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Review: Remnant II is an evolved sequel that still has some blemishes

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Remnant II was definitely one of my most anticipated game titles of the year. I put dozens of hours into Remnant: From the Ashes and its DLCs. That game wasn’t without its faults, but it was a lot of fun to play both solo and with friends.

remnant 2 review screen

Remnant II fixes a lot of the complaints I had with the first game. However, there are weird design choices, minor frustrations, and a few bugs that hold it back from reaching greatness.

The narrative behind Remnant II is a simple post-apocalypse survival story. You and a fellow survivor are taken to Ward 13 after a run-in with The Root, a fierce enemy that has taken over Earth. You're introduced to a few people in the camp (including some familiar faces from the first game and DLC), and the World Crystal, which has the power to stop The Root and teleport Ward 13 prisoners to salvation.

Your character is equipped with a primary weapon, a sidearm, and a melee weapon. The primary and sidearm can modified to do a multitude of things like healing teammates, unleashing concussive blasts, or even blasting out a tentacle.

Your character is also bolstered by an archetype classification that comes with more abilities and perks. I chose the Medic for my primary and then later upgraded as a Handler as my secondary when I was able. The latter gave me have a dog that I could sic on enemies (and who was just an all around good boy). And yes, you can pet the dog.

I found the archetypes really easy to use enjoyed the freedom to change them at any time. What I don’t really care for is how the items for a lot of the archetypes are hidden away behind mountains of dialogue or within parts of a world that can kill you if you stay too long. These seemed like unnecessary hoops to jump through.

I could also collect trait points, which are upgrades that can increase health, the size of an area of effect attack or healing aura, damage resistance, and other upgrades. Whereas in Remnant: From the Ashes, the trait points were capped at 300, here you can gain only 60. This limits the players abilities, which I don't understand why developers would do.

It's great that weapons can be upgraded, but for some reason, armor cannot. My guess for the reason for this is so that players can focus on using a combination of trait points, rings, a necklace, and the relic mods. I liked this choice, as it saved resources for other things like weapon upgrades, consumables, and new archetypes.

The developers did a really neat thing this time around with the world building in that it is quite unique for each player. For instance, my friend got to go to a lush jungle world called Yaesha as his first world; I on the other hand went into a cold, poisonous hell-world called N’Erud. When I arrived at Yaesha later in the game, I had different boss encounters, traversed different dungeons, and just experienced different layouts of the world in general.

While I adore this aspect of the game, I also kind of hate that someone who might have never played the first game might get thrown into N’Erud and get the same RNG that I did, with tons of pesky bug enemies that seemed like they would never stop spawning, and bosses that were just frustrating to fight mainly because of their arenas. I could see a lot of people quitting at that point if they thought the entire game was like this particular planet.

Players can choose to reroll their world progress and keep their current character progression, so if their first world is one they don’t want to do at that time, they can just reroll until they get one they might like without losing any of their gear, items, traits, or archetype levels.

One world I had a lot of fun with was Losomn, or as my friends and I called it, “the Bloodborne world." It was filled with yelling villagers trying to stab, burn, slice, or shoot us amid the werewolves, executioners, and ceiling-clinging slimes challenging our progress.

The combat in the game felt much smoother than in the first game, and movement felt really responsive and enjoyable overall. During combat the player has to manage a stamina gauge that drains during activities like running or rolling. Thankfully, in Remnant II they went the Elden Ring route and made it to where stamina doesn’t drain when you aren’t in combat. Wonderful.

The map system reminded me a bit of Metroid Prime, where you could turn it up and down and see different levels of each area. It also tells if you have already been through a door before and labels all of the undiscovered portions in either red or purple. This really helped with being able to quickly find on the map where I should try and explore next.

One drawback was that the performance on PC was pretty lackluster. I have over the recommended specs needed to run the game, but I still had to run it on Low settings with an upscaler enabled just to get a decently steady 60 frames per second. I still ran into frame dips, and I have never had these kinds of issues with any new title that I’ve played coming out recently. It just feels really unoptimized. I hope this gets patched very soon.

Another issue I had was weird bugs like enemies spawning inside of a wall or in the ground and still being able to hit my character with projectiles or even melee attacks, but I had no way of getting rid of them. My friend also got stuck when trying to use a checkpoint where it told him that he couldn’t use the crystal because “enemies were nearby”, but we had cleared out every single enemy. He just had to jump off a cliff and let me resurrect him at the crystal to fix the bug.

Some of the boss features seemed like they were created to frustrate the player more so than reward their skill. For instance, there is a boss fight involving a set of giant cubes that can instantly kill you if they don’t watch for the cubes’ patterns. I liked the concept, but the cubes were so overpowered that the player had nowhere to go many times. It’s just little things like this that feel a bit unfair.

So while I really enjoyed my time with Remnant II (and I can’t wait to get all of the archetypes and have them all maxed out), I can say that it does have some rough edges that should be ironed out a bit. Some of them (like optimization) will probably be improved, but others (like the boss fights having some frustrating aspects) might not get addressed because some of those were issues in the first game too.

I think that anyone who enjoyed Remnant: From the Ashes should really enjoy this and a lot of newcomers should too. However, if you hated the first game or found it too frustrating, Remnant II probably won’t win you over.


● Combat and world design feels much better than the first game

● Archetypes are much more fleshed out and add a lot more depth to the gameplay

● Dungeons and worlds being generated differently each time adds replay value

● Lots of fun with friends


● Some bosses can feel unfair by design

● Archetypes being hidden away feels unnecessary

● Players who found the first game frustrating might not enjoy this one either

Score: 7/10

Reviewer played on PC.

Remnant II is now available on PC, Playstation 5, and Xbox Series X|S

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