Remnant 2 is Shaping Up to Be a Worthy Successor | Summer Game Fest Hands-On Impressions

The follow up the game deserves.

During Summer Game Fest Play Days, I sat down with Remnant II and played a decent chunk of the game. Immediately I remembered why I fell in love with Remnant: From The Ashes, a great game with a terrible name.

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Remnant 2 Continues the Original’s Charm

Image via Gunfire Games

Remnant II features everything you know from the first game. Its procedurally generated seeds for campaigns have been overhauled and expanded. The sequel includes new plotlines that you may or may not see depending on your generated campaign, offering a further incentive to play with friends or run a new character.

The game leans in on specific builds, offering new archetypes like the Hunter, focusing on rifles and critical hits. You can also play a dedicated support character to offer to heal your team or simply keep yourself alive in tough fights. The Handler allows you to have a very good doggo alongside you for the ride, and its perks and abilities revolve around increasing what your companion can do.

You will also be able to multiclass into a second archetype as you level up, which can create interesting and unique progression opportunities. While I didn’t have the option to multiclass in my demo, it seems to push the narrative of player freedom further.

This is only scratching the surface of what Remnant II offers, though. Remnant II also focuses on increasing player choice in their build style. New relics shards allow you to modify gear even further with randomly dropped loot. For instance, during my play sessions, I found a shard that I equipped onto my armor to reduce stamina cost. This improved rolling and sprinting during combat, useful during a major boss fight.

My demo session took place in Yaesha, which fans of the first game will remember. This time around, The Rot has changed and warped this location. Snake-like creatures wrapped around the trees and descended to attack. The biggest change of pace in each level was the variety of enemies that would attack from high above or down below. Remnant II is about looking up as much as it is about looking in front of you.

Image via Gunfire Games

Enemies patrol areas, are alerted when something is attacked, and generally feel more responsive to the situation. When of the biggest things fans wanted, and is happening in Remnant II, is that sprinting no longer takes stamina when you are out of combat. Now you can explore and get to the next combat sequence even faster.

Combat feels as fluid as ever, with a wide array of unique weapons, powerful mods, and gruesome melee combat. I equipped my sniper rifle with explosive caltrops, allowing it to detonate an AOE effect that slowed and damaged enemies, making them vulnerable to my critical hits. It kept my foes from barreling towards me full speed long enough to get some long-range shots on them before switching to my pistol and finishing them off.

Back at The Ward, which is still the central hub in Remnant II, players will encounter familiar NPCs and other quest-givers. This time around, your shopkeepers don’t stand static in one place but roam around their area, making these characters feel more alive and less like their only job is to serve the player.

You still upgrade your weapons with currency and Relic parts; the guns still change shape and form too. Attaching the caltrops to my sniper rifle visually enhanced the gun, giving it sharp parts of bolted-on metal that made it feel cobbled together.

Returning back to the action is even easier now; you can quickly load back into your most recent checkpoint straight from the crystal at The Ward, making it quicker than ever.

Image Via Gunfire Games

My last section of the demo had me looking for a key inside a mini-boss hub. The key would unlock a door to the final encounter. Finding the key consisted of mowing down enemies and looting chests scattered across the interior of destroyed ancient ruins. This was much easier to do, thanks to the new 3D mini-map that shows clearly marked items when they re in your vicinity. This creates fewer problems for navigating areas and cuts down a lot of the backtracking Remnant: From The Ashes had.

The demo culminated in a boss fight that killed me twice—a giant hulking creature made of tree bark with roots for arms. The arena was filled with deep water, a new terrain found in Remnant II. As you wade through the water, it impedes your sprint and dodge ability. This created friction during that fight that had me on the edge of my seat. Rolling away from the boss’s attacks while trying to avoid falling into the water created tension due to the environmental design of Remnant II.

The boss would shoot tentacles from the ground that needed to be removed; otherwise, you would have to deal with their crushing and long-reach blows.

The dev guiding me through my sessions told me they wanted to reduce the number of enemies during a boss fight and make them feel more meaningful in the moment-to-moment action of the conflict. Instead of dealing with endless waves of mobs, these tentacles served the same role and felt more ingrained into the setpiece the team at Gunfire Games had designed.

You quickly start to see how the systems in Remnant II blend together in an intricate web. From the archetype perks to weapon mods, Remnant II is a bigger, bolder, and more complex sequel. It’s the sequel I never thought the first game would get, but it’s shaping to be a worthy successor.

Remnant II launches on July 25 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

We have plenty of other impressions from Summer Game Fest. Check out our Mortal Kombat 1 hands-on or our Sonic Superstars demo experience.

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Image of Jesse Vitelli
Jesse Vitelli
Jesse loves most games, but he really loves games that he can play together with friends and family. This usually means late nights in Destiny 2 or FFXIV. You can also find him thinking about his ever-expanding backlog of games he won't play and being constantly dehydrated. Do not contact him.