Remnant 2: The Awakened King DLC Review – Royal Pain

Gunfire Games' first paid expansion for the shooter offers a decent new quest, a strong Archetype and some worthwhile items.

Posted By | On 04th, Dec. 2023

Remnant 2: The Awakened King DLC Review – Royal Pain

Gunfire Games’ Remnant 2 is one of my more enjoyable gaming experiences of 2023. It had its fair share of issues with performance, the camera and dynamic threat generation, but procedural biome generation, overhauled build crafting, and stellar combat were pretty great. However, when the developer announced three story DLC packs before the base game was even out, there was some concern because Remnant: From the Ashes’s DLC is a bit mixed.

After playing The Awakened King DLC, which takes a few hours if you simply kill the main boss, I’m not sure what to think. It’s set in the world of Losomn, with The One True King awakening from his slumber, driven mad and seeking vengeance for betrayal at the hands of the Fae. The Council is annihilated, and the king is seemingly intent on routing on the rest. He even employs (read: forces) the Dran, who have been subjugated by the Fae since the two worlds combined, to assist.

"I enjoyed venturing to different parts of the base game’s worlds and seeing what secrets lay in each corner."

Thankfully, you don’t need to wait for the DLC’s content to roll in Adventure Mode and can load a one-shot world with all the content ready. When you enter the new area, the Forlorn Coast, you’ll see the king’s castle in the distance and make the long trek to get there. Losomn already had a strong Bloodborne vibe, with the crazed Dran hounding you through the streets, and the DLC is no different. The new areas, like the Drowned Wren and Derelict Lighthouse, offer unique layouts and routes, with new loot to discover and enemies to kill.

However, you’ll face several of the same enemy types as the base game – from firearm and sickle-wielding Dran to Armored Fae Soldiers – which can lead to severe deja vu. The Dran Fiend is new and pretty annoying, especially in tight corridors. They’re not too annoying in pairs but throw in other enemies and maybe an Armored Dran Fiend, and their numerous projectiles become a pain.

This is all the more reinforced when at least one Aberration from the base game, Gorge, appears at one point while a new one, Gorecarver, is essentially a tankier version of the Chainsaw Dran. Even one of the new bosses, the Sunken Witch, is simply a boss version of the Lesser Sunken Witch. The fight itself has enough mechanics going on, whether it’s the narrow corridors making up the arena or her constant spin-to-win, so it’s not a bust.

I enjoyed venturing to different parts of the base game’s worlds and seeing what secrets lay in each corner. While that remains true for The Awakened King, the Drowned Wren eventually annoyed me with its sealed-off paths, locked shortcut doors and roundabout ways of accessing areas. The dynamic threat generation also seems exceptionally egregious in one part, which overwhelmed me with multiple Dran, Dran Fiends, and more. I’m unsure what’s happening here since the challenge felt mostly fine elsewhere.

Remnant 2 - The Awakened King_02

"Several areas and environments are serviceable."

The One True King’s castle is somewhat better, though I felt it could have been expanded more. The architecture and aesthetic are immaculate, feeling unique with its fantasy vibe while presenting a brutalist front. There are also some cool areas, like the Walk of Remembrance and its dual-world motif, which fits the nature of Losomn, even if it’s simply two halves of a hedge maze (which has some interesting secrets). Some new enemies, like the Dual-Wielding Dran, are more prominent here and present a decent enough challenge.

The Aberration is enjoyable to fight, but Bruin, the Blade of the King, is a more epic encounter. He’ll quickly try to strike with his blades, even leaping around and smashing down, but isn’t above hanging back and raining down multiple blades that explode after some time.

Eventually, it’s time to face The One True King. His attacks deal extensive damage but can be telegraphed well, and standing around in one place while he spews on you is a great way to end up dead. I also liked the mechanic revolving around his hammer, which has multiple Fae strapped to it. Damage it enough, and they’ll break free, climb on his back and bring him down briefly before being summarily dispatched.

Overall, the fight was good, but didn’t quite offer the same spectacle as the base game’s bosses. Maybe it’s because many of them, whether it’s The Nightweaver, Sha’Hala or even the final boss, felt so unique and truly distinct from each other, while The One True King, despite his hype, is a teleporting giant that tries to smash you with a hammer.

Remnant 2 - The Awakened King_05

"I wasn’t particularly enthralled with weapons like the Abyssal Hook or Monarch, even if the latter’s mechanic is unique."

Of course, it also doesn’t help that there’s not much else after he’s defeated. You can discover lore and learn more about who potentially caused the betrayal that drove the king mad. There’s also a complex side quest chain revolving around finding a Dran across multiple worlds, spawning some interesting theories about the overarching story. However, it feels like The One True King, the titular boss of the DLC, is a non-factor once he’s dead. Even Nimue, trapped in the castle’s basement, or the Dran guarding her in fear of the king’s wrath, are pretty nonchalant about this legendary terrifying monarch meeting his end.

As for the other new content, I wasn’t particularly enthralled with weapons like the Abyssal Hook or Monarch, even if the latter’s mechanic is unique. The new Ritualist Archetype is fun and presents a potent damage-over-time playstyle. Even if I was already electrocuting enemies left and right with Enigma, being able to Terrify them and refresh the duration of negative statuses with Eruption while causing an explosion to take down multiple at once is fun. It also pairs well with the new Lighthouse Keeper’s Ring, which generates Mod Power for each enemy suffering a negative status within 10 meters.

There are several other Rings, Mutators, Amulets and Weapon Mods to discover, and coupled with everything else, The Awakened King is a decent addition to the base game. Several areas and environments are serviceable, while the boss fights can be challenging. However, I didn’t have that sense of awe or desire to re-roll the world to see what new World Boss would spawn or secrets I’d discover.

remnant 2 dlc screenshot

"If it’s your first time playing through Remnant 2 and you roll a version of Losomn with this content, it may offer some fun variety."

Instead, I was turned around endlessly in the Drowned Wren, trying to reach the Derelict Lighthouse and earn the Sparkfire Shotgun after accidentally using the Lighthouse Key on the wrong door. It’s not the best feeling in a game where revisiting content is one of the biggest appeals. Some may get a kick out of unraveling its different secrets, but the fact that performance issues still crop up, especially in busier areas with more enemies, is not ideal.

Different people will view this DLC in different ways. If it’s your first time playing through Remnant 2 and you roll a version of Losomn with this content, it may offer some fun variety. However, if you’re counting on this to be a substantial addition to the main game, enough to stand on its own with a compelling narrative, The Awakened King isn’t fully there. At best, it’s more content, adding to the build variety and sheer amount of item-collecting, peppered with some intriguing secrets and a few decent bosses. Nothing more and nothing less.

This game was reviewed on PlayStation 5.


THE GOOD

Some of the new enemies are fun to fight. There are some viable options among new items. The aesthetic is solid with a few well-designed areas. Intriguing secrets that have a larger impact on the series. The Ritualist Archetype is strong and facilitates some great status builds.

THE BAD

Some environments, like the Forlorn Coast, feel overtly familiar to the base game, while others, like the Drowned Wren, are annoying to navigate. Several enemies from the base game are reused and a few of the new ones, like the Dran Fiend, are not fun to fight. Out of the new weapons, only a few feel exciting and fun. Some performance issues, especially in busy areas with several enemies.

Final Verdict:
FAIR
The Awakened King isn't a terrible addition to the base game, even if its highlights don't quite reach the same highs. While the content is decent and offers some fun new gameplay options, it's nothing amazing.
A copy of this game was purchased by author for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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