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Remnant: From the Ashes Runs Wonderfully Well on Switch

Switch port performance isn't always excellent, but Remnant remains a cut above the rest.

In a subgenre choked with contenders, Remnant: From the Ashes perhaps isn’t the most universally known “Souls-like” around. Indie darlings like Hollow Knight, as well as flashier and more direct successors like Nioh, tend to stand out from the pack. Whereas Remnant – with its gray-brown cityscapes and vaguely modern military weapons – blends in with a thousand other third-person shooters. Now that the 2019 game has come to Nintendo Switch, however, it’s as good a time as any to remind people that Remnant absolutely rules.

Don’t get me wrong: it still doesn’t make the most striking first impression. That issue is as apparent on the handheld console in 2023 as it was four years ago. Remnant: From the Ashes is technically the sequel to an even lesser-known game called Chronos: Before the Ashes (note the similar title) originally designed for VR. The newer game opens with your custom character sailing away from some unspecified land, references to a dragon, and a cutscene suddenly dropping you into a post-apocalyptic 20th century city with a gun, a leather duster, and a whole lot of evil tree people. Where you come from and why isn’t really set up for those that didn’t play Chronos.

The game’s opening hours are challenging and confusing, then. And the game doesn’t make itself any easier to swallow by looking so very glum, either. You might be left wandering those early, empty streets, asking why exactly you’re traipsing through this somewhat familiar world. What motivation do you have to proceed?

Well, the excellent gunplay certainly serves as propellant. Shooting and looting in Remnant feel as good on the Switch as they did on PC and other consoles before them. And while the port doesn’t look as technically impressive (despite its thin color palette, strong draw distances and lighting make the PC version look stunning in its own way) the Switch version runs shockingly well. I’ve seen nary a frame dropped in my time with the game – which is crucial when a well-timed dodge roll or reload means the difference between life and getting squished by some demonic troll. Though you should set your expectations in the “30 frames per second” range rather than the 60s.

If there’s a glaring issue with the Switch version, it’s… well, the Switch itself. The developers have done a fine job eking strong performance out of the aging and underpowered hardware. But the hardware is not the most ergonomically designed for precision shooters. Playing in handheld mode, you’re at the mercy of joy-con analog sticks that just weren’t built for this sort of game. At least not to the degree your standard Xbox and PlayStation controllers were. When playing docked, on the other hand, your mileage may vary according to any pro and/or third-party controllers you’ve purchased.

Get over these humps, however, and you get to the real meat of Remnant. There’s a notable shift early in the game that completely changes your environment – sending the player and any co-op buddies to all sorts of different, notably more fantastical worlds. Some of these are also dark and drab, but the game keeps things fresh with semi-random dungeons and bosses according to each. All of which unlock entirely new skill paths for your character to add to their arsenal.

It’s an interesting progression model that takes as many cues from Mega Man as it does Demon’s Souls. Though it especially shines when you roll into a randomized “Adventure Mode” pulled straight out of Diablo, which is included in this version of the game by default alongside the rest of the post-release DLC.

As you can probably tell, Remnant owes a lot from games that came before it. Though each and every borrowed bone is strapped to a strong back. The core loop – find a dungeon, roll through, beat a boss, get a new skill – has a tried-and-true quality that just feels like the perfect way to spend an evening with some friends. Translating the weight and danger of Dark Souls combat to gunplay shouldn’t feel this good, but Remnant manages to make your rifles and shotguns feel impactful while still putting you in danger from particularly nasty bosses.

The Switch version simply makes a great game accessible to more people than before. You really can’t say no to that.

About the Author


Senior Managing Editor of Fanbyte.com and co-founder of the website. Everyone should listen to their opinions and recommendations sooner.