Remnant II: The Awakend King DLC Review - Satisfying but not Spectacular
Remnant II was one of the best surprises of the year for me. Mainly because it is the sort of game I usually avoid, but in this case it had me chomping at the bit for more as soon as I had finished the campaign. There was just something about Remnant II that clicked with me in a way that other games of its ilk failed to do. So to say I couldn’t wait to see what plans Gunfire Games had to expand Remnant II in the future would have been an understatement. Well that future has just arrived in the form of The Awakened King, the first piece of DLC for Remnant II and there is a lot here that fans of the base game are going to enjoy.
The Awakened King is not a traditional piece of DLC in that it follows on from the ending of the main game. It is actually a one-shot story that can be accessed through the game’s adventure system. As with all adventures in Remnant II, your character carries over all skills and weapons from any previous campaigns and adventures so the chances are, like me, you will walk into this one feeling confident and well-equipped. That confidence, it turns out, was well earned, but still tested with what the Awakened King has to offer. The moment-to-moment action will test players, but no more so than the main game. It is the boss battles that get quite vicious and nasty and while none of them reach the frustratingly rage-inducing final boss from the campaign, they did cause more than a few instances of swearing on my behalf. That said, they were both inventive and fair battles and I only had myself to blame for dying, it was never the game cheating.
The setting for the Awakened King is perhaps a little disappointing if I am honest. There are hardly any new areas. Just about every asset is from the main game, with very little having been created from scratch for this DLC. I totally understand why this path was taken and it has allowed Gunfire Games to make an interesting main map that winds around on itself in interesting ways, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to see a fresh new location, something we haven’t seen before. There are even some reused event battles (like the King’s Feast) from the base game so that felt a little bit annoying. There are a few new enemies to take on though. A gigantic bloke wielding a sycthe, a couple of annoying and poisonous swamp creatures and a type of Witch that feels it is more appropriate to hit you with a sea anchor than a spell are perhaps the most notable.
The biggest draw for The Awakened King (apart from the new boss battles of course) is the new archetype, the Ritualist. This magic wielding warrior is the perfect companion for players that like damage-over-time effects and complementing their element-based attacks. The Ritualist uses a few different spells to enhance, add and impact these different elemental effects, making it a great choice for group control. As with all of the game’s archetypes, it will take a while before players work out which other archetypes it meshes with best, but for now, I am having a blast with this skillset, which feels very different from the other classes in the game.
There is perhaps one issue that is also worth mentioning. Some of the dungeon design feels a little cramped and therefore a little frustrating when it comes to enemy encounters. In the sewers especially it is way too easy to get surrounded by a swarm of enemies with little warning or chance to escape. This is not something I found in the main game so it is a touch annoying to have it pop up in the expansion. It could be the random nature of some of these dungeons that caused it and if I were to play through another time it wouldn’t be so annoying, but I did play through the DLC twice and came across instances of it in both playthroughs.
So in the end, The Awaken King is good, but it is hardly a must-buy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with it. The boss battles were great and the Ritualist is super fun to take into battle, but there is nothing here that the main game hasn’t done just as well. In essence, it is just more Remnant II, which for many of us is all we need, but for those looking for a fresh take on the formula, well perhaps the next bit of DLC will hit that mark. It is hard to be upset though, the gameplay is still wonderful and it offers a unique thrill that no other game out there gives and that in itself deserves celebrating.