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Lite Souls (Remnant from the Ashes)

 I am currently playing and enjoying Remnant from the Ashes a Soulslike game that has  a few twists of its own. 

In common with other Soulslike games Remnant is a third person adventure where saving at a checkpoint re-spawns all non boss enemies. Even regular enemies are dangerous and death is a frequent occurrence as you progress through the world. 

Perhaps Remnant's most significant difference is that it relies far more on ranged combat than melee combat. There is a wide range of guns and gun powerups available but the melee combat is quite simplistic in comparison to a typical soulslike game. There are no blocks or parries and a very limited number of melee moves. I find myself using melee only as a fallback when I am out of ammo or an enemy gets in too close. 

Another feature of Remnant is that is uses procedurally generated maps and levels within an overarching plot framework. Even the boss fights you encounter on any given play through are randomised  and you need to play through multiple times to see everything and collect everything. Encouraging multiple playthroughs is a common feature of Soulslike games but this randomisation is an added incentive to do so and keeps things fresh on repeated playthroughs. 

One feature that will upset many fans of hard core Soulslike games is that Remnant is relatively forgiving in comparison to the FromSoftware games which spawned the genre. The game is full of dangerous enemies and death is common but unlike regular Souls games you don't lose all your stuff when you die. Dying is a minor inconvenience rather than the gut wrenching defeat it could be. It is also more forgiving because there are several ways to heal in addition to the limited number of Estus flask like dragon stones you can carry. I find the switch to ranged combat makes the game easier in itself because combat is less reliant on a player's individual skill with button pressing and allows a more tactical play style with use of terrain. Remnant does compensate for this somewhat by throwing large numbers of enemies at you but overall I find it easier to manage. Then again I was never very good at melee combat games. 

The one aspect of remnant that is a bit of a disappointment for me is that the boss fights I have encountered have been relatively uninspired. I have only fought five bosses so far but all have followed a very similar pattern:  A main boss with a lot of hitpoints who constantly spawns annoying adds. In most cases the boss itself was just a souped up version of one of the earlier mob. The encounters are challenging in an annoying way because of all the adds but very forgettable.  

I personally like the fact that Remnant is on the whole easier that more canonical souls games. I like the fact that the game has selectable difficulty levels (I play on normal thank you very much). I like the fact that multiplayer interaction is co-operative assistance rather than the brutal player versus player invasions in Dark Souls games. While this lack of difficulty may limit its appeal for the "Git Gud" school of hard core enthusiasts I think it makes the game more accessible to a wider audience. The fact that I got it for free from the epic store less than a year after launch suggests it wasn't a runaway success which is a pity. The success of Jedi Fallen order shows that there is a market for a less challenging Soulslike experience and I think that Remnant would well suit those who enjoyed that game. 


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