To push past these hurdles, one must get stronger, and Remnant has shied away from the consistent RPG-style leveling system, and instead implemented a new system involving Traits. These traits are initially acquired through your starting class; these three classes are only independent by the different starting traits and starting weaponry, as most characters will melt into a cloned killing machine in due time. With each boss killed (and other scenarios get resolved), one of thirty traits will become available: providing upgrades to your character’s stamina usage, critical hit chance, and revive speed to name a few. I do like this system as it highlights very distinct routes in how you want to build your character: be a glass cannon with high crit chance and faster reload speed, or be a devout support with increased Health Regen output and faster Mod regeneration.
And as if you could believe a world like this didn’t have some kind of magic involved, meet the Mods. Mods are equipable powers that generate through use of your weaponry; each character can hold two Mods at a time, one on each gun, that act like an Ultimate in your common MOBA. These powers can taunt enemies with an aggro’ing Totem, provide a base area where your HP is restored, or apply fire to your bullets for a limited time to dish out big damage. The near 30 different Mods, alongside your character, can become even deadlier with the bevy of items that are found in each world. Each character can outfit themselves with two rings and an amulet, adding base stat boosts and upgrades.
Remnant will give your character every thing it needs through the first run of the campaign on the much recommended Normal difficulty, and while you may hear about other bosses from other players, there is a chance that boss may not show its face. While there are the aforementioned 40 dungeons, each campaign will only hold about 12 dungeons to venture into; which brings attention to Remnant‘s endgame: rolling for dungeons. Once the campaign is finished, the entire campaign can be restarted, allowing for 12 more random picks at dungeons, but Remnant will not pick new ones every time. The only way to find every dungeon is to continually run through Remnant‘s campaign, or to venture into Adventure Mode, which spawns a specific world with three sub-dungeons, allowing you to grind out any mystery pieces one may have missed. This, on paper, sounds like a great way to extend hours, but after running an extra 15 hours, I was still missing a ton of content: certainly not from a lack of trying, but through the sheer luck of the draw.
The more time spent in Remnant, though, the more prevalent the cracks in the foundation start to become. My time running through the campaign was plagued with game crashes, with most happening at random. Progressing through to a different area? Hard crash. Mid-dodge in a boss fight? Hard crash. Crashes would happen around once a hour, where my buddy and I were taking bets on if we would make it through the boss fight and dungeon without one of us falling through the level in a perpetual lock.
The inclusion of a Hardcore mode, where your character’s death is permanent, is a very interesting addition, especially with certain bosses unlocking specific items that can roll over to your new and current characters. What throws me off is that nothing of the sort is laid out for the Hard and Nightmare difficulties. These harder choices add nothing but harder hitting, spongier enemies at the cost of acquiring extra XP and some better crafting materials, which is a severe disappointment. Besides testing your mettle, there are no real reasons to leave Normal, especially when coming back to find new dungeons.
I understand that the campaign can only house so many dungeons during its structured run, and re-rolling the campaign, as well as running Adventure Mode, gives the character plenty of time to level up and try out all the new Traits. But having no way to specifically pick out which dungeon to enter feels like a “gotcha” kind of way to have players continue pumping hours into Remnant. Going into the Adventure Mode menu and selecting a world to go through is like a crank on the sub-dungeon slot machine, only to find where each slot stops by venturing 10-20 minutes around an enemy infested main area. If you don’t find the dungeon you’re looking for, you re-roll and try again. Re-rolling could essentially go hours…days…however long, and still not show everything that Remnant has to offer in the cheapest, sleaziest way.
It’s where these problems put me in a split. Do I regret purchasing Remnant and experiencing what it had to offer? Not at all! The polished gunplay, fascinating Mods, and engrossing boss fights make Remnant an absolute blast, especially when fighting side by side with friends. But Remnant‘s lack of polish and disappointing design choices kill the much wanted longevity Gunfire Games‘ attempts to establish when creating its endgame. The sheer repetitiveness for the casual player and the repeated frustrations to the yearning completionist may keep only the truly devoted around for the hours it takes to see all of what Remnant‘s worlds have to offer.
Reviewed on PC/Steam.