Review: “Remnant: From the Ashes”

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Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Price: $39.99

Written by Ash Anderson

After the release of Dark Souls III in 2016, developers buckled down to perhaps conjure up a title that would fill the vacuum in a now-Souls-less marketplace. Thus began the era in which we live currently: that of the Souls-like. They’re not hard to recognize. Generally taking place in a world without much backstory, a Herculean task is thrust upon the player – a task for which, in most cases, they are ill-prepared. And so they begin their trek, slowly but surely acquiring new equipment (or abilities) that is upgraded by a precious currency.

Gunfire Games (Darksiders III) has attempted to not only fill the gap, but also introduce a brand new way to play with Remnant: From the Ashes, a third-person shooter with many familiar systems from the Souls series, including three-player co-op. There’s a lot to admire in a world that’s been overtaken by a malevolent force known only as The Root – quasibiological creatures driven by a mysterious hivemind. You begin your journey in Ward 13, the last known bastion on Earth. Inside you’ll find merchants, an armorsmith, a weapon vendor, and refugees that have some interesting dialogue if you’re willing to talk to them.

Unique to Remnant is its talent system. You begin with only a couple of them unlocked – maximum Health and maximum Stamina. However, over the course of the game, depending on your penchant for exploration, you may unlock an entire cavalcade of character enhancement ranging from a boost to your Experience gain, debuff duration, weapon modification boosts, and more. Unfortunately, due to the procedurally-generated world, not all talents will be unlocked by all players.

Players are able to “reroll” their entire campaign in order to farm drops, bosses, and loot. But this isn’t always a boon: minibosses can spawn with random modifiers that can drastically increase (or decrease) their difficulty, leading to frustrating deaths simply due to a random number generator. What’s more is that more than a handful of mandatory bosses didn’t seem to be balanced for solo play. Even leveling a great deal further than was necessary for a certain area boss, I wasn’t able to claim victory without turning my game Public simply because a boss required us to defeat it in a very specific way – one that I really don’t think would be possible running solo.

The upgrade system is rather sparse, too. Weapon and armor upgrades take a very linear path, requiring one variant of Iron (Forged Iron, Galvanized Iron, etc.), with very few outliers. Boss weapons require a different currency, but that’s about as much variation as is available in the game as of this writing. It’s disappointing, really, as the world seems to have a tremendous amount of lore underneath its shell. It’s beautiful, grotesque, and often mesmerizing. There’s the making of a great game here, but it’s often bogged down by trying to do too many things at once.

Grade: B-

S04E35: Collections, Collections, Collections

Written reviews are coming to the Not Without Merit Podcast! Check out our website starting this Friday!

Game releases are back and so are we! Mike picked up Slay the Spire, but also started up Final Fantasy VI, Ben tried out the Modern Warfare alpha test while continuing with Final Fantasy XIV, and Jake bought Control, and played more of MLB The Show, Judgment, No Man’s Sky, and more!

We lead off with our PS+ games for September in news, collections for the Mega Man X titles and a Aladdin/Lion King combo pack, the revival of Telltale games, and a Fortnite/Borderlands crossover event!

Bonus Round this week is a chat about recent NFL news along with a look ahead at this season, as well as the future of the NFL.

Follow us on Twitter at @NWMPod, visit our website at nwmpod.com, and leave us a review on iTunes or Google Play Music, we greatly appreciate it!

 

S04E34: Gamescom Recap

News is back finally, but first we game! Mike finished his playthrough of EarthBound, while continuing his endless journey through Warframe, Jake was very busy with Detroit: Become Human, MLB The Show 19, Judgment, and Final Fantasy 14, and Ben never stopped playing Final Fantasy 14 with some Madden 19 sprinkled in there too.

Gamescom came with a ton of announcements, including the release dates for Yakuza 3, 4, and 5, PUBG crossplay on consoles, Sony buying Insomniac Games, FFVIII Remastered’s release date, Ori and the Blind Forest coming to Switch, new colors for the DualShock 4, Stranger Things coming to Dead By Daylight, and a bunch more!

Bonus Round this week is our favorite moment from Gamescom!

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S04E33: The Boys Of Summer

We’re back with some new(ish) games! Mike started Mutant Year Zero, while continuing with EarthBound and Super Mario Maker 2; Jake started Detroit: Become Human and is still playing Final Fantasy 14 and MLB The Show; Ben is still going with FF14, but also (with Mike) had the absolute pleasure of playing the Black Desert Online beta.

News is the lightest yet, with the continued development hell of Dead Island 2, a delay of the XIII remake, and the reveal of the next Need for Speed title.

Bonus Round this week is a chat about S1 of The Boys (Lots of spoilers, obviously).

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S04E32: Wrestling, Crates, & Fighting Games

Summer trudges along with another boatload of Final Fantasy XIV from both Ben and Jake, while Mike has gone nostaglic, playing through Doom 2 and starting up EarthBound.

Big news this week with Yuke’s no longer developing the WWE 2K series, Rocket League ending their crate system, Tekken 7 announcing another season of DLC, No Man’s Sky giving a date to their Beyond expansion, and Darksiders 2 being announced for the Nintendo Switch!

Bonus Round this week is a retrospective on our history with fighting games!

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S04E31: Summer Spooktacular

Ben took a vacation so it’s just Mike and Jake this week, Mike has been juggling a lot of games: Streets of Rogue, Warframe, The Talos Principle, Doom 2, and playing his SNES Classic, while Jake is still heavily invested in Final Fantasy XIV.

Still not much summer news outside of August’s PS+ titles, Doom 1-3 being re-released on modern consoles, Outer Worlds coming to Nintendo Switch, and the confirmation of Hitman 3’s development.

Bonus Round this week is our earliest memories of playing horror games!

Follow us on Twitter at @NWMPod, visit our website at nwmpod.com, and leave us a review on iTunes or Google Play Music, we greatly appreciate it!

S04E30: An Even Slower News Week

Jake is out this week and leaves a handful of games played and even lesser news in his wake. Mike continues on with Super Mario Maker 2 and Warframe while starting Streets of Rogue, while Ben is still very much all-in on Final Fantasy XIV.

Summer rolls on with a sprinkle of news, Sony is coming back to the convention circuit with plans for Gamescom and TGS, a PSN Summer Sale, and Stardew Valley set to get multiplayer on PS4 this week.

The Bonus Round for this week is looking back at our gaming collections!

Follow us on Twitter at @NWMPod, visit our website at nwmpod.com, and leave us a review on iTunes or Google Play Music, we greatly appreciate it!