Remnant II: The Awakened King Review – Five More Minutes

So, it’s been a little while since Remnant II came out. Players have likely been grinding away, trying to get all the secret archetypes, abusing Adventure Modes to hunt down all the cool loot they didn’t get the first time around, about what you’d expect for the Soulsborne-shooter mashup. But at this point, a lot of folks have probably gotten most of the treasure, killed off most if not all of the bosses, and are looking for a new challenge. Thus, Gunfire Games offers up their first DLC pack, The Awakened King. And as DLC packs go, it certainly expands the base version of the game, but it doesn’t quite seem to advance it very far.

The Awakened King takes players back to Losomn (or if you’re starting a new character, it could put you there to begin with), that fae-touched realm of baroque architecture and burning slums, where muskets fight against magic. Yet something is badly amiss. The fires around Losomn have been mostly put out by torrential rains. The goddess Nimue, who appeared in the base campaign and on the cover art, is chained beneath a slowly crumbling lighthouse. And the realm appears to have been taken over by a powerful entity known as The One True King. You’ll need to traverse the soggy streets and fetid sewers of Losomn to make your way into the castle and confront this new danger, all the while picking up new weapons and armor and unlocking the new Ritualist archetype.

“What a lovely fortress. I’m certain they’ll bring out only the finest tea and biscuits for a traveler like me.”

Normally, in my review process, I’d be looking at the visuals and audio first. The problem here is that there’s not a whole hell of a lot which is genuinely new on either front. While it feels like there might be some new music, and obviously some new lines recorded, it’s been long enough since I played Remnant II‘s base campaign that I can’t be sure. And that being the case, mechanics and storylines are going to be the bulk of any player’s concerns.

Narratively, The Awakened King feels a little sloppy if you’re running it in Adventure Mode, which is the only way access it for existing characters. We met Nimue in the main campaign, so having her behave as though we’ve never spoken before creates a bit of ludonarrative dissonance. That said, the actual storyline is largely epistolary in nature, with journals scattered here and there which tell the story of The One True King’s appearance in Losomn and his rather brutal subjugation of the realm. And even then, you’re probably missing a good chunk of the story. Multiple playthroughs will likely be required to discover everything you can learn. The short version: after appearing in Losomn, the King took Nimue on as an advisor, and she flinched when she had an opportunity to stab him in the back. There’s no real avoiding the King as the final boss, though how you approach him conversationally will change the loot you get when you plunder his titanic corpse after the smoke clears.

“The last person who made fun of my head lost theirs. I may be nuttier than a Planter’s factory, but there’s no reason to be rude to royalty.”

On the mechanics side, new mutators will drop from different boss creatures, new amulets and rings provide you with new options to help refine your builds, and new armor helps you look a little more badass (or at least more “local” to Losomn). The new Ritualist archetype centers primarily around debuffing and setting damage conditions on the enemy. If you’ve been suffering from debuffs, burns, poisons, and curses in your playthroughs, the Ritualist is probably your best option for getting some of your own back. Granted, it’s not going to be a particularly swift method of bringing down enemies, at least at the lower levels. But when you’re faced with enemies who can take your best shots both from firearms and melee weapons and still keep coming, the ability to kite them along to their doom is certainly appealing in certain circumstances.

But is it worth it? That’s the big question mark about The Awakened King. Is it a good value for the price? From a time perspective, the new content could be finished in a day on the first runthrough, maybe another day or two for repeat runs to get all the stuff you missed before. With the “Scholar” XP bump trait active and maxed out, you’ll grind out the levels for Ritualist a bit faster than you might otherwise, but once that’s done, it’s back to the usual Adventure Modes and higher difficulty levels.  It doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot there, and it kind of makes me wonder why they didn’t just include it as part of the base game.  If you’re deeply invested in Remnant II, there’s probably quite a bit for you to chew on after you’ve cleared the main story for The Awakened King. More casual players may find that the king is taking a nap on the throne.

Axel reviewed The Awakened King on PlayStation 5 with a review code.

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