, she also likes Pokemon because otherwise life could have been quite annoying for her.
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