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Remnant: From the Ashes was a bit of a surprize hit, blending Soulslike bonfire checkpoint progression with the dopamine hits of Destiny 2’s gun-based damage numbers, it hit the mainstream in a way even the team who made it likely didn’t anticipate. Now it’s back with a sequel, ditching the subtitle for a number and giving players even more customization options before letting them loose into a world filled with alien creatures to shoot and slice.

The demo I play gives me access to three of the archetypes: the Challenger, the Handler, and the Gunslinger. The Challenger comes kitted out in bulky armor made from scrap metal, has a fully automatic shotgun that fires like a sneezing dragon, and has a huge, serrated sword strapped to his back. The Handler comes with an automatic SMG and a dog companion, and the Gunslinger is kitted out with a long rifle and a six-shooter.

I only get to see one level – a dungeon on a floating island – but I get to play with all three of these archetypes.

The first one that grabs me is the Challenger. It’s the sword. I’m a sucker for a big sword. Each archetype comes with its own abilities and the Challenger’s is a stomp that sends out a cone of damage in front of him – useful for when you’re being swarmed. Then there’s the archetype perk – the Challenger’s is Die Hard, which makes them invulnerable for a few seconds when they take a shot that would otherwise be lethal.

Level the Challenger up and you can swap out the stomp for a Juggernaut or Rampage ability to further specialize into your own playstyle. The other classes come with similar choices.

The Challenger's sword sure is cool in Remnant 2, but don't count the other archetypes out.

The Challenger's sword sure is cool in Remnant 2, but don't count the other archetypes out.

While I didn’t get to check it out, you can also create hybrid archetypes and mix, for example, Challenger with the Gunslinger, later on in the game.

Outside of these class changes, the biggest new tweak that stands out is contextual jumps. Find yourself near a small ledge or a gap and you can leap across, adding more verticality and agility to the level design. It’s a big boon for a game built around co-op, giving you plenty of flanking opportunities when your pals are in trouble.

When I finally reach the boss, I completely rinse it initially. Until it charges up, ready to do some big attack, before slamming down and destroying the ground beneath my feet, causing me to fall to my death. Bummer.

I try again as the Handler, who can send out her dog – yes, you can pet it – to attack enemies and use her mutt to revive herself when she’s down. She’s the perfect archetype for a solo player.

This is the boss we rinsed in Remnant 2, but we did it solo. Cowards. 

This is the boss we rinsed in Remnant 2, but we did it solo. Cowards. 

While the Handler seems like a support class, I beam the boss creature with her SMG and jump to another platform when it charges up. Rinse and repeat a few times and it’s down within minutes – don’t overlook the Handler, she rules.

Next up is the Gunslinger, who comes with a paint-and-pull target ability, where you can aimbot anything in front of you. Do it on a solo target and it stacks the damage you’d do for multiple targets and gives them a big hit. It also reloads your weapons and gives you infinite reserve ammo for a few seconds, allowing you to go fully ham.

The Gunslinger is the one I found most fun to play out of the three archetypes shown so far, and I can already see some cool ways that you could mix and match the classes to create something game-breakingly good.

Remnant 2 seems like a solid refinement of what made the first game so successful. More interesting biomes, more options to specialize, and smoother movement made playing the same level three times feel like a breeze. We’ll hopefully find out more about the other archetypes coming in the lead-up to the launch.