Returnal PS5 review: No one can hear you cry “DAMMIT I DIED AGAIN!!!” when you’re in space.
RETURNAL could be the best PS5 exclusive to yet, and potentially a contender for game of the year.
I got my grubby hands on a PS5 for the sole intention of playing Bluepoint’s recreation of Demon’s Souls, which turned out to be great, as a huge Dark Souls fanboy. However, aside from the obviously wonderful free game Astro’s Playroom, the PS5 has become something of an expensive (and big) ornament; there haven’t been any additional PS5 releases that I either care about (sorry Miles Morales) or aren’t also available on PS4.
As a result, I opted to purchase Housemarque’s PS5 exclusive Returnal as soon as it was released, even though I wasn’t sure how well its unique blend of third-person shooter, bullet-hell arcade action, roguelike features, and full-fledged horror would work. I didn’t have to be concerned; the game is a true masterpiece that engrossed me for weeks. I’ll now try to explain why this amazing title kept me coming back again and again and again, much like the destiny it inflicts on its main character.
During a scouting mission, an astronaut named Selene — a rare and welcome example of a middle-aged female heroine – crashes-lands her ship Helios on a distant planet. When everything that moves or grows sets out to murder Selene as swiftly as possible, the planet Atropos proves to be as hostile as a medbay full of xenomorphs.
Because the game fully intends – and expects – you to die many, many times, it will murder her. Your first death reveals the twist: Selene is mysteriously resurrected after each death, reliving the trauma of the crash and stumbling out of the wreckage into a familiar – but strangely re-organized – alien world, armed only with a rudimentary pistol, to resume her exploration and battle for survival.
Of course, my earlier Alien reference was intentional, since the game is definitely influenced by Ridley Scott’s film trilogy, though it pulls more from the Prometheus end of the acid pool.
The lighting and particle effects in Atropos are so stunning that you might forget to keep shooting (for the love of god, keep firing), and the game runs at an astoundingly smooth framerate despite the. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”