I never expected to enjoy Remnant 2. I've never been a fan of soulslike games and lack the skills to succeed at shooters. Despite the label of "Dark Souls with guns," I've become addicted to Remnant 2 and can't stop playing it. It is so much more than this comparison makes it out to be, with numerous and diverse worlds, unique archetypes, engaging combat, and—my favorite part—challenging puzzles. While there are a few sore spots for me, Remnant 2 has earned its place as one of my favorite games.
I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the look of Remnant 2 based on the trailers, but once I was in-game, my feelings changed. I was thrilled to explore each world and its unique features. Exploring Losomn and going between the realms of the Fae and the cities and sewers of the Dran showed two worlds fused, and I searched every inch of every area. Yaesha, a realm of mystery and nature, drew me in with its beautiful but alien landscapes. I was equally amazed by The Labyrinth's strangeness and the barren wastes of N'Erud.
What made each world feel alive, despite their decayed, dreary, empty atmospheres, was the attention to detail and intertwined lore within all of them. Every area is littered with secrets and tiny bits of lore that unveiled what happened before and after the Root showed up. Discovering a random citizen about to be burned alive or getting yanked into the sewer by a giant rat monster made each adventure feel special.
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Remnant 2 combines soulslike movement and mechanics with an over-the-shoulder shooter, but it goes far beyond that. It adds various classes with unique skills, a trait system, weapon modifications, and equipment to round out the RPG experience. At first, I played around with my build, but then I created a flaming glass cannon that ran from fights and sniped enemies from afar. My Hunter Alchemist could also unleash a barrage of bullets from her sidearm for those who got up close.
Enemy variety was satisfying, and the bosses were challenging but fair. Each time I died, I asked myself what I did wrong and how could I improve. Sometimes it meant altering my build slightly. Sometimes, it meant changing my approach; and sometimes, it simply meant throwing myself at the brick wall until it broke. The only time I felt cheated was during fights and encounters—such as the Labyrinth Sentinel and Chimney—where instant kill moves meant a single mistake meant starting the whole fight over.
The puzzles in Remnant 2 are by far my favorite part. I've always loved solving puzzles since I first picked up The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Remnant 2's puzzles are a strong reminder of those sequences. With the game's procedurally generated worlds, everyone experiences a different order of encounters, requiring additional playthroughs to see them all. I enjoyed each world, but Losomn was my favorite due to its interconnected high fantasy mirrored palaces and gothic cities, and I spent the most time here.
Moving on to Yaesha, the Labyrinth, N'Erud, and beyond kept me eagle-eyed for more puzzles and quests. I fretted over my decisions and examined every item I picked up closely. I was constantly surprised by the variety of puzzles I encountered, and the solutions ranged from obvious to me running in circles. Even the most complex puzzles didn't frustrate me. Instead, I felt relief and pride when I figured out how to proceed.
Remnant 2's narrative leaves me in a weird place. While the main story didn't appeal to me as much, I viewed it more as a means to an end, that end being able to explore the various worlds and discover what happened there. The story of how my character enters the plot, the quest to save Clementine, and the game's ending all fell flat for me. However, I consider this only part of the narrative.
The real story for me was how the game's central story affected the various worlds and the small bubbles they occupied. If the main plot was the tracks and the side stories the train, I was all aboard that train throughout my playthrough. I read through every book I found and tried to replicate every outcome of decisions I could to learn everything about Losomn, Yaesha, and N'Erud. The strange and intricately designed story of a world and its inhabitants kept me on the edge of my seat between hordes of enemies. I am hoping for DLC to add even more worlds to continue my enjoyment.
Verdict - Remnant 2 is the perfect sequel
Remnant 2 takes what made Remnant: From the Ashes and made it better. The gunplay feels great, the worlds are sprawling but not too massive, and the puzzles and quests had just the right amount of challenge. While I didn't care for the main campaign, experiencing the interwoven stories and rerolling my campaign to discover everything each world offered was an absolute blast. I also enjoyed discovering a build that worked for me and experimenting with different combinations to change up my playstyle. Remnant 2 was not something I expected to enjoy due to its genre, but I was pleasantly surprised when this wasn't the case.