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Remnant 2 review: a world without purpose

Remnant 2 is a solid sequel that just falls short of the mark in several areas

Remnant 2 had a bad first impression. A tedious tutorial/narrative sequence to kick things off that did nothing but make me hate the characters and want to skip cutscenes from thereon out eventually gave way to the game’s first proper world, where things started to pick up – briefly.

The world design is great. Every main area knows how to grab you and surround you in a dense, oppressive atmosphere, with each world you travel to giving you new environmental problems to worry about. Yaesha’s dense dying flora hides enemies in plain sight, N’Erud’s open plains and deadly fog prevent you from seeing what’s up ahead, and Losomn mixes heavily guarded luxurious environments with dank and infested sewers.

However, the enemy encounters that fill each world aren’t much worth shouting about. It doesn’t take long for an area to show you all the enemies it has to offer and it rarely combines them in challenging ways. I would often start to go numb as I wandered around having by-the-numbers fights that were over in a flash.

remnant 2 sword

Thankfully, side areas are plentiful and regularly break up the monotony of pushing through waves of bland enemies. The side areas still contain sections like that, but usually, the main focus is on some other kind of puzzle or challenge.

For the most part, the puzzles are worth your time. That Lament dial puzzle can absolutely shove it, but that’s an outlier in an otherwise great selection of head-scratchers. Plus, if you want to unlock some of the secret classes, you’re going to have to really put your brain to work.

It’s a shame that they’re almost all optional, really. Getting a bunch of new rings is nice, but putting something more thought-provoking on the main path could’ve helped spice things up a bit.

Character building is freeform, with all the traits, classes, gear, and accessories the game throws at you from the word go, there’s great potential to refine builds to your taste. Plus, if you get good at it, you can become a min-maxed god of destruction with all the powers you can wield. Except, I never felt I needed to.

Remnant 2

Even after bumping the difficulty up, I rarely struggled against the regular enemies, and even most bosses didn’t take me more than a few attempts. In the early game, I gathered some rings and put on what I liked the sound of, then stuck with that for most of the story. Hell, I didn’t even change from my class’ default weapons until about halfway through the game – they were just so good I could keep upgrading them.

While the bosses were easier than I’d like, they were still the best part of the game – as they often are in Souls-inspired titles. Right from the first, each boss is challenging in a different way, be it overwhelming you with numbers, playing with the game’s status conditions, or simply coming at you with excessive power.

My favorite boss was in The Labyrinth, where massive concrete blocks with glowing targets thumped around narrow paths, forcing you to plan very far ahead to hit all of the targets without getting crushed. Granted, I died more to my character’s refusal to jump than the actual blocks, but I still came away satisfied with a unique encounter.

Remnant 2 Root Nexus boss

That’s the problem with Remnant 2, though, even thinking back on the stuff I enjoyed, there’s an asterisk next to it of something that annoyed me. The worlds are atmospheric, but traversing them is dull; the puzzles are well thought out, but they’re mostly optional; character building is freeform, but you don’t need to pay it much thought; there’s a story, but it’s so bland it’s barely worth mentioning.

It leaves me in a position where I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. I don’t actively hate it, and there are plenty of worse games that have come out this year, but “better than Forspoken” isn’t exactly a glowing compliment. There is something worthwhile in Remnant 2, but every time I started feeling it, something else would tick me off and snatch that feeling away.

Score: 6/10

Version tested: PC (Steam)

  • Story and narrative: 4/10
  • Visuals: 8/10
  • Audio and music: 7/10
  • Mechanics and systems: 5/10
  • Technical performance: 7/10

Remnant 2 technical breakdown

I had minimal issues with Remnant 2 on PC. Running the game on Ultra was mostly smooth, although it did occasionally spike in memory consumption, leading to major stuttering. It never lasted more than ten seconds, but it was still frustrating.

I encountered a couple of strange bugs with enemies too. In one of Yaesha’s side areas, I fought a heavily-armored enemy that occasionally uses its heart as a projectile – shoot the heart and it dies. However, one time I shot the heart, its health reached zero and it didn’t die. This immortal enemy then chased me around the level for another minute or so before popping out of existence.

It’s funny in hindsight, but definitely not intended behavior.