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Returnal Tips and Tricks

Returnal Tips and Tricks

Returnal is not a game for the feint of heart and definitely not a game for the casual player. Resolve and determination are required to push past some of the early losses, deaths, and setbacks, because, like any rogue, you are meant to fail, learn, fail, and try again. There are a variety of things I learned with respect to the combat, movement, and controls that helped me navigate some of challenging fights and enemies that were giving me grief. Also, the game has baked into it shortcuts and quick routes back to where you previously were in order to make death a little less painful. These Returnal tips and tricks should help you not just play better, but enjoy your time more in the world.

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There are three pivotal things that I started leveraging during combat that made a HUGE difference in my survivability and maintaining my precious health and adrenaline. First, do not ignore your mini map during combat. Yes, the mini map. It’s massively helpful when multiple targets are converging. Especially the bats. Screw the bats.

Second, movement is faster than you might think, so push the character to her limits. Often times this means you need to apply a motto that many gamers repeat in brutal combat genres like Returnal: don’t get greedy. Your adrenaline is massively important, so don’t maintain a position for a few more bullets if it means getting hit.

Third, do NOT aim down sight. This sounds completely backwards, but it makes a huge difference with respect to agility and breaking away from shooting at the precise moment you need to. The animation of coming out of ADS will often times be just enough to ensure you take damage. Also, try changing L1 to ALT-fire.


The biggest shortcoming of this game is the failure to communicate how much progress you have made, and how quickly you can jump back in to the thick of it. Biome 2 is the best example I can give from own experience.

Rather than spending a bunch of time re-treading Biome 1 for guns, health, artifacts, and parasites, you can jump right to Biome 2 once you’ve earned it. This enabled me to snag a handful of quick upgrades in the first few areas, and I was right back in the swing. It turned into a near victory at the second boss after only 5 career deaths.

This is an element of the game that will help get you back into a groove rather than feel like you are “slumming it” in the earlier areas just for gear and power that you will quickly get in the next area. I’ve been told that Biome 3 has a similar shortcut but that some Biome 1 time is helpful before jumping right back into 3.


Do not be afraid to spend currency when you know the item is going to be a huge help for you. Adrenaline Leech is one of my favorite Artifacts to buy whenever I see it. So I will save and loop back in order to snag it whenever I find it. I’ve also found Ether being worth spending at the beginning or at any Reconstruction station if you know you’re headed to a boss.

Currency paralysis is not worth entertaining in this game, and experimentation is the only way you learn good and hard lessons. For example, I picked up a parasite that didn’t let me interact with healing Silphium, and it became quickly apparent I had made a tactical error.

While some use the “ship bed” exploit for easy healing, I have found that well spent currency and leveraging of valuable artifacts is often better for recouping valuable health stores rather than constantly looping back to the opening area. So spend, experiment, learn, and improve. Don’t stall out. Better to learn and fail that stagnate.

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