Remnant: From the Ashes is the co-op game you should be playing right now

(Image credit: Gunfire Games/Perfect World Entertainment)

Blap blap blap—the sound of two players unleashing repeater pistols on demonic enemies is a joy. Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person action game set in a procedurally generated post apocalyptic nightmare, and it's extremely good. Once you get past the overlong tutorial you're immediately given some great guns and kicked out into an open world full of fun things to kill.

Yesterday I was slaying minibosses with PCG editor Robin Valentine, who described Remnant perfectly as a mashup of many other games that somehow still retains its own identity. There's a bit of Dark Souls there thanks to mysterious NPCs delivering cryptic dialogue. It's also a decent third-person Division-style shooter, but with no cover mechanics. Instead you're fully mobile, but constantly at risk of being swarmed by enemies that can fall from the ceiling, or even grow out of the earth in front of you.

Robin had already played the opening dungeon, but when he joined my inaugural run the place was quite different to him. Remnant remixes its missions with each playthrough, which makes every session tense and unpredictable. We encountered terrifying new special enemies that we had to figure out on the fly, prompting me to yell "what the fuck is that??" several times. At the end we were confronted by a huge pulsating red organic pillar—"er, should we kill it?". Yep, 'kill it' is always the answer in Remnant. We went to task with point-blank shotgun blasts as waves of exploding creeps spawned around us.

Our reward? A submachinegun that shoots incendiary rounds and doubles up as a flamethrower once you've charged up its secondary ability. There are crafting mechanics and plenty of RPG fluff that give Remnant longevity, but I love a game that gives you fun toys right away without making you grind for the privilege.

(Image credit: Gunfire Games)

It's a great co-op experience too. I could (and shall) write a whole piece about why friendly fire is good. Headshotting enemies while aiming just past your pal's shoulder in front of you just feels great: you're a special forces SWAT team taking on overwhelming odds, and prevailing. Everything in the game is highly lethal as well—a single shotgun blast kills most enemies outright. That's as it should be, and that gives you an addictive sense of power even as you're wandering into a dark, demon-infested lair. 

It's a strong fantasy set in a warped Annihilation-style city of murky brown infrastructure and red overgrowth, and all of it wants to kill you. I've enjoyed playing solo but I'd particularly recommend the game if you can invite some friends in to blast enemies with you. I still have many hours still to go with Remnant but I reckon it's an overlooked gem. I'm looking forward to wading back in this evening; those demons won't know what hit them.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.