A Saturday afternoon back in 2019 found me with a Blue Moon in one hand and a controller in the other, jumping into Remnant: From the Ashes, a co-op romp that occasionally left a bitter taste in my mouth (it wasn’t the beer, I promise).
Fast forward to 2023 to find me with a full human baby in one hand and yet another controller in the other, jumping into Remnant 2, expecting another fun, but shallow take on the soulslike genre, but I was greeted by an unexpectedly sweet flavor.
Remnant 2 is without a doubt the biggest glow up I’ve seen in a modern gaming sequel, and has quickly cemented itself as one of my favorite co-op experiences.
Did that just happen?
There are so many things that make Remnant 2 work, but my favorite moments were when my sister and I were exploring separate sections of one area and individually experienced something that couldn’t be recreated, so much so that one of us was questioning the other’s sanity.
(Image credit: Gearbox)
In Losomn, there are these large sewer grates all around town, and my sister approached one to grab an item, only to be grabbed by a giant rat man and murdered instantly. I was in shock when she screamed, and then we ran around town to see if we could find the creature — no dice. We completed Losomn multiple times without ever recreating that sequence, so I naturally teased her about it.
We didn’t think about it again until we got to Yaesha and stumbled upon a new Archetype (class). “We couldn’t have missed an archetype in Losomn, could we?” At this point, we had thoroughly cleared Losomn, or so we thought. “You’re going to be so mad,” my sister said. She then explained that the sewer grate rat man needed to grab us and take us to a bone pit, which is where we unlock the Alchemist, the hidden archetype of Losomn.
She was right, I was pissed, but it made for a hilarious adventure and story that we got to share together.
A helping hand
There are plenty of Archetypes in Remnant 2, but my favorite have to be the Handler and the Medic because those are the classes my sister and I pursued separately, with her going for the latter. You can play with two classes at a time, but those were our primary Archetypes (that matters — the primary gets a special perk).
(Image credit: Gearbox)
Our duo was quite the dream team. My sister was a focused melee medic, so she took all the hits and healed them back up very quickly while sharing those heals via rings and amulets. I never had to worry about healing myself, so I focused on ranged DPS. But when one of us went down, my lovely puppy (perk of the Handler) would revive us. That synergy kept us alive through the most ridiculous battles, including the one against Legion.
There’s comfortable room to play with Archetypes and abilities that work well with your team. For example, I had the Summoner Archetype active throughout the fight against the Corruptor (one of the toughest fights we’ve experienced), and my summons were effectively useless as damage dealers. However, they were taking constant damage from the boss. That may not seem like a great thing, but my sister’s abilities let her heal constantly, and she would regain a Relic (health potion-ish) every time she healed a certain amount of damage. That means she continued to get Relics throughout the fight without a risk to either of us. This is a clutch ability that saved us through countless bosses.
Every new item, ability, and class were on the table for us to experiment and optimize our cooperative play.
This game will never end
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve advocated more for shorter games with better paced narratives. However, there’s something about going through the shit with your best friend and laughing hysterically because the hits keep coming and they don’t stop coming (thanks, Smash Mouth).
(Image credit: Gearbox)
We had completed Losomn twice in a row because we wanted to explore different choices and get some of the randomly generated rooms we missed, but we thought we were missing something more. There were events in the Oracle’s quilt that hadn’t shown up yet, so did we just need to reroll adventure mode again?
Well, we did, and that’s when we lost it. Losomn had always started in the Palace Courtyard and the campaign revolved around the One True King. Not this time. We started in Morrow Parish and the campaign completely changed — now we had to navigate The Asylum to defeat the mysterious Nightweaver. We screamed, “What do you mean there’s another campaign?!”
We were in awe by the absolute size and diversity of what one player could experience across the multitude of worlds in Remnant 2. There are four worlds outside of The Labyrinth (primary narrative), and for those keeping track at home, that means there are eight potential mini-campaigns you can experience outside of the overarching narrative. Wild.
This is all to say that Remnant 2 embodies mechanical and natural circumstances to create a cooperative adventure of choice, daring, and chaos.
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