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Summer Game Fest 2 Preview: Remnant 2 Is A Solid Action RPG With A Mean Streak

Jason Fanelli Updated: Posted:
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Remnant: From The Ashes made a significant splash when it launched in 2018, infusing the action-RPG genre with some extra firepower. The unique take on the whole "Soulsborne" idea was welcomed by fans and critics alike, with its procedurally-generated areas and unique third-person shooter spin on the format. Remnant 2 is building off all of that, from the addition of new procedural elements to a renewed focus on gunplay, and based on my hands-on time with it at Summer Game Fest, I reckon Gunfire Games is on the right track. 

For this demo, I selected the Challenger archetype, which is a big ol' boy with heavy armor, big guns, and a sweeping sword swing when things get too close. He seems to fit my playstyle – punch, kick, or shoot things until they die – perfectly, as his normal weapons do good damage and his melee swing can beat most enemies in one strike. 

For this demo I'm in a lush green forest, with multiple branching paths populated by creepy crawlies. These massive bug-looking enemies walk like mantises, but they have glowing orange areas all throughout their bodies. They are deceptively strong too, especially when they're in groups, and before long I found myself having to retreat and heal up. A few times they were able to take me down, but luckily for the demo respawning just put me right back where I was. 

The combat scheme here in Remnant 2 is what borrows most from the Dark Souls and the Bloodbornes of the world, which encourages me to be picky with my shots and roll or dodge out of the way plentifully. There is a rhythm to fighting these enemies, and once you pick up on it the game becomes a lot easier to navigate. That said, even the most nimble fighters can still get overrun, so don't get too focused on one aspect of battle over another. 

Perhaps even more annoying were the Elites, which would randomly spawn into areas and attack me on sight. These hooded creatures can dodge my gunfire at will, while also shooting back at me with arrows that always seem to find their mark, even when I'm dodging myself. It's as though they know when I'm going to hit the dodge button and simply wait until my character stops moving before unloading. I liked the challenge they offered, especially if their knowledge of timing was an intentional choice, as it makes me have to switch up my thinking whenever I approach one of them. 

Remnant 2

The world I was traveling through was beautiful, with each path being filled with verdant greenery and other flora and fauna. The procedural mapping was never fully interesting, as it just gave me a bunch of winding roads to follow most of the time, but when it did throw me a curveball, it was genuinely exciting. 

In one instance I found a fae or faerie-like creature, who proceeded to ask me multiple hypothetical and philosophical questions as if she was speaking directly to me instead of my characters. Eventually, after answering enough questions, I unlocked a new trait based on those answers that I could assign skill points to for the rest of the game. It's a neat way to give more customization options to the player without forcing them to cycle through menus, and I'm hoping there are more of those as the game progresses. 

Remnant 2 is leaning in on the procedural generation aspect of the original game, and so far it seems to be working. I like the idea of never knowing what to expect when I turn a corner, even in a game I've played before, and there's so much that this game is iterating on, it's exciting to think about what could come next. Furthermore, this was a single-player demo and I had a good amount of fun, so I can only imagine how things will play out once I have two friends playing with me thanks to its three-player co-op functionality. Admittedly, Remnant 2 is not a game I would have focused on before Summer Game Fest, but now having checked it out for myself, it's going to be on my radar from the day it launches. 


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Jason Fanelli

Jason Fanelli is a tried-and-true Philadelphian, having lived in Delaware County for his entire life. He’s a veteran of the games industry, covering it for over a decade with bylines on The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, IGN, and more. He currently hosts the Cheesesteaks and Controllers podcast on iHeartRadio for Fox Sports Radio in Philadelphia.