There are other games hogging the spotlight at the moment, but Remnant 2 looks like something of a dark horse that, among its devotees at least, is one of 2023’s unique and most polished experiences. The game is a (deep breath) third person roguelike Soulslike shooter with a heavy focus on procedural generation, which can be played solo or co-op, and is one of those designed for multiple playthroughs, all of which in theory are wildly different. It is also a brutally difficult game and, on the highest difficulty (Apocalypse), has some players whining a little too much as they lick their wounds.
How tough is Apocalypse? Bosses and tougher enemies will one-shot your character, while even weaker enemies will take you down in a couple of hits. It probably needs emphasising that this is not the default experience, but the game’s toughest challenge for those who reckon they’re the bees’ knees and want the shiniest rewards the game can offer. The near-certainty with Apocalypse mode is that you’re going to die, horribly, again and again: but then you chose to play a mode called Apocalypse.
A recent bunch of tweaks to the game included a fix for certain damage reduction modifiers that were working better than intended (letting players absorb way more hits than they should’ve done). Following this, a lot of players found that their previously unassailable gear was in fact pretty assailable and they were all of a sudden dying fast in the hardest difficulty. This didn’t make them happy. The initial feedback was basically a lot of moaning (thanks, GamesRadar+), which led to Gunfire Games’ developer Tragic suggesting that these folk who “were used to the full ‘invuln’ build, or were speccing deep into Fortify, were getting way more DR than they should have and are now taking the damage they should have been taking.”
This didn’t quite quell the hordes and in a post on the game’s Discord one user said that the “bug feels much better than the bug fix.” This prompted a response from Tragic that I can only describe as magnificent.
“That’s because you probably play on Apoc and used Fortify to tank hits you shouldn’t have,” said Tragic. “Apoc isn’t meant to be a free pass to ignore damage. It’s called Apocalypse. It’s not called ‘I get 3 orange slices and a medal for participation.’ We will adjust some values if they need to be adjusted.”
There is something quite poetic about a player getting annihilated in both the game and the Discord server. Perhaps the only necessary context is that Gunfire is constantly fine-tuning the game’s damage values, and has had to fix a bug in Apocalypse whereby players weren’t getting the right orange slic- sorry, loot. So there are legit things for players to complain about. But apocalypse mode being brutal? Nah.
“Lol, that’s pretty vicious from a dev,” said player StoneRevolver. “Good on him though. In general I wish devs were more rude to people who say stupid shit. They sure have to put up with a lot.” Other players suggested that Survivor, the game’s default difficulty mode, should be renamed to “I get 3 orange slices and a participation medal”.
The response has sadly now been deleted, with others at Gunfire perhaps deciding that the brutality should be localised to the game itself. But I kind of love it. Mastering difficult games can be one of the hobby’s great pleasures, and in particular I enjoy the experience of running through third person combat games on increasingly tougher settings: I haven’t played Remnant 2 on Apocalypse, but I’ve completed Ninja Gaiden 2 on Master Ninja, Bayonetta on Infinite Climax, and various DMCs on Dante Must Die difficulty. That’s not even because I’m especially good, it’s more a kind of determined belligerence. The one thing that never occurred to me, however, was to complain about these games handing me my ass again and again. And if I had, I think the developers would be well within their rights to say: what do you want? A cookie?