Returnal

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a game by Housemarque Ltd.
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Third-Person Shooter, Psychological Horror Games
Returnal
Returnal
Returnal
Returnal

When it comes to grand space operas, you’ll likely be in one of two camps. You’ll either think that all the tropes and cliches we have seen throughout the last few decades have milked all they can from the genre. Or alternatively, you’ll be a sucker for these titles and will pray that a video game developer can bring the detail, storytelling and unique aspects that shows such as Firefly have managed down the years. Well, thankfully the game industry hasn’t given up on this genre and Returnal is the next AAA offering aiming to blow us all away.

While we don’t know exactly how this game will play, we do have a rough idea of what the studio is going for. The closest comparisons that we can draw to existing titles are Mass Effect, Dead Space and Lost Planet. But it also has roguelike features akin to titles like Hades or Rogue Legacy. This is an ambitious and promising title but do we think it will live up to the hype? Find out in our review for Returnal.

Seeing In The New Era

One of the things that the next gen gaming platforms have been guilty of has been not offering us with titles worthy of the ‘next-gen’ branding. Thankfully, we might start to see less of this as more flagship titles arrive on the platforms. Returnal is keen to show why it earns the title of next gen through the use of incredible haptic feedback functionality to provide incredible immersive moments. Plus, thanks to the use of the adaptive Dualsense triggers and incredible visual displays on screen, the player can’t help but sit back in awe of what is on offer.

Then with regards to the world-building and the story on offer. We have to say, we are a little more reserved. While in terms of action and spectacle, it is hard to fault this area of the game. We have to say that the story doesn’t do a lot to suck the player in. The worlds on offer to look a quite open, empty and devoid of any interactive aspects or points of interest. Now, we could be wrong here because the info about this game is still limited but from what we have seen so far, we just fear that we could have another Anthem on our hands.

Still Has a Lot to Prove

Then we move onto the combat for this game and it’s the same story as above. From the outside looking in, the combat looks reasonably good and mechanically it all seems to work. However, there were no animations, moves, systems or enemy attack patterns that made us stand back and take notice. The issue here is that while it all looks the part, none of it really stands out or feels unique and in a saturated field like an otherworldly shooter, you need to stand out somehow or face mediocrity.

What we do like about this game is the roguelike nature of the progression and the fact that the area is unmapped. So the player has to get to know their surroundings intimately and the game doesn’t hold your hand to make this possible. It’s definitely a strong point of this title but we feel that without strong core gameplay and a compelling storyline, this game may become stale after a few hours.

The Verdict

Overall, Returnal does show a lot of promise ahead of its full release. The visuals are striking, the Dualsense compatibility is reportedly a step up from anything we have seem outside of Astro’s Playroom. Plus, the combat while not mindblowing does look like its been put together to have some depth and complexity to it.

7

However, we feel that this game will struggle to keep players invested, the story will fall flat and the shortcomings in various other departments could make this one rather forgettable. In short, this one could be what Anthem could have been, or it might be what it is now. Only time will tell.

Pros:

  • Visuals are sublime
  • Dualsense functionality is reportedly very strong
  • Combat seems to be complex
  • Unmapped navigation is a fun touch

Cons:

  • We are sceptical as to whether the story can deliver
  • Combat doesn’t seem to have any unique aspects
  • World design looks very open and empty

Download Returnal

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

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