Returnal - Return All

I was shocked to discover we don't have Returnal Return All yet! (Probably because robots still have most of the PS5's.)

Anyway, here's a thread for the game.

Thanks. I was thinking about starting one but hadn't decided.

Here are the vidoes I have watched about the press demos

This one is the first 17 minutes (why 17 and not 15 or 20 who knows) so be warry of spoilers.

Another one with possible spoilers

There's no thread because (1) I didn't get a PS5, otherwise I'd have been all over this thread and (2) they've barely showed the game. I'm SO glad they're finally showing us something other than quick hitting cuts.

Housemarque is one of my favorite devs, so I'm so curious about the game. I fear it's gonna flop hard since it's basically a $70 take on Risk of Rain 2, which costs $25 or whatever.

Returnal shows that Sony can still be weird and daring

There's been understandable concern recently about Sony's reported obsession with blockbusters that are too big to fail - the God of Wars, the Horizon: Zero Dawns and the god-forbid-it's-real The Last of Us remake - so it's quite remarkable how Returnal has arrived within mere weeks of the story like some kind of rebuttal. This is one of the most daring, dazzling and straight-up different big ticket games to come from Sony since Death Stranding.

Is it any good? After half a dozen hours scrambling through a game dense with systems and mystery it's hard to say. Is it interesting? Abso-f*cking-lutely.

How does Returnal work, then? It's a roguelike at heart, built around a moody sci-fi time-loop premise that sits neatly with the genre staples - die, die and then die again, all while an unknowable alien world rearranges itself each time out. The loop's as snappy as others of its ilk, the underlying risk/reward making everything agreeably intense. Chain three enemies together and you'll gain an adrenaline level that'll grant you a status effect; chain another three and you'll stack another effect again until you max out and can make the screen explode with the press of a button - take a hit, though, and you'll go back down to zero.

There's a fair bit of 70s sci-fi in Returnal, its aesthetic lifted liberally from Alien with foggy passageways and dank caverns in the first of its six biomes, its menus and displays told in fuzzy phosphorus green. The story is told in the moody ellipsis familiar from the likes of Control and it's shot through with enigma throughout, though while there's a tale to be unravelled this isn't exactly a cinematic blockbuster.

Instead Returnal is brilliantly, deliriously video game-y. It wears its influences on its sleeve - there's a flash of Metroid Prime in lead Selene as you take control in the first-person introduction, and when the proper third-person action starts there's something of Super Metroid in the rain-dashed ruins and the stricken ship you can return home to. It's there in the mild gear-gating - there'll be doorways you won't be able to open until you've acquired the melee weapon, for example, and already I'm seeing ledges and passageways I'm not yet equipped to reach, but which I'm fairly sure I will be soon.

Like Death Stranding this is an indie that's epic in scope, and likewise it's not a game that comes up short when it comes to spectacle. Is it triple-A or isn't it? I'm not sure if there's a scientific way to determine that one way or another, but I can tell you that Returnal's credits run just as long as any Hollywood movie (just under 18 minutes, if you must know - I felt compelled to find out myself, anyway) and you can probably tell for yourself that it looks frankly outrageous.

Will a hard-edged shooter go on to find the same broad acclaim as Sony's other blockbusters, and how well will the final thing hold together over the course of a full playthrough? I'm not entirely sure of that either, but I do know this. There's never been anything quite like Returnal, a big ticket blockbuster with action that would do Eugene Jarvis proud. I'm itching to go back and play some more.

I expressed my skepticism about this game several times in the PS5 based on early showings, but the newest trailer won me over:

Early footage concerned me because I couldn't tell if Housemarque's 2D expertise was going to translate effectively to a 3D shooter. After watching and reading a few impression pieces, it sounds like they nailed that transition. I'm also very happy to hear that the game seems to be more about dodging and positioning than pinpoint shooting.

garion333 wrote:

Housemarque is one of my favorite devs, so I'm so curious about the game. I fear it's gonna flop hard since it's basically a $70 take on Risk of Rain 2, which costs $25 or whatever. ;)

I'm also a little worried about it since every online discussion of this game seems to be dominated by talk about the price. I think people are desperate for next-gen games to play on their new systems, so hopefully it will sell well if the reviews are strong.

I had Returnal marked down as Sony's first big "hit" in 2021. I think there's a decent chance I might earn at least some partial credit on that call!

It definitely has me sold - sci-fi with some horror elements that seems to be pulled off well? Unapologetically a video game even while it plays with some other ideas? Heck yeah.

Dyni wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Housemarque is one of my favorite devs, so I'm so curious about the game. I fear it's gonna flop hard since it's basically a $70 take on Risk of Rain 2, which costs $25 or whatever. ;)

I'm also a little worried about it since every online discussion of this game seems to be dominated by talk about the price. I think people are desperate for next-gen games to play on their new systems, so hopefully it will sell well if the reviews are strong.

Thems the breaks when your release schedule is barren and this is one of the first real new games for your record-breaking selling console.

To be fair to all the price discussion happening, oh, everywhere on the webs, the animation is the only thing that looks truly amateur. Housemarque hasn't ever had to do animation like this and it shows. That's fine though, this isn't meant to be The Last of Us. In fact, if the animation has been shaved in order to tighten the control then that's the exact right decision and one I'd expect Housemarque will make every time.

If this game does anything, I hope it brings about a discussion about action game feel because that's one area Housemarque excels well above and beyond most other devs outside of Nintendo.

All previews I've read so far have been very positive, I hope this translates into the first true PS5 classic of this generation (that's not a remake). That's a good point about it releasing at a time when the schedule is a bit barren garrion, that might give Housemarque a chance to get out of the gate with strong enough sales.

I haven't watched any of the last couple of videos as I want to experience the environments, weapons plus learning more about Selene & the overall narrative myself.

I was thinking about price again & I've bought some absolute AAA duds over the years at full price & I feel like I've robbed indie studios for masterpieces (Hollow Knight £10.99 on release, Resogun - free, Outer Wilds under £15, Slay The Spire under £20, Nex Machina around the £15 mark).

I've sunk 160+ hours into Resogun & got a ridiculous amount of replay value out of Nex Machina, both games are peerless in the arcade genre imo. If they transition that into the 3rd person shooter I've no doubt this will be a game I'll be playing for the rest of the year & beyond.

I've got Returnal pre-purchased on the PS Store, as soon as the clock hits midnight next Thursday night I'll be ready to test it out.

Returnal is the only PS5 exclusive that's interested me outside of Demon's Souls, but as others have said, I can't find one anyway. Between the two of them, I'd happily buy one.

I have noticed the Risk of Rain similarity garion mentioned, although I haven't played RoR (1 or 2). I do note that RoR has multiplayer - although I wonder if that matters? In the old days, I would need to convince a number of my friends to risk (ha!) $25 each on the game just to try playing it together to see if we liked it. That could be difficult. Nowadays, we share tons of games in common, thanks to Gamepass. We've tried a bunch of different multiplayer games together as a result.

Anyway, that's unrelated to Returnal. It definitely looks awesome, and since I don't have a PS5 anyway, I will sit back and let the reviews and word of mouth roll in.

*this is the only preview that has said the game is hard.

Let's Play Returnal - Returnal First Hour Gameplay PS5

Tagging.

Whilst I do not yet have a PS5, I do have a lot of love and appreciation for Housemarque. They're a magnificent development studio with some truly fantastic games behind them. I hope Returnal finds an audience. It looks a great blend of story and lore mystique, with traversal and combat engagement. I cannot wait to go hands on.

From the Twitter-verse
*love the alt-text for the graphics!

PlayStation Game Size
@PlaystationSize
Police cars revolving light Returnal (PS5)

Right-pointing triangle Download Size : 56.101 GB

Green square Pre-Load : April 23
Brown square Launch : April 30

Yellow square #PS5 #Returnal

@Housemarque

I’ve seen a lot of video game media people who seem to miss that returnal is a combo of return and eternal, because that what you do in rogue-likes, return eternally

IUMogg wrote:

I’ve seen a lot of video game media people who seem to miss that returnal is a combo of return and eternal, because that what you do in rogue-likes, return eternally

*headdesk* Their minds are going to be blown when we tell them that Pokemon means "Pocket Monster".

This game is completely not for me - I'm no fan of roguelikes, I don't like shooters, I don't like bullet hell shmups, I don't have any fondness for endless virtual-quarter-munching arcade games, and I prefer a linear story well-told, but...wow, does this game look fantastic. Just visually it's stunning, and while watching a number of preview streams of it on YouTube I've repeatedly found myself holding my breath from tension as enemies chase and flank Selene. From what I gather, the use of the DualSense and the 3D audio is really well-done; this really seems like the first genuine PS5 game (no disrespect to Astro's Playroom). Well done, Housemarque!

I'll definitely stream this one as soon as I'm able. I've barely looked at it because I'd like to go in as unspoiled as possible, but what I have seen looks stunning.

Evan E wrote:
IUMogg wrote:

I’ve seen a lot of video game media people who seem to miss that returnal is a combo of return and eternal, because that what you do in rogue-likes, return eternally

*headdesk* Their minds are going to be blown when we tell them that Pokemon means "Pocket Monster".

This game is completely not for me - I'm no fan of roguelikes, I don't like shooters, I don't like bullet hell shmups, I don't have any fondness for endless virtual-quarter-munching arcade games, and I prefer a linear story well-told, but...wow, does this game look fantastic. Just visually it's stunning, and while watching a number of preview streams of it on YouTube I've repeatedly found myself holding my breath from tension as enemies chase and flank Selene. From what I gather, the use of the DualSense and the 3D audio is really well-done; this really seems like the first genuine PS5 game (no disrespect to Astro's Playroom). Well done, Housemarque!

I'm typically not a fan of roguelikes, but I've like some recent ones like Hades and Dead Cells. And I not usually a fan on bullet hell games, but I enjoy action heavy 3rd person shooters like Outriders and Control. So I could possibly go either way on this game. It is hard for me to consider trying it for $70. Maybe if there is a demo. I often get sucked into chasing the new shiny thing, but $70 really makes me think twice. I'm not saying $70 is too much for all games or even this game. It just makes it harder to take a risk on a new game I'm unsure about. This is the type of game I would usually buy a physical copy of so if it didn't click for me, I could sell it or trade it in.

This is directly up my alley!

Sure hope it comes to PC sometime.

I'm looking forward to playing this as soon as they launch* the PS5.

*And, by launch, I mean I can get one without having industry connections, a small army of bots, or enough disposable income to pay scalper prices.

20 minutes into this they talk about returnal

https://youtu.be/pg0ZJKGvWKI

IUMogg wrote:

I’ve seen a lot of video game media people who seem to miss that returnal is a combo of return and eternal, because that what you do in rogue-likes, return eternally

It’s actually a portmanteau of Return and Urinal, and there is a twist that reveals the protagonist’s timeloop powers are all urine-based.

Time loop games really are a thing now!

Thanks for the 'Hostiles' video, Dyni. Looking at those enemies, I'm getting a Souls vibe (Souls crossed with a Shoot 'Em Up, I guess).

And for that reason, "ahm oot!" 10 years ago, I would have been all over this (though perhaps not for £70!), but now I'm too old, too lazy and too time poor to play games that ask me to learn enemy attack patterns and to perfect my dodging techniques. Also, I find the combination of the RNG for the dungeons, enemies and loot, together with the lack of permanent upgrades, really off-putting.

I hope everyone who buys it enjoys it though.

ruhk wrote:
IUMogg wrote:

I’ve seen a lot of video game media people who seem to miss that returnal is a combo of return and eternal, because that what you do in rogue-likes, return eternally

It’s actually a portmanteau of Return and Urinal, and there is a twist that reveals the protagonist’s timeloop powers are all urine-based.

*immediately pre-orders*

Launch trailer:

I've seen numerous comments that the haptic features are as good as or possibly better than Astro's Playroom. That's exciting to hear.

I'm assuming reviews will drop tomorrow, so fingers crossed they're as positive as the early impressions have been.

I think this will be a watch others play game.

Returnal is harder than Dark Souls, apparently

One user said that the game is "really difficult and unlike other roguelike games, you can't upgrade your character. You start off weak every time you die. Only you can get better which is going to cut off a lot of players who are not good at these kinds of games. You can't just grind your way to be better and get past a hard area. Can see this being a major complaint for a lot of people who are expecting this game to be a high paced shooter when in reality, I find it harder than demons souls, a game which I platinumed."
In Returnal you lose everything when you die or when you leave the game. You can’t even pick your weapon because everything is randomized. You can’t “cheat” it by backing up your save game either, because you get wiped out when you exit the game and will respawn at the start of the act. It’s very punishing because you need to run through large portions of the game again if you die, and some enemies can kill you in 2-3 hits.

I never heard about this in the game’s marketing materials which seems like the first thing they should tell consumers. If you want a challenge, this game is great, and I’m all for it because we don’t get enough of these nowadays. But it will definitely take most players by surprise, especially if you never completed a Roguelike game before.

Arthur Gies has apparently been playing it and was talking about it on his podcast last week and he says you don’t lose everything on death, there are currencies you keep and permanent character upgrades that carry over between runs, which is pretty standard for a roguelike.
He had other complaints about the game but that wasn’t one of them.

Permanent progression puts it more into the roguelite side of things, but otherwise this is sounding very much like a roguelike. Good! Difficulty is partially what keeps roguelikes interesting to play over and over again.

Positive review from IGN.

ACG mentions that there is no save feature. Meaning you have to play through in one sitting or pause the game but leave the PS5 on until you go back to the game. Rather a deal breaker for me (along with the difficulty) because we have three PS5 users in the house and I can't just leave it for a day on one game.

ACG review

Returnal - Easy Allies Review

Push Square like it.

I have a feeling they're going to be forced to add some sort of save feature. I get what they're doing but not having any save ability to put the game down and come back seems a bridge too far.

Chuffed to see great reviews across the board & I hope the critical reception tempts more people to buy Returnal tomorrow or over the weekend. I'd be extra delighted if it hits no.1 in the UK charts.

I am surprised about how hard reviewers are saying this is, I do like a challenge though & regularly got killed in Hades well before a completed run. The adrenaline system sounds friggin excellent too, kill 3 enemies without getting hit, you get a bonus like extra damage, I think there are 3 tiers to this & each one you go up gets an extra bonus. Blessing (the co-host of PS I Love You XOXO) said he'd he got extra gunfire at the highest tier. This sounds like an expansion of their brilliant multiplier system in Resogun & Nex Machina but more so intertwined into the gameplay.

Hurry up midnight!