Remnant: From The Ashes PAX West 2018 Impressions

By Jaime Skelton (MissyS)

By all accounts, I’m not a “hardcore” gamer. I’ve never played the Dark Souls series. It’s ironic, in a way, because my favorite type of games are rogue-likes and rogue-lites. Still, just because I don’t play these games doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them; their attention to skill and pattern learning leans back upon an older video game framework where games were hard because they had to be. Most of these “hardcore” style games are single player experiences, but Remnant: From The Ashes, from Gunfire Games in publishing partnership with Perfect World Entertainment, seeks to change that.

We got a hands-on demo of Remnant at PAX West behind the scenes with game designer Mike Maza, and while many questions couldn’t yet be answered, the game still left a good impression.

Remnant Cityscape

Remnant has a strong science fiction tone. In its world, humans are scarce, a handful of survivors in a world ruled by horrors. As one of its survivors, you must scavenge, craft, sneak, fight, and survive across a plethora of areas. Each world you transport to is dynamically generated, meaning that you will constantly be challenged by new environments and arrangements of enemies.

Speaking of enemies – they’re tough. Maybe not Dark Souls tough, at least based on the demo I played, but they definitely take some learning to master. Certain enemies were better off handled at a distance, and some were better handled up close. Another enemy was fond of summoning a ton of allies and needed to be neutralized quickly before we were overwhelmed. The area I was in was also dark and wet – which proves an issue when enemies can detect you through light (keep that flashlight for emergencies only!) and sound (sprint in emergencies only!).

Combat definitely isn’t designed for the spray-and-pray types. If you run in to a pack of enemies guns blazing, you’re going to have a bad time. I picked up on this quickly and started stealthing, using cover, and picking off my targets one by one, aiming for headshots to do critical damage. In ways it reminded me of the Wolfenstein demo I played at last year’s PAX which – while not nearly as punishing – also emphasized being careful about using environment to pluck out enemies instead of just pushing your way into a room.

Remnant Creature

There were two archetypes available to play at the PAX demo: Hunter and Cultist. Each had their own selection of short range, long range, and melee weapons, along with a special ability. There will be more archetypes, of course, Mike assured me, with hopes to have enough to satisfy every playstyle. That’s good, because the co-op mode supports up to four total players, so a diverse range of characters to choose from will be essential to keep things fresh. And there’s always the possibility of more archetypes being added after release.

While the team compared Remnant  to Dark Souls meets The Last of Us and Diablo, I’d like to think the game is a little more like Dark Souls meets Left 4 Dead, with a few other twists like gathering and crafting to beef up your character. Remnant will be arriving on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2019. You can find out more at the official website.

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