Veteran studio Housemarque (Resogun, Nex Machina, Alienation) lands on PS5 with one of its most ambitious games ever. Discover eight key ways Returnal pushes design, technology and gameplay boundaries on a new generation of hardware.
Arid deserts, frozen wastes, exotic cave systems and more await on the mysterious planet of Atropos. Move through each as the story progresses, encountering unique hazards and challenges as well as entirely new species of flora and fauna.
The world of Atropos is constantly in flux – you’ll never encounter the same place in the same way twice. Each environment also presents a living ecosystem with shifting weather patterns, dense fog and particulates that respond to your touch, and vegetation that bristles about you.
Death is both inevitable and cyclical in Atropos’ strange temporal climate, but rebirth is almost instant. Using the advanced streaming power of PS5, you’ll move seamlessly around this strange alien world, hopping instantly between warp points and transitioning between vastly different regions in a heartbeat.
Housemarque’s prior releases have typically focused on a ‘flat’ field of play – the lateral, looping motion of Resogun or the top-down chaos of Nex Machina – but in the shift to a third-person view, Returnal gives the team a broader scope than ever before. Jump, climb and hook shot your way to better vantage points, surveying the alien landscape or unlocking secret areas.
While the lush environments are breathtaking to behold, you won't want to hang around too long. Atropos is filled with hazards and traps. Consider your route through the world carefully and be prepared to think on your feet as you navigate complex traps to secure scarce resources or overcome tricky platforming challenges to reach hidden areas.
Housemarque has always filled their game worlds with hidden depth – secret stages to unlock, weapons to collect or bonuses to pick up – and Returnal keeps up that tradition. Crucial resources aren't always in plain sight: hunt and gather, build your weapons and supplies, and not only will you live longer, you might uncover more information about the bizarre reality within which you're trapped.
Stranded and alone on the uncharted planet of Atropos, take on the role of deep-space ASTRA scout Selene and traverse hostile, unfamiliar environments in search of rescue. With only limited resources and little knowledge of your surroundings, set out from your downed ship Helios towards the source of a mysterious broadcast signal known as 'White Shadow'.
Selene’s story combines the eerie, cosmic horror of interstellar exploration with an intricate time-travel narrative. The result is a gritty, high-concept science fiction story entwined with intimate themes of isolation, trauma and loss.
With only an isolated signal broadcast to follow, your journey reveals a world that at first seems entirely alien, but which gradually reveals impossible visions of your own past - an eerie psychological trick played by the ever-moving world of Atropos.
Selene's story depends on your own will to uncover it. The events triggered by her arrival on Atropos are only the beginning: explore the world thoroughly and search out its hidden secrets to reveal the truth behind what is happening to you.
Returnal's unique design harnesses two enduring staples of 2D design - bullet-hell action and roguelike progression - and reimagines them in a fast-paced, free-roaming, third-person adventure that marries spectacular fast-paced shoot-outs with a thrilling blockbuster narrative.
In classic roguelike style, every death cycles your journey back to where you began, but that doesn't necessarily mean starting over. Whilst some items and upgrades will be left behind, others persist beyond death becoming powerful permanent enhancements.
The world is radically reshaped each time you set out and the obstacles you encounter alter vastly. This new and unfamiliar territory brings with it new threats: cunning traps, enemy ambushes, hidden resources and brutal elite foes stand between you and every new attempt at escape.
You’ll discover all kinds of weapons as you fight your way through Atropos, each with its own particular strengths. From rapid-fire carbines like the Hollowseeker to the slow, thunderous rapport of the Spit Maw; the reliable stopping power of your standard-issue sidearm to otherworldly abilities of the Eletropylon Driver.
Atropos is alive. From chittering, betentacled beasts and scouring, red-eyed sentinels to mucus-slinging, mis-shapen monstrosities and colossal bipedal monoliths, threat is ever-present. Each lifeform poses its own challenge, dive-bombing you with attacks from above, blasting you with particles or binding you in viscous webbing.
Collect and install unique 'Traits' that add devasting secondary fire modes to your weapons. Unlock passive abilities like 'Explosive Counter' or pick-up useful consumables like 'Shield Vials' by interacting with the strange Xeno-tech devices you encounter around Atropos - scavenging the world lets you build your loadout as you go.
Making use of PS5’s advanced I/O architecture and super-fast SSD, Returnal’s vast game worlds can be rendered in incredibly high detail, with higher fidelity models and art that load in an instant.
Using the DualSense’s innovative adaptive triggers allows for unique multifunctional trigger systems where different firing modes can be activated by applying different pressure to the triggers.
Experience a heightened sense of immersion as you explore Atropos, with the DualSense haptic feedback able to simulate the feeling of heavy mud underfoot, or raindrops falling on your suit.
Enjoy greater immersion and spatial awareness as you move around the world, with audio that takes account of the environment and position of sounds around you.
Housemarque’s use of eye-popping visual effects – with screen-filling particle pyrotechnics – has become the studio's signature. The power of PS5 pushes that vision even further with full fluid simulations controlling weather and environments alongside innovative particle animations for enemies and environments.
Experience high-fidelity ambient lighting that is specifically designed to adapt in real-time to Atropos’ dynamic environment.
Placing gameplay at the forefront of all it does, Housemarque maintains the highest standards for performance. Thanks to the incredible power of PS5, the blistering combat and brooding visuals of Returnal’s unique world are delivered at a consistent 60 frames-per-second and a 4K resolution.
While dying loops you back in time, your physical remains are left behind for other players to discover in their own worlds. The rewards to be reaped from these corpses are numerous, but be very careful: on Atropos, death is not always what it seems.
Outside the main campaign, test your skills in unique Daily Challenges. In this specifically devised mode, you must complete a single biome under unique conditions that change how you play, limiting your access to weapons and skills and forcing you to improvise as you go.
The scores you rack up in Daily Challenges will be added to global leaderboards, where you can face off against friends, set high scores for them to beat and challenge yourself to better theirs.
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