It's been almost a year since Remnant From the Ashes released. 2019's sleeper hit developed by Gunfire Games took us on a journey through a shattered world, facing terrifying evil across diverse locations. Now, ten months later, it's back with something more for fans to sink their teeth into with its latest expansion, Remnant From the Ashes: Swamps of Corsus.
Anybody who originally played through Remnant From the Ashes will remember the Corsus area and how it seemed emptier than the other destinations. The bug-ridden swamps played host to a variety of new areas and foes, yet desperately lacked in dungeon encounters and specialised loot. Gunfire Games took heed of this criticism, making the title's first expansion act as a correction to this, bringing a newer, upgraded version of this ancient world.
The Swamps of Corsus expansion pack delivers a diverse spread of new content to the area, from new enemies types through to four new dungeon encounters, bosses, three more weapons, mods, loot variants and a quest line, all of which makes the area feel more rewarding than it did initially. By adding all of this content, the expanded biome of Corsus does feel more worthwhile, however, for a paid expansion of this sort, you can't help but feel as though something more is needed, which is why the best part about the Swamps of Corsus expansion isn't actually reflective of its namesake.
The second addition making its way to the live game as part of the Swamps of Corsus expansion is the Survival Mode, a roguelike experience bringing one of the toughest challenges to the title. It's set as an entirely separate mode, meaning you don't carry any of your campaign items over to Survival, instead you start from rock bottom.
You begin in a section of the Labyrinth, the area of the game that allows you to travel between worlds, and there you are surrounded by strange pillars and a single 'World Stone'. Wearing the bare minimum and armed with nothing but a measly pile of scrap and a base pistol, you have the opportunity to buy a few upgrades from these unusual pillars before interacting with the stone and travelling to a random biome. This is where the Survival experience truly begins.
Ending up anywhere from the base game - either Earth, Rhom, Corsus, or Yaesha - you'll have to push through the world, without being killed, making it to a boss encounter and defeating that boss before you can travel back to the hub to purchase more upgrades. It may seem very similar to the story mode; however, this time there's permadeath, meaning you either make it to the end or you have to go back and start from scratch. You can find loot throughout each playthrough, but these items are largely tied to upgrading your traits and bolstering your character and are not as focused on lethality or your ability to survive.
To make matters even more challenging, Survival has several features designed to elevate the difficulty. When landing in an area, every six minutes, the enemies will become stronger, deadlier and harder to kill. Likewise, Dragon Heart consumables are limited, and the only way to obtain more is from lucky drops from enemies, which means making the most out of healing is absolutely crucial. Furthermore, loot is harder to come by and the available items to purchase from the vendor stones are randomised, making it much more difficult to find a weapon that suits the scenario you face. If there was one word to describe what Survival demands, it would have to be "adaptability" because the mode demands that you accomplish a lot with very little.
The really ingenious part of this mode is how it appeals to anyone who has a reasonable knowledge of boss encounters and enemy types. Got twenty minutes to kill: jump into Survival. Want to push yourself to the limits, see how far you can go in a single run-through: jump into Survival. Whether you're a new player or an endgame grinder, Survival can be appealing because of its broad range of ways to play, either as casual fun or as a hardcore test.
Roguelike modes such as Survival are largely rooted with permadeath mechanics and whilst they may seem a little overwhelming to some players, they largely do make for a new experience. In fact, these styles of gameplay are really enjoyable to jump into because they don't ask for a huge amount of your time in exchange for a complete experience, even if they do put emphasis on the gravity of each decision, should you wish to make it to the end. The main issue with Survival, however, is the limits of its permadeath because every time you leave the mode, you lose all your progress and have to start all over again. This can be particularly annoying as it takes away your character's progress from that run, with the only alternative being to leave your PC on indefinitely to preserve your playthrough.
The additions made in the Swamps of Corsus expansion and their affordable £7.19 price tag makes for a solid, rewarding experience for any fan of Remnant From the Ashes. The more developed world of Corsus, mashed together with the challenging yet enjoyable Survival roguelike experience is a great way to get back into the expansive world of 2019's sleeper hit. Whether you enjoy a stern challenge or just a bit of an adventure, Remnant From the Ashes has something to keep you entertained.