After Demon’s Souls at the launch of the PS5, Sony will offer its players a new exclusivity for PlayStation Studios at the end of April: Returnal. A game cooked by Housemarque (already at the top of Super Stardust, Resogun, Materfall, or even Dead Nation) that calls itself a villain-lite-oriented 3D shooter. A game that has been running on the Lemon Squeezer PS5 for a few long days and it is high time we gave you our opinion.
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Return, the test on PS5!
The return puts the player in the position of Selene, a space traveler whose ship accidentally crashes on the planet Atropos. A planet full of secrets that we of course have to visit from top to bottom to learn more about the local fauna, about this strange civilization, but also about the past of our heroine. For this it will be necessary to reach the end of a time warp that seems to keep Selene constantly returning to the crash zone after each death …
You will understand that Returnal is not a game with “classic” progression, but a representative of the rogue-lite genre. Understand a game where you have to accept dying often and start the adventure over, sometimes with a little extra element you learned in the previous run. Obviously, with each new run, the environment is changed and the objects to be restored on the battlefield are also repositioned.
Like a Hades or a dead cell, each new run offers a whole new experience generated randomly, but also (and most importantly!) Generally allows you to go a little further, learn a little more about the story and yours To get hands on a new object … To better start the next run.
In Returnal, Selene’s little tacker will quickly give way to more powerful weapons, all of which are equipped with secondary fire and unlockable abilities. In this regard, Housemarque’s game makes perfect use of the DualSense controller in terms of vibrations, but also triggers, for example with two levels of pressure on the L2 button to trigger the target of the primary weapon or the secondary weapon. Excellent.
It is wonderful ? Is it new
On the gameplay side, we are faced with a particularly nervous 3D shooter (with a solid 60 fps and 4K resolution) that attaches great importance to action, particles and the willingness to take risks. Indeed, the enemies are often very numerous and some will attack you with a balloon fired at you and then you will have to master Selene’s dodging to get between enemy projectiles. Killing multiple opponents without being hit will increase an adrenaline meter that unlocks certain skills. The same goes for weapons with an XP gauge that increases with each enemy killed and improves the effectiveness of the weapon used.
In other words, it is not advisable to rush to the return, but to take the time to visit the secondary areas (indicated on the map), refuel with energy, XP or even alien parasites, which can improve certain skills. Each biome is made up of many rooms to visit and obviously ends with a good old family boss in multiple stages with a fairly dark Soulesque difficulty.
Because yes, you should know that Returnal is a difficult game … damn difficult as a lot of players may never see the boss of level 3 or even level 2 … nothing insurmountable of course, but it is, in fact, it will be the one Accepting death in Returnal and learning to tame this gameplay both nervously, which will lead you to be pounded, but which can turn out to be punishable very (very) quickly. Add to this a game that (almost) never takes the player by the hand and that allows them to discover all the elements of the game for themselves, even if it means losing it a little along the way.
Don’t panic, if Returnal (very) often requires you to start over at your first crash point, you won’t be forced to go through all the first levels again. Indeed, a linkage system makes it possible to speed things up, even if, as explained above, it will be very difficult to survive in the higher planes without taking a minimum of time to “stuff” yourself. For example, it is very easy to get from the first to the third zone by following the indicated path to the teleportation portal … assuming you of course killed the bosses of the first two levels first.
No, it’s a real PS5 game!
As mentioned above, Returnal is a true marvel for the retina visually. In addition to a 4K display with 60 fps, the game is full of details, with environments full of life and phenomenal particle handling. It must be said that Housemarque is an expert in this field. In addition, there are lighting effects of breathtaking beauty, very detailed textures, but also excellent management of the 3D audio space. Note that the game is also under the lightest load, the prerogative of the next generation consoles for several months.
The same goes for the gameplay, with extremely detailed clashes that leave no room for chance. In fact, as the game progresses, the fights (even the most innocuous) take on the atmosphere of the choreography, and evading your melee attack a little late or mismanaging your melee attack can quickly have dramatic consequences. Despite some very busy streaks, the game engine never showed the slightest sign of weakness on our part.
Overall, Returnal is a game that creates a pretty phenomenal atmosphere, with a little Metroid Prime page for the maze side and the ability to revisit areas and dead space for its “Alien Shooter” page. Despite everything, the game signed by Housemarque manages to impose its own identity, and despite a very high level of difficulty and a random aspect that can be frustrating, we keep restarting the game to finally manage to get rid of this damn boss!
So yes, but …
Be careful though, despite its many features, this new return is clearly not the kind of title everyone will enjoy. First of all you have to stick to this “3D Space Shooter” atmosphere, but also accept to die very often and to restart the game over and over again …
Of course, the world changes in a procedural way, and every run is meant to be different, but the principle and general requirements of the game, which are very high, can cause DualSense to fall prematurely (or even throw) many players … try One that has everything you would expect from a “next-gen” game, with a very attractive rogue-lite recipe, but quite repetitive by nature, and therefore sure to make you very happy. but also a few disappointed.
In addition to (minor) disappointments, we will also mention an arsenal that, although made available, ultimately contains a lot of pretty useless weapons. In addition, there is an action that is sometimes illegible, but also cannot be completely saved. Don’t hope to start a run, then save it in the middle to continue playing later. For this reason, the PS5 must be left in standby mode. A power failure, a game change, a spontaneous update of the console with a restart afterwards … and you then lose the entire progress of your current run. Angry …
Our opinion on the return
There’s no denying that Housemarque is making a formidable return to the championship. A game that takes advantage of a well-designed universe, an achievement of falling backwards, and that offers excellent hours of play in the company of Selene and the hostile creatures of the planet Atropos. However, the “Rogue Lite” side (and therefore both repetitive and random), as well as the general difficulty of the title, can surprise and disappoint more than one curious person. But as long as you stick to the formula and accept death as a second chance rather than punishment, you risk having a great time with Selene and finally getting “full eyes” »as you had been hoping for since November 19th bought your PS5. And of course, like any good villain, when it’s over … it’s not over yet. In summary, Returnal is a bit like Metroid Prime, meeting Dead Space and Dark Souls sitting with Hades and Dead Cells. And it’s sadistically good!
Finally a real PS5 game! Nervous and precise gameplay Room for improvement Audio spatiality! Impressive! This desire to start over and over again …
We like less
A very (also?) Full-bodied difficulty Repeating, absolutely … No backup ?! Some low interest weapons frustrate more than one player