Remnant 2 The Awakened King is Shakespearean Cluedo with guns

The journey is as much the destination as the boss in The Awakened King, as Remnant 2’s DLC brings new maps, old dungeons, and a royal pain.

The Ritualist kitted out in the Zealot's outfit against the backdrop of the Forlorn Coast.

Wakey wakey, rise and shine, because the multiverse just got a little bit bigger. The Awakened King DLC is the first installment in a trilogy set to expand Remnant 2’s three primary worlds of Losomn, Yaesha, and N’Erud. While N’Erud’s biomechanical aesthetic has a special place in my heart, this one-shot adventure takes me back to Losomn to wrap up my favorite storyline. The One True King’s conspicuous absence has served as the throughline of the sundered world, leaving a power vacuum filled by all manner of would-be successors that proclaim his death. In so many words, I am assured: “He’s not dead, he’s just sleeping.”

Well, he was. Now, he’s very much awake and hell-bent on revenge against the subjects that lulled him into his slumber. This not-quite-murder mystery lies at the heart of Remnant 2’s Awakened King DLC. Who betrayed the One True King? Was it Leywise, the flamboyant royal scribe intent on catching the next boat out of the city? Nimue, the enigmatic goddess who regards the king’s treatment of his own subjects with contempt? Or perhaps a consortium of conspirators from the king’s own council? This narrative hook keeps me devouring the flavor text of discarded books and exhausting the dialogue options of incidental NPCs in the action-adventure game.

The Ritualist approaches the palace of the One True King in the Remnant 2 Awakened King DLC.

Story aside, it’s the Forlorn Coast that steals the show. Remnant 2’s hub worlds are typically a liminal space between dungeons, often replete with quest-givers and waves of enemies – and while they’re certainly fun to explore, they give the overall impression that they’re simply a means to an end. In contrast, the Forlorn Coast is a complex labyrinth. Its paths don’t just branch off to dungeon entrances; instead, they twist around themselves in a strikingly Soulsian fashion, as I navigate around locked doors that later reveal themselves to be shortcuts. This map could easily become as disorienting as N’Erud’s alien desert, but Gunfire Games has segmented the Forlorn Coast into sub-areas replete with imposing points of interest. I move seamlessly from the sewers to the streets to the docks, and I find myself able to orient myself within a space that could actually function as a city. Throughout my journey, the palace of the One True King looms large and imposing, a behemoth of visual dissonance that cuts through the landscape – my obvious destination.

Amid the Forlorn Coast’s conflict, I wade in as the great equalizer between the Dran and Fae. If there’s one thing these two factions hate more than each other, it’s outsiders, and I tear through their hostile forces indiscriminately as I progress. If you’re looking for masses of new enemies and dungeons, you’re liable to leave The Awakened King disappointed. However, in the spirit of quality over quantity, the latest additions to Remnant 2’s bestiary and dungeon pool all leave a lasting impression.

The Forgotten and Witch, two enemies new to the Awakened King DLC, stand over the fallen body of the Traveler in the sewers.

I venture into the Forgotten Commune, a side dungeon that serves as an extension to Losomn’s treacherous sewers. While the sewers aren’t my favorite location in Remnant 2’s multiverse, this new map forces me to switch my long-held approach to combat – namely, charging forward with my gun raised. Instead, the Commune’s Dran-infested cisterns boast a refreshing verticality that forces me to dodge carefully, or risk rolling right off one of the rickety wooden platforms that make up its pathways. My survival is complicated further by the Forgotten, a deceptively challenging new foe partial to discharging toxic pustules that explode on impact, inflicting area denial in an already claustrophobic space.

However, The Awakened King is still beholden to Remnant 2’s procedural generation. Several Losomn dungeons make a return, and while their appearance is underwhelming on the face of it, it’s not entirely old news. The Great Hall’s feast is now dedicated to the One True King, and the Feastmaster himself has plenty to say about our prissy pal, Leywise – he even bestows upon me an all-new quest item once I complete the event. These relatively small changes go a long way to enrich the spaces within the palace that I’ve already visited in the base game. That said, a trip to The Great Sewers for a rematch with the Bloat King proved to be my greatest disappointment. Not only is it my least favorite boss encounter, but the dungeon itself lacks any significant change necessary to take the sting out of being forced to encounter it again in the DLC.

Once I’ve wrapped up my detour to incidental dungeons, I continue my excursion up to the palace ramparts, and I’m delighted to look down over the Dran’s ramshackle Victoriana and pick out those points of interest that towered over me just a few hours earlier. From this point onwards, I’m ensconced within the crumbling high fantasy of the Fae leading to The Awakened King DLC’s final boss – and I don’t think you’ll need three guesses to work out who it is. Remnant 2’s One True King is a colossal figure of petrified wood and golden filigree that coalesces into a traffic cone coronet that puts Pyramid Head to shame. His magisterial voice fills the royal chambers and my headphones, putting me in mind of Christopher Judge’s booming performance as Kratos. He’s angry, but he’s not out for blood – at least, not yet.

The Traveler approaches the One True King at the culmination of The Awakened King DLC in Remnant 2.

Like Yaesha’s Red Empress and N’Erud’s Tal’Ratha, I’m presented with the option to swear fealty to the One True King. I’m inclined to do his bidding, but then (alas) I betray him, just like everyone else. I attempt to lie my way out of trouble, but it’s not to be. The One True King rises from his throne and initiates a boss fight that forces me to time my dodges carefully and pay attention to stray minions to avoid a near-instant death. This fight is brutal, but remarkably clean, and his collection of well-telegraphed attacks that dole out a hefty punishment is a nice change from the bullet-hell cadence of most world bosses.

If the Forlorn Coast and the One True King represent two defining pillars of The Awakened King DLC, then the Remnant 2 Ritualist is undoubtedly its third. This latest archetype harnesses the power of harmful status effects, and makes the risk-reward of gray health and burden rings actually worthwhile. The ultimate alone is worth the respec – a satisfying AoE explosion that becomes more powerful the more status effects you apply to enemies. Its low cost and stackability also serve to break my terrible habit of holding onto my ultimate ‘just in case.’ Instead, I often rely on it for a final burst of damage to put a decisive end to a skirmish, safe in the knowledge that it’ll be available to use again before I know it.

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There’s no question the Ritualist has bags of potential and offers a playstyle I’ve hungered for since the Remnant 2 release date. However, it’s also a highly specialized class, and the mileage you get out of it varies depending upon the Remnant 2 mods and equipment you have at your disposal. Thankfully, Gunfire Games clearly understands the limitations of chance and has flooded the Awakened King DLC’s loot table with weapons, rings, and mutators that bolster status effects and mod power. While my own hoard of prospective build components results in a passable Ritualist, it’s hard to complain when it gives me a solid goal to keep me coming back for seconds and thirds.

I’m also curious about the dialogue paths not yet traveled after I conclude my first playthrough. Remnant 2 is rife with possibility – it’s baked into its gameplay loop – and I’m already gearing up to swerve betrayal and actually do the king’s bidding, just to see the outcome. Who knows, perhaps I won’t even commit regicide this time?

If you’re ready to explore the Forlorn Coast for yourself, check out how to unlock the Remnant 2 Awakened King DLC, as well as our Remnant 2 archetype tier list for the best class to see you through to the One True King – at least until you unlock the Ritualist, that is. Finally, check out our Remnant 2 review if you’re curious to know what we thought of the base game.