A confident sequel that not only improves on every aspect of its predecessor, but takes huge strides forward in both looting and shooting, Remnant 2 was a huge surprise. For more awards, head to our Game of the Year 2023 page.
Harvey Randall, Staff Writer: Remnant 2 came at a difficult time, landing in the middle of some absolutely smashing games—though it’s still one of my favourites from this year. It crushes its predecessor Remnant: From the Ashes in every conceivable way, while still being the most inventive of 2023’s soulslike offerings.
One moment you’re blasting your way through a plague-stricken techno hellscape, the next you’re battling a fairy king in a shining storybook castle. Its levels are procedurally arranged, but they still manage to feel textured, with hand-crafted encounters and secrets to discover. One unlockable archetype even spawned a whole ARG-style hunt and a Discord server of dataminers hellbent on uncovering it.
The RPG side to this multiversal shoot’em-up is stellar, too. You can combine two of its classes (called Archetypes) at a time, you have a bunch of rings and amulets all with powerful effects, and there’s a broad spread of boss weapons, mods, and mutators to attach to your guns.
For my most recent playthrough, I rocked up with a glass cannon build, using a crossbow and a few key mutators that meant I could three-shot most elite enemies on the game’s standard difficulty. Which sounds boring, sure—until you remember that the nightmares of Remnant 2 are incredibly aggressive, and that I was going in with zero defensive buffs. Every encounter became survival horror levels of tense.
The only downside is that it takes a little elbow grease to really unlock everything, but there’s an entire Archetype which revolves around having a dog so I’m willing to give the game a pass on that.
(Image credit: Gunfire Games)
The game also dropped its first DLC recently—The Awakened King—and it’s a banger. It adds a whole new handmade adventure to romp through, and it’s a damn generous offering for its price-point. Not to mention you can play it with a bud even if you don’t have it—you just won’t be able to make use of any loot until you buy. There’s even three more to come.
With a bunch of quality-of-life improvements already patched, and two more DLCs on the way to flesh out the world, I’ll bet my fair share of scrap that Remnant 2 will only get better with time—and it’s pretty dang good already. Gunfire Games scored a bullseye.
Rich Stanton, Senior Editor: In a year that wasn’t so stuffed with classics Remnant 2 may have stood out a lot more, but this is one of the few 3D action games that’s ever successfully adapted roguelike mechanics, a game where you’re actually excited to see what fantastical nonsense it throws up rather than bored by repeating patterns. The bullet hell-inspired combat is precise, tense, often devastating (for you) and the looping RPG-lite levelling structure makes even its very good predecessor seem like a trial run. Remnant 2’s one of those sequels that does everything the first game did but bigger and better, fixes pretty much every beef I had, and is a rarity in being a Soulslike with plenty of its own ideas.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: I slept on its predecessor, but there was too much Remnant 2 chat in our office Slack for me to ignore the sequel, and boy am I glad I finally gave in. Since Elden Ring I haven’t really been able to get into another soulslike—life is too short to spend it being murdered over and over again, and I’m just not a very patient boy. But Remnant 2 is, despite some tricky boss encounters, not especially ruthless, letting me explore its eclectic worlds alongside my faithful hound without expecting to die the moment I rush around a corner. And the guns! Oh my. I’m currently prancing around with a spooky rifle where corpse-like fingers wrap themselves around it, and whenever I use its special ability I’m transported to another realm where I’m an even more effective killer. It’s a trip. This is going to be one of my go-to co-op romps for a while.