The Dark Souls franchise contains some of gaming’s most stunning moments ever committed to disc. Elden Ring is no different, but sharing these breathtaking scenarios with others has never been a strong point for FromSoftware. Remnant 2 knows that fond memories are always made better with friends, and its co-op multiplayer defeats the biggest boss that has always stared down the Bloodborne developer.
When I initially played the first Dark Souls game, I hated it. I truly hated it. Yet, something inside me spurred me on to give it another go, to see past the initial hurdles of difficulty. Fast-forward to my 22nd birthday, where I am gifted Dark Souls Remastered, everything just clicked into place. Across the multiple times I finished the game’s main quest line, I came across other players, requesting their help in my darkest hour to obliterate tougher foes. I’d call upon my friends too, but more often than not, FromSoftware would get in the way of itself with frustrating parameters to use Dark Souls’ multiplayer.
Had I consumed souls at a bonfire to reverse my hollowing? Had I found my co-op buddies’ summon sign in the exact location it was planted? Would summoning random players improve my chances or not? While Elden Ring makes positive improvements to playing with friends, it still isn’t just a straightforward experience. Even when I had gathered my allies together, FromSoftware’s bosses never really felt like they were meant to be played in a trio.
That’s why Remnant 2 is such an amazing breath of fresh air for the genre. It’s a purely no-bullshit approach. As soon as you unlock the Worldstone in Remnant 2, bang, you’re ready to take on the game with others. It really is that simple.
Better yet, there’s no messing around to get going. While the Remnant 2 PS5 invite issue was an obstacle during its early access period, joining friends and inviting them is just as easy as it is in multiplayer juggernauts like Modern Warfare 2, Apex Legends, or Fortnite. There’s an actual menu for co-op play, displaying all your friends and the option to hop in with them.
If you prefer to meet random players using the best Remnant 2 classes across the universe, then the game’s world menu makes that a breezy endeavor too. It may seem odd to be so enthusiastic about a feature that is commonplace these days, but FromSoftware has ensured that I don’t take it for granted in other soulslike games.
It isn’t just the actual act of inviting or joining players where Remnant 2 improves over its rivals, either. Remnant 2’s flexible Archetypes serve to offer up individuality for each player, but they interact with each other in a symphony of destruction. While I utilize the brute force, weapon, and melee-focused combination of the Gunslinger and Challenger Archetypes, my friends are weaving together ultra-effective healers that buff our trio to new heights.
But we aren’t locked into those classes forever. There’s no need to make another character for instances where your friend might prefer to take the fight head-on, while you provide the support instead. Remnant 2’s Archetypes can be swapped out and changed around, thanks to the ease of acquiring 10 Remnant 2 trait points.
It’s a degree of player freedom that isn’t quite as open to experimentation in Elden Ring, Bloodborne, or Dark Souls. You’ll have to respec your character or make a completely new one in a FromSoftware adventure.
There’s merit to that, especially for players who like to start from square one, but it isn’t conducive for co-op. Even when you make a new character in Remnant 2, Gunfire Games’ care for the co-op experience shines again, as you’ll automatically skip the opening prologue and be ready for action.
Though Remnant 2 sets an example of how to soulslike multiplayer correctly, I worry that not many other games will follow. Lords of the Fallen is poised to be the next game that champions this same ethos, with “seamless” co-op said to be a core part of its design. The latest gameplay showcase reinforces this too, but we’ll have to see whether it delivers on these affirmations when the Lords of the Fallen release date arrives.
Should the day arrive when FromSoftware decides to answer all our prayers with Bloodborne 2 or even the coveted Bloodborne remaster, please just do one thing: fix your multiplayer.