Remnant II PS5 Review. A follow-up to a quiet hit in the saturated action-RPG space, Remnant II seeks to clean up its post-apocalyptic world in order to make it more hospitable to players. Find out if it succeeds in PlayStation Universe’s review for PS5.
Remnant II Review (PS5) – Lofty Ambitions Make For A Memorable Action-RPG
Soulslike shooter Remnant: From the Ashes caused just enough of a stir to find its way into the hearts of a good handful of the notoriously picky action RPG fandom, so Gunfire Games‘ successor comes with a bit of expectation and promise.
What you get out of Remnant II doesn’t entirely depend on how you felt about From the Ashes, but I do believe it helps the sequel impress more if you come in cold or indifferent to the original. This is the personification of a sequel being ‘bigger, brasher, more hardcore than before’.
Set some time after the events of the first game, Remnant II’s post-apocalyptic world has become even more infested with the thorny creatures known as The Root, and as a result, the dangers of traveling have become heightened. Lucky for you, it’s your job to mop up the terrible things that exist in this world.
Remnant II brings two flexes to the party (inherited from its predecessor. It’s a Soulslike with guns, and its structure is somewhat procedural. The latter of these is the most interesting aspect of Remnant II because it means your playthough can go in an entirely different direction to someone else’s, and it means seeing everything in a single run is basically impossible. It lends the game an intimidating, exciting air that many other attempts to capture the FromSoftware magic have floundered at.
That wouldn’t matter much if Remnant II lacked in the gameplay department. While not spectacular, its class system and use of guns in combat blend together nicely to offer genuinely varied playstyles to go alongside a varied playthrough experience. It boils down to a lot of shooting and a little bit of melee combat, but the enemy and environment variety make sure it keeps it somewhat fresh.
Hey, Good Looking
I played as a Gunslinger (it’s a genre-hopping post-apocalyptic tale, how could I not do a Roland role-play?) and it was a class that worked exactly as I hoped it would, with a nice twist or two introduced via the upgrade system. During my early journey, I found myself thrust into a futuristic alien world, a barren dust bowl of a world, and a very loving homage to Yharnam in Losomn. It may not always be cohesive, but Remnant II’s world-hopping adventures threw up plenty of welcome surprises along the way.
Its use of Unreal Engine 5’s tools (not all of them) helps the game punch above its weight as a visual spectacle. From lush forests and post-apocalyptic ruins to alien environments and hellish Gothic architecture, Remnant II continuously brings the goods to the presentation department. It does, however, make its technical shortcomings a bit more glaring when they pop up. Not that they are the true problem with Remnant II.
Have you ever stared at a picture knowing there’s something off about it but you almost drive yourself mad trying to figure out what it is? Remnant II had that effect on me for a long time. It’s rough around the edges in a way that isn’t readily visible. I think the closest I can get to a reason is the procedural nature of the game robs Remnant II of something ‘traditional” in terms of progression and cohesion. It feels personal but at a cost.
I can give or take the sprawling, aggressive level design. On the one hand, it’s great for discovering little secrets in the world, but on the other hand, there’s very little in the way of signposting and a very firm attitude of ‘figure it out, dingus’ to it. As I said, it has its appeal, but the ambiguity will not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Co-op does at least offer a bit of warmth in the uncaring wastes and alien spaces. The game works damn well with a posse, and unfortunately serves to make the solo experience feel that bit less enjoyable. Navigating the dizzying maps and facing the brutal foes is a lot easier when there’s a chance someone else will get the snot kicked out of them before you do.
Truth is, Remnant II doesn’t do all that much wrong. It’s clearly better than its predecessor, and I fully endorse it as one of the better non-From Software action RPGs out there. Yet the ways it doesn’t work for me soured my experience a bit. It’s a bunch of minuscule issues really, and I’m quick to advocate for games that show ambition with a side order of shortcomings. Discussions with others who have played it have been a revelation as they all have differing opinions and experiences on the game, but none denied the ambition of Gunfire Games with this sequel. For that alone I think any fans of the action RPG genre would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t get their mitts on Remnant II.