At least we have the PC version of Returnal. Without hesitation, we got to work on the Returnal PC review. We can consider Returnal as the first new game developed exclusively for PS5. Except for Demon Souls, which is exclusive to PlayStation 3, it was the first game developed specifically for the console and used the console’s features wonderfully.
Moreover, its magnificent images, solid action and interesting story fueled by horror elements were among the praiseworthy aspects of the game. The first time Returnal PS5 version of Housemarque, which has made shoot ’em up games before, was loved by almost everyone.
Returnal PC review: Is it worth to play?
I was quite happy when they announced that Returnal, which was released exclusively for PlayStation 5, would come to PC. When I made the mistake of playing Returnal when it came out and added the goosebumps save system (or lack of it) on top of the game’s downsides, I wasn’t happy with my experience at all. So, how was the PC version, are the bad choices still standing, how much the keyboard – mouse support has helped the game, all in our review.
ASTRA I had an accident again
We control the character Selene, who receives a strange call for help in Returnal. The strangest part of the signal coming from the planet called Atropos is that Selene is the only person who knows the secret message. Selene, who made a hard landing on Atropos, manages to survive, but her ship breaks down. After a short walk, we find a corpse and audio recordings that we don’t remember recording. The corpse we encountered is our own, and the audio recordings claim that we have experienced much more than we remember.
Returnal takes a concept I love and combines it with horror elements and sci-fi to deliver an intriguing story. We discover the events that took place through the sound recordings we find in the environment and the notes left by the previous inhabitants of the planet – the holograms. On the other hand, we witness Selene’s reckoning within herself.
While playing on PlayStation, this story didn’t interest me much because the game got on my nerves so much that I started to ignore the story. In the PC version, I was able to follow the story more carefully, thanks to both the updates since its release and the more comfortable playing with the keyboard and mouse, and I am generally satisfied with what I saw. It creates tension, it raises various questions in your mind, it has a great atmosphere that really keeps you on your toes up to a certain point. I wasn’t very satisfied with the ending, I can’t lie about that.
Still, I am happy with the story, we progress a little more in terms of the story every time we return to the beginning in the loop, we read the notes in the surrounding thanks to the signs we have just learned, we visit the places that should not be in Atropos and discover our past. This is all fun because now I can play the game! I seriously thought why this game wasn’t like this when it first came out on PlayStation 5. As the chapters progress, the unfolding of the story slows down and the pace slows down a bit, but it’s still good.
Breaking While Trying to Break the Cycle
Returnal is based on the roguelike and metroidvania genres, but underneath it’s a shoot ’em up game sneakily hidden. You start the game with a lousy weapon, defeat your opponents and find new weapons, and you try to complete your adventure by progressing on the maps that have been recreated each time. The game has maps with different concepts and you have to progress by exploring these sections. As you progress through the story, you find new permanent equipment and use them in places you’ve seen before but couldn’t reach. If you die, you lose everything and start over.
If you’ve followed the articles I’ve written so far, you know that I love roguelike and metroidvania games, and I’m even playing it for the review of Metroid Prime Remastered, a review will come soon. I was very happy when I first saw this game, but I felt cheated while playing it. This game is officially a shoot ’em up, with roguelike elements just a cover to prolong gameplay. It works, it’s not bad, but the genre of this game is wrong!
I said the game encourages you to explore, but it also punishes you for exploring. Seriously, you’re in a foreign land and have to explore your surroundings to learn, but you’re instantly punished by enemies or losing a piece of your precious life. Moreover, this event is purely a matter of luck and you are very likely to leave with a lousy reward from the struggle you enter to take risks and become stronger.
There is currency falling from the enemy, if you say that I will buy temporary improvements, that is another problem. You take down the enemy, the crystals fall and start flashing almost as soon as it touches the ground. All of them disappear before your eyes, the game is officially making fun of my effort. There are 3 powerful creatures in the room, give me a little time, right? With some temporary improvements, we can increase the time they stay on the ground from milliseconds to seconds, but this is also insufficient. The game constantly asks us to take risks, to put forth our precious life and adrenaline.
Speaking of adrenaline, it’s a mechanic that rises as you kill enemies, increases your reaction time, and makes you officially stronger. The problem is, when you get a hit, all the adrenaline goes off. You clear enemies for 3 – 4 rooms, and then they all reset just because your feet touched the water or you fell out of sight. Let’s collect it again, you try to take a hit in the first stage in boss fights and complete all 3 stages with zero adrenaline.
Enemies usually do area attacks, you need to dodge attacks from all directions quickly and you must kill the enemy at the same time. In shoot ’em up games we looked at from above, we did this somehow, but in the third person camera angle, it is very difficult to detect threats coming from all directions. We need to be constantly on the alert, and each shot we fire must find the target. Even with the slightest wrong choice, your 4-hour game can be garbage. Another thing that distinguishes it from roguelite games is that it takes an average of 4 hours to take the game from start to finish. In fact, the shortcuts are opened as you progress, but when you enter the second zone with a 1st level weapon, you understand why you need to grind a little first.
The thing that pisses me off about the game is that it doesn’t respect your time. You always start from scratch, and none of the upgrades you receive make you feel stronger. It’s like games made in arcades just so you can spend more coins. At least now you can save and exit in the middle of the game, so the “you’ll just play me” compulsion has been lifted.
You’ve been told so much, if you say why are you still playing, the answer is simple, the game is very fun. The battles are exciting, the new weapons and the secondary shooting modes of these weapons are nice to use, it is a good feeling to strengthen the character with the improvements, the boss fights are fun. You die for a ridiculous reason (I died because I sneezed, for example), you get angry and leave after half an hour, “This time I’m going to kill you!” You enter again. Thanks to the keyboard and mouse support, I started to enjoy the action seriously.
The game also has co-op support, if you want, you can go as an assistant to a player or take an assistant with you. I didn’t have a chance to try too much, I couldn’t find any players in early access, but as far as I’ve experienced, there is a very fun and trouble-free co-op mode.
You can also enter the free DLC pack Tower of Sisyphus, which is added later, directly in the PC version. The struggle for survival, where you move from room to room and try to survive against the enemies that come at you, allows you to experience the battles, which are the most enjoyable part of the game, without getting bored. I definitely recommend you to try it.
Atropos Looks Beautiful on PC
Returnal looked great on PlayStation 5, and the PC version doesn’t lag behind. In the game, where we got the chance to see the different climatic conditions of Atropos, the places look magnificent, even if the enemies are camouflaged due to the space coverings, it looks great and the dozens of explosive light attacks that come upon us are visually dazzling. Sometimes you can take damage while thinking “what a nice attack”, be careful.
The word I can use for the PC performance of the game might be “unstable”. I usually play with 60 fps fluently, I’m glad that there is no fps drop or stuttering even in the most crowded environment, then the fps drops suddenly and this is usually a deadly problem, because the game has a system based on reflexes. In this problem I had with the 2060 video card, I explained the problem to the card, but I have the same problem with the 3070. It also gets stuck in cutscenes or there may not be audio and video synchronization. A performance update will likely come.
The best feature of the PlayStation 5 console that sets it apart from the others is DualSense, no arguing about how successful it is. When Returnal came out, it made great use of DualSense, with haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and even the speaker rated to impact gameplay. These were already mentioned in the Returnal review, I just want to say that all these features are also available on PC as well. If you have DualSense, you can connect it and experience PlayStation 5 on PC. I tried a tour to see if it works, although it feels great (especially in alternative attacks), I quickly returned to the keyboard-mouse duo. I didn’t have a chance to check the Pulse 3D support as I don’t have this headset, so I can’t comment on that.
There is one more piece of information I need to give on the PC side, besides the game, Epic Games Online Services and its interface (overlay) are loaded. This is because it brings the crossplay feature between Epic and Steam. But it installs it without asking you and you can’t uninstall it. There was a similar situation in the Saints Row game before, it was forced to load. Crashing issues and stuttering are usually caused by lousy overlay problems, which may be the reason why this game is having problems. I haven’t seen an explanation yet. It bothers me that every company stubbornly installs overlays and launchers.
Returnal PC Review: Conclusion
I eagerly tried the PlayStation 5 version of Returnal and was very disappointed. Knowing what to expect this time, I played the PC version and came across a much more fun game than I expected. I’m still not satisfied with the cheap tactics made to make the game longer than it is, but it is a more playable game than the first version. Moreover, you can save and exit the game whenever you want. Taking a break between long and tiring sections is a really good feature.
The PC version of Returnal is on sale on Steam and Epic Games. The official price of the game is $ 60 and this game is definitely not a game at the $ 60 level. If you are interested, I suggest you catch this game on sale or try it.
It’s a great game if you think of it as a different approach to “Shoot’em Up” type games that we call “Bullet Hell”, not like roguelike. The PC port has some technical issues but these will be resolved quickly. The PC version of Returnal, which I can give the PS5 version a maximum of 65 out of 100, managed to make me love the game again.