Are you the happy owner of a PlayStation 5 console? For reasons we all know, the PS5 is sold out everywhere, but that doesn’t mean game developers are on standby mode. In fact, Returnal, one of the first PS5 exclusives, just released, so it’s time to play it and see if we truly feel like being part of the next/current generation. Would you like to talk about a video game you probably won’t be able to try for a while?
The Need for a Game You Can't Have
Returnal, developed by Finnish devs Housemarque, was one of the games we all were looking forward to after the presentation of the first batch of PS5 native games. It definitely looks insanely good, colorful and photo-realistic yet, at the same time, dark and moody. Sadly, the lack of PS5 consoles is making people indifferent. They don't care about games like Returnal or the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, not because these are bad or uninteresting per se, but because most people won't be able to play them until—hopefully—next year.
It's a tough situation for Returnal, but luckily for all of us, it's a fantastic game nonetheless.
So, What Is Returnal About Anyways?
Simply put, Returnal is a big-budget third-person shooter. However, there's a twist: it's also a roguelike with a dark plot! In this game, we play as an ASTRA scout (something like an astronaut) called Selene, who was forced to crash-land on an alien planet... a morphing alien planet, mind you.
The planet is called Atropos, and it houses all kinds of creatures. It has deserts, snowy regions, swamps, forests, and since everything can change in the blink of an eye, it's hard to feel comfortable when investigating it. During her investigation, Selene soon finds out everything in Atropos is tied to an ancient civilization, but there's way more than meets the eye. All in all, this may look like yet another third-person shooter, but it comes with beautifully designed environments and a big mystery to solve—hope you like a little psychological horror, too!
We Have to Go Back
Returnal also comes with a gimmicky mechanic that actually works and makes it a unique experience. Whenever Selene dies on this planet, she revives at the crash site... without any weapons or items. That means there's a logical way to justify the roguelike mechanics, at least in-game, but it also means you really need to pay attention and think twice before acting if you want to make some progress. What's more, you can't manually save, so there's no way you can cheat the system. As you can tell, Returnal is not the most forgiving game you'll find, so you better not take it as a trigger-happy experience with trippy backgrounds!
The perfect combination of solitude and bullet walls is, for us, the reason why Returnal actually works. It's not a walking simulator with a creepy background and lots of unmeaningful symbolism, and it's not a generic shooting experience versus aliens either. They encourage you to take your time and explore this planet, paying close attention to all these eerie voice logs, yet they also make you feel like taking an extra second could be the difference between escaping deadly creatures and moving forward to a new place or going back to the crash site empty-handed.
Returnal, one of the first PlayStation 5 exclusives, is already available. Of course, we don't want any big spoilers, especially knowing that most of our readers won't have access to this game for months. However, we have to say that Returnal is one of those games that will make you want to pull the trigger—no pun intended—and become a part of the next generation of consoles, so please give it a try whenever you have a chance! It's a fresh concept, its shooting segments are fun to play, and it looks amazing on a big 4K TV!