STAFF REVIEW of Remnant: From the Ashes (Xbox One)

Monday, September 30, 2019.
by Adam Dileva

Remnant: From the Ashes Box art I’ve always enjoyed playing Soulsbourne-like games, even if I’m not particularly skilled at them. While the challenge is usually high and the difficult great, the reward for finally passing an area you’ve been stuck on for hours is quite satisfying. Gunfire Games, the studio that brought us the latest Darksiders game, is finally taking their crack at the Dark Souls formula. While I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the first few hours frustrated the hell out of me, once things clicked, Remnant: From the Ashes completely went from a frustrating experience to an incredibly exciting one.

There’s a dozen Souls impersonators out there already, so I was curious if Remnant would be any different. While it does borrow quite heavily from Dark Souls mechanically, the most drastic change is that Remnant is played with guns instead of swords and shields. Not only does this change the gameplay dramatically, they seemed to have nailed that ‘special sauce’ that made fans fall in love with the Souls games in the first place.

An ancient evil has invaded the world from another dimension and much of humanity has been destroyed. You are on the last remaining remnants of mankind, so you’ll set out on a path for revenge and to stop the enemy so mankind can rebuild. Doing so will be much more difficult than it seems, and you’ll even need to utilize portals and travel to other realms to stop The Root, alongside two other friends should you wish.

While Remnant does borrow quite heavily from Dark Souls, the way it handles its campaign is quite different. Each time you play through the campaign, you’ll navigate the major story sections, but every stop between point A, B, C and D are randomized. This means that not only are the areas you go through are different every time you play, but that also means the mini dungeons and even bosses will vary each playthrough.

This means that the replay factor is through the roof, and there are a ton of secrets and goodies that will take a lot of farming to find. For example, there’s a very rare dungeon that after a dozen or so hours of resetting the world and running though, me and a friend finally got it to spawn. This dungeon houses a unique boss that when defeated, drops one of the rarest gear sets in the game, one that I proudly sport when playing.

This was only possible because of hours of farming and resetting the campaign. But this is also encouraged, as you can farm gear and items this way as well. Even leveling up isn’t done in your traditional sense, as with Remnant, instead of a “level”, you’re ranked with how many Trait points you’ve spent instead, but more on that shortly. What I do enjoy about Remnant’s mechanics compared to Souls is that your progress is always saved and carried over. Died? No problem, no need to get back to your corpse, you’ll simply restart at the last crystal you rested at. Didn’t get a randomized boss or dungeon you wanted? Reset your campaign and continue with your character just the way they are.

That being said, this was after literal HOURS of frustration of not understanding many of the Remnant’s mechanics. Nothing is really explained outside of the beginning tutorial, and that’s more focused on the gunplay rather than how the world works systematically. If I had to rate Remnant on its introduction alone, it would get a hard “F” grade, as I was almost ready to give up on it. Then by chance me and a friend joined a random game with someone that knew Remnant inside and out and took it upon himself to not only teach us the mechanics of how the worlds worked and how to upgrade gear properly, but helped us with a run through of the campaign.

This was the tipping point of going from a game that I nearly uninstalled, to wanting to play alongside a friend nearly every night to farm better gear and challenge ourselves in Hard or Nightmare mode. I fear that some people won’t be as fortunate as I was though, as the game itself won’t teach you very much, simply throwing you in and letting you figure it out for yourself.

As you begin your adventure, you’ll create your character to look how you wish, but the character creator isn’t very robust, and honestly, once you start getting new gear, it won’t really matter anyways. Just be prepared to die a lot in the beginning, but stick with it and learn how the world works, and you’ll come across one of the most rewarding experiences once you start to level up.

You wield two weapons; a main and a secondary, both of which use different ammunition. Killed enemies can drop ammo, as can finding it by breaking items and boxes in the world (generally anything made out of wood), and you’ll always need to be on the lookout, as you’ll be fighting off hundreds of enemies. Played in third person, depending on the class you chose, you’ll begin with a simple pistol and a sidearm like a rifle or shotgun. While the classes don’t make too much of a difference initially, you’re able to make any sort of build you want later on, so they are more starting points for certain playstyles rather than hard locked choices.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, you’re able to also play alongside two friends with drop in/out gameplay. While there is some scaling that takes place with multiple players in a game, Remnant is a much better experience overall with a friend or two in a party. Things never really become stale either with every area being randomized each time, alongside with bosses and loot.

If you’re a Soulsborne fan, you’ll feel right at home, as many mechanics have not only been ‘borrowed’, but straight up copied. Estus Flasks are replaced with Draognhearts, which you can eventually upgrade to have more down the road if you defeat a certain boss fight and find a specific item. Need to refill your health and ammo? Sit at a floating red crystal, which is a replacement for the bonfires, and yes, this also resets the regular enemies as well. Even boss fights are sealed off with that grey fog in the doorway to indicate that you’re in for a battle next. There are even more mechanics ripped right from the source material, but if it’s not broke why fix it?

Earn enough experience and you’ll gain a trait point. These can be spent in a variety of different ways for a multitude of stat increases. Need more health, feel free to dump them into your vigor. Want more stamina or elemental resistance? Feel free to do so. Each stat caps out at 20 trait points, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a cap to how many trait points you can earn, so you’ll eventually be able to fully max out and have spare trait points after dozens of hours. While I’m currently sitting at about 170 Trait level, I’ve played with people that are well over 700 or so.

This not only allows for some character customization, but even some of the traits themselves are hidden. For example, there is forced friendly fire in Remnant when playing co-op, and I kept getting hit from my friend because I would constantly step in front of him. After he downed me ten times, I earned a new trait that allowed me to put trait points into that allows me to take less damage from friendly fire. Now that this trait is maxed at 20, I take maybe 1 or 2 damage from his shots. There’s a ton of hidden traits like this that will require some research or luck to find.

In the newest patch an Adventure Mode has also been introduced. Here you’re able to re-roll individual worlds. For example, you begin out on Earth for the first world, but maybe you want to re-roll the Rhom or Yaesha worlds to try and farm for a specific boss or gear. Now, instead of having you play through the whole campaign, you can simply reset these individual worlds and try your luck. Again, all items you collect, and any progress you make with your character are all saved and carried over regardless how you play.

I won’t lie, in the beginning I was quite frustrated and died, a LOT. There’s a wide variety of enemies, each of which need a different strategy to defeat efficiently. In the beginning, you’re going to learn the hard way how to do this, resulting in many deaths, much like Dark Souls. Also like Souls, you’ll have a stamina meter which is needed to run and dodge. You’ll become best friends with your dodge button as well, as this is how you’ll avoid most damage from enemies and bosses, but required precision timing in harder battles. Watch your gear and weight though, as the heavier you are, the most stamina dodging will take.

There are also a handful of items that will become quite useful during battles, such as a Bloodwort, which is akin to a health regeneration potion, items that can cure disease and other negative effects and even ammo boxes that can be used in a pinch. Once you learn Remnant mechanically, you won’t need to rely on these items often until you start to challenge yourself in Hard and Nightmare mode, which is a massive bump in difficulty, but as are the rewards.

Loot isn’t given in the form of weapons and gear for the most part either, but instead, parts and items that are then craftable into new gear. For example, the first time you kill most bosses, you’ll earn a unique item which can then be used to craft a new specific item back in the hub world. These are generally the most powerful items, and if you get a rare boss, usually amazing gear accompanies if defeated as well. You’ll need scrap (currency) and items like Iron, to create items though, of which you’ll find throughout your adventure.

Not only are these needed to craft items, but you can also increase your favorites in levels to higher tiers as well. For example, regular items can be boosted to +5 with regular iron and scrap, but to go higher you’ll need the next tier of iron and more scrap, so you need to collect any shiny items you see along your adventure, as the costs stack up quickly.

There are also Mods that can be earned and crafted, adding a whole new dimension to the gameplay and can be quite a game changer. For example, we defeated a rare boss and I got its item that allowed me to create a new mod that is quite exceptional. When I use my weapon that it’s attached to enough and fill its meter, you can then unleash your mod power. Mine is a swarm that infects any enemies nearby, dealing massive damage. This alone was a game changer and allowed me to tackle harder enemies with ease.

Gear sets will also have bonuses if you wear 1, 2 or 3 pieces of a set. My set for example allows me to heal a large amount of damage to my co-op friends when I use one of my Dragonhearts to heal myself, because I’m wearing the 3 pieces together. There’s a ton of different gear sets as well that you’ll earn from bosses, and each caters to a different playstyle. My friend for example has a set that allows for a chance to not use ammo upon firing, and since he’s coupled that with a single shot high damage weapon, it’s a deadly combination when you pair certain gear together.

Remnant is quite impressive visually the further you make it through the worlds. While the starter area and Earth won’t really ‘wow’ you, the worlds you explore later on are impressive, not only in their scale, but how detailed it can be. One desert and barren world has a solar eclipse in the background that I’ve actually been using for my wallpaper, and the ancient ruins underground feels like it’s straight out of Battlestar or some other sci-fi adventure. There’s a lot of variety, color pallet and bosses will always be terrifying upon first glance.

Remnant: From the Ashes dumps you into its world without any sort of hand holding or explanations. While some will enjoy this, I found it incredibly frustrating in the beginning, not sure how the world worked mechanically, or even that areas were randomized. If I didn’t have a bit of luck and be aided by a high level player that spent hours teaching us how Remnant actually worked, I don’t think I would have stuck with it in the long run, which is a shame, as I think some will have the same initial experience I did. Do some homework, watch a bunch of YouTube tutorial videos with tips and tricks, as it will make Remnant a massively better experience once you figure out how it all works together.

If you take the time to learn its mechanics and grind for some gear, once it ‘clicks’, Remnant changes from a simple Souls-like game to a completely unique experience that I could hardly put down. It’s a shame that it released in the busy window that it did alongside some massive AAA games, as I’m sure it’ll get overlooked, but if you’re a Souldborne fan and want an entertaining co-op adventure with some friends, Remnant: From the Ashes should seriously be looked at. While I was almost ready to give up at one point, it’s a fantastic game once you learn its intricacies.

Overall: 8.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 62,412
Forum Posts: 725,950
Xbox One Titles: 4,435
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,323
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 16,375
Screenshots: 36,619
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

Hokko Life Coming to Consoles September 27th

Hokko Life Coming to Consoles September 27thHokko Life invites players to customise and cultivate their very own cosy community, with mini-games, friendly villagers, and an intricate design tool all coming together to create a charming environment for players to put their own stamp on.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

KeyWe Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 4778 Views

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
23 Replies, 39295 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 74517 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 87593 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 90506 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 100061 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 97838 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 102858 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 76215 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 138745 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 99423 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 179893 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 131493 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 225753 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 126840 Views

© 2000-2022 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics