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Returnal - Do you see the White Shadow?


Vemsie
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It wasn't a great example, but I didn't realise there were flying thingies until I was committed, after meleeing the turrents. Yeah, I know they track slower once they fire, but under a certain range it's basically an unavoidable attack if you aren't dodging.

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My incredibly slow progress continues, and I’m still loving it. Took the time to do a complete run through of b1 and b2 when I was having trouble with b3 boss and walked it as a result. Beyond just the feel of the game, the other thing it gets really right is never letting you feel like you can predict how it’s going to proceed. It keeps you wonderfully off guard.

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The credits rolled at 01:14 last night. The final boss fell on the first go. I mean how the fuck is that even possible in a game like this? I'll tell you why... its because by that point of the game you have become so immersed in the gameplay and the razor sharp controls that almost everything Selene does happens without you thinking about it. Its automatic. Admittedly, I had a regen machine stored up so while I did initially die within 10 seconds of getting to the boss that first time (I had about 40% health due to falling damage malfunction ruining me on the descent) when I made my way back with only a full 150% health bar I was victorious. Yes my almost full bonus damage, rapid fire Thermogenic Launcher was slightly OP but I had well earned that OP weapon during a nightmarish but also absolutely beautiful Biome 6.

 

Clearly I'm going straight back in today to figure out what the actual fuck is going on and simply keep playing it but this is easily my most cherished game completion since Devil May Cry 3 on DMD mode :) 

 

GOTY. Give Housemarque all the monies. The White Shadow is still out there!

 

 

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I've clearly reached the point where basically every run has some sort of awesome weapon due to all the unlocked traits. For my current run it's the Electopylon Driver with the Finisher trait, which basically chews through enemies.  Did B2 yesterday and both the Severed and those large flying tentacled things were dead before I knew it. Too much fun.

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So end of Biome 5...

 

Spoiler

No Boss ?!?  I was gearing up for a big fight but instead finally got the widget which enables underwater travel, I dropped into the pool in to main room expecting the bos but dropped into Biome 6!

 

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4 hours ago, MardiganX said:

Clearly I'm going straight back in today to figure out what the actual fuck is going on and simply keep playing it but this is easily my most cherished game completion since Devil May Cry 3 on DMD mode :) 

 

Completion, you say?  After reaching the credits for the first time, you say?  Hmm.

 

Get back in there.

 

(also, congrats on your progress so far).

 

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3 hours ago, tobert said:

So end of Biome 5...

 

  Hide contents

No Boss ?!?  I was gearing up for a big fight but instead finally got the widget which enables underwater travel, I dropped into the pool in to main room expecting the bos but dropped into Biome 6!

 

Yup. One can argue it's a collection of mini bosses.

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5 hours ago, catinthehat said:

 

Completion, you say?  After reaching the credits for the first time, you say?  Hmm.

 

Get back in there.

 

(also, congrats on your progress so far).

 


 

Spoiler

Ive picked up the first 3 sun shard things all in a single run so far. Like beating the final boss on the first run, it’s insane that I could progress through pretty much all of Biomes 1-3 without falling once. I assume these shards are permanent items now and I just need to grab the other 3 to keep things moving?

 

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36 minutes ago, MardiganX said:


 

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Ive picked up the first 3 sun shard things all in a single run so far. Like beating the final boss on the first run, it’s insane that I could progress through pretty much all of Biomes 1-3 without falling once. I assume these shards are permanent items now and I just need to grab the other 3 to keep things moving?

 

Yep

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Credit rolled for me first time yesterday 

 

Spoiler

I understand there is a "Third Act" and the game has dumped me back into Biome 3.  Does the third act just involve collecting things?  is there anything new (levels, rooms, enemies etc). I have really enjoyed the game but I am not one to spend hours going over existing levels to collect a few things

 

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I've played a bit more of this after credits, and also started a new game. I'm pretty confident I know what was going on with my game. Some of the bugs were simply me getting things wrong (I said there was a room which required a double jump to leave - it didn't, I had to finish the "optional" challenge room to get warped back). And some of them were probably quirks of the RNG, like items spawning inside geometry, missing chests or two identical rooms containing healing pods right next to each other.

 

What I think happened is - when you avenge a fallen scout, you fight a proto version of an elite/miniboss from that biome, at least most of the time. These were the enemies which were spawning in the first couple of rooms of my run, by themselves without me engaging the avenge option. Because they were spawning right at the start of my run I couldn't do much to them and they'd kill me in a single hit or two at most.

 

When I finished biome 3 and unlocked the

Spoiler

time jump

 

I immediately died in Biome 4, realised

Spoiler

I would spawn there next time


and put the game to sleep for a couple of days. It's at this point the patch came out which enabled the fallen scouts (I'd never seen one up to that point) and brought with it every problem I've mentioned in the past few pages. It was more or less perfect up until that point. I even streamed my run where I got through bosses 2 and 3 and posted the link here. I think that somehow my save became corrupted which caused a load of strange issues, but in the case of a spawning super enemies, any room which was seeded to contain a fallen scout, but didn't report "fallen scout detected" onscreen (about 50/50) automatically spawned the enemy without any interaction from me. In most cases I hadn't even seen the regular versions of these enemies yet as they appeared later on in the biome and I hadn't progressed. I couldn't tell you if killing it got me the reward or not because I was never able to kill one. 

 

Incidentally I got another new bug in my post-credits playing. I kept finding rooms which were completely empty besides a bit of razor thin geometry floating in the middle of the room which I could jump on like a platform.  A floating jagged 1 pixel thick texture hovering a few feet off the ground like a wrinkled magic carpet. Where the vending machine/device/chest was supposed to be. Which obviously made things a bit more difficult. 

 

Anyway I started a new game and none of these issues are present, but I'm going to wait for the next patch AND firmware update for the PS5 before giving it another shot and seeing it as intended. Because the core gameplay is brilliant and I'd like to max out all the weapons and see the true credits.

 

 

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2 hours ago, tobert said:

Credit rolled for me first time yesterday 

 

  Hide contents

I understand there is a "Third Act" and the game has dumped me back into Biome 3.  Does the third act just involve collecting things?  is there anything new (levels, rooms, enemies etc). I have really enjoyed the game but I am not one to spend hours going over existing levels to collect a few things

 


Yep, there’s no new game content per se, just an item in each biome to find.
 

When you have all six you need to do something else, and that gives you the ‘true’ ending. Most of those six things are easy to find. But some are linked to RNG and can require a lot of replaying of biomes.

 

Oh, and congrats on beating the game. Feels good, right?

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27 minutes ago, jonamok said:


Yep, there’s no new game content per se, just an item in each biome to find.
 

When you have all six you need to do something else, and that gives you the ‘true’ ending. Most of those six things are easy to find. But some are linked to RNG and can require a lot of replaying of biomes.

 

Oh, and congrats on beating the game. Feels good, right?

yeah feels pretty good, although by the end I had an amped up hollowseeker with Portal turrets and all sorts of extras so the final biome was relatively straight forward.

4 minutes ago, df0 said:

Also, know you now start from the place you mentioned. If you want to return to the very beginning, check the spaceship.

Gotcha

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I picked Returnal up the other week and I've had two major play sessions on it. I wasn't sure it would be my cup of tea because I'm not a huge roguelike or arcadey/bullet hell action fan, so thanks to @Minion for recommending it to me which pushed me over the edge to get it. 

 

First up the atmosphere is awesome, yes the graphics are great, but its the scale and visual design that really sell this alien world. The giant statues, epic vistas and dark environments constrasted with the neon glow of enemies and particle effects are a visual feast. The audio is superb, the dark sci-fi ambient music really adds to the flavour and although I was worried in combat the music would descend into heavy rock or techno, instead it manages to maintain the tone with added urgency. The 3D audio is a nice bonus and I've been revelling in the immersion.

 

From the trailers I thought the story and setting would be pretty generic but I'm actually really drawn in by it. I like that the loop premise is immediately introduced without dwelling on it, and Selene is refreshing as a no-nonsense scout. Instead of constantly babbling in your ear with questions and doubts, she just takes the information in stride and gets on with the mission, letting logs and flashbacks convey emotion instead. The drip feed of story is well paced so far, I'm excited when I encounter new logs and eagerly look forward to reading unlocked entries in the databases and monoliths. I thought the whole mind fuckery element hinted at in the trailers would be indie game 101 but it hasn't been overdone so far and there's any nmber of theories which could fit what's going on (I have to moan about the super cliched 'hand grazing over cornfield' trope though!).

 

I love the weirdness and sense of discovery in this game. When you're exploring biomes for the first time you never know what cool scenery you'll see, what enemies will show up, interesting new items and weaponry or secret areas. When I learned online that there were multiple biomes I thought that's cool, but experiencing them is like a starting a whole new game.

 

As for combat, this was my one of my biggest concerns but it was unfounded. The weapons are really satisfying to use, hit feedback is strong and the effects are awesome. Although it can get hectic I appreciate that using cover and tactics is still viable, and positioning is just as important as reflexes and aim. The different enemy types help mix things up and the mechanics like dashing, active reload, consumables and alt-fire all give you a lot of micro decisions to think about when you're running and gunning. The bosses and mini-bosses are challenging but don't feel unfair so far, even the bosses with open arenas have memorisable attack patterns so don't feel impossible (yet).

 

I really like the metroidvania stuff; locked off areas due to items you don't have, secret areas, the non-linear level layouts where you can usually decide what areas to tackle first. The mental logging of locked doors and chests to return to, that item you couldn't afford at the fabricator but now you can - all made something to look forward to revisting rather than a tedious backtracking chore thanks to the lovely instant fast-travel system and zippy movement speed. The upgrade and item unlock drip is compelling; each new pickup, weird alien machine or parasite is either rewarding or makes for fun gameplay decisions. 

 

From a roguelike point of view this is where my biggest complaint is. Hopefully a patch will come soon but as I mentioned earlier in the thread, the inability to save can make or break this game for me. I said I'd only had two proper sessions on the game. On the first session I played for maybe 3-4 hours, died a few times and eventually got to the first boss, who killed me although I got to his last stage (even with a second life thanks to that special consumable).

 

On the next big session I managed to beat the first boss thanks to a slightly upgraded character, a thorough rinsing of the biome and lots of upgrades. I ventured into the second biome, coming close to death a few times but finally making it to the boss. By this point I was rocking some good upgrades and weaponry. I died in phase 3 but had bought myself an extra life and managed to beat him on attempt 2 by the skin of my teeth, an epic battle. With new key item in hand I did I unlocked as much new stuff as I could in the biome before moving to biome 3. There I got through a few 'rooms' before accidentally dashing off a ledge into the abyss on low health trying to dodge missiles, unceremoniously ending my run. 

 

This had been an epic and satisying session - biome 1 and 2 fully explored and cleared (at least with the key items I had), loads of new artifacts, story snippets, upgrades and weaponry. The only problem was this took me about 4-5 hours. Yes, it was very enjoyable and a good chunk of time was exploration and learning. But I know that to stand a good chance against the bosses, or to survive biome 3, I will need to scour the environments and invest maybe 3+ hours getting back there, let alone making further progress. This is the main reason I haven't gone back to the game yet. Not only that, but to soak in the atmosphere I'd rather play at night, and having the mental energy for such an intense game means it isn't really one I can just pull up for a quick blast after work.

 

It's also the knowledge that should I manage to progress further, but not have the time or energy to carry on that session, my only option is to put the PS5 in Rest mode for half a day or longer, and I can't even play any other PS5 games until I continue my Returnal game (or lose my progress). That's just a massive barrier to me playing. Housemarque needs to get a solution pronto (and based on their responses they hopefully will). Right now I'm waiting for a day off where I have a big chunk of time free to invest in another mammoth session. I regularly binge on games in single sessions, but its different when the game is so intense, locked into Returnal with no Save and Quit option when I have a bunch of other PS5 games I'm dipping in and out of right now.

 

I know the game gets much harder and repetative in 'Act 2' but right now I have found the balance to be pretty good and I've really enjoyed what I've played. Returnal has a very compelling world dripping (literally) with atmosphere, with satisfying, challenging combat, an engaging upgrade system and lovely environment design. I just wish it was friendlier to the player's time or I would be binging it right now - looking forward to the patch addressing this one issue I have with it right now. It's been a nice suprise so far and another example of an action roguelike that has overriden my apathy for these kind of games, just like Hades did last year. I think the main difference is that in Hades I never finished it yet because I wasn't really engaged with the story, but if I can stomach Returnal's Act 2, I will probably stick with it to the end because I'm very sold on the storytelling and the world it has to offer. Well done Housemarque for expanding your boundaries!

 

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20 hours ago, Lyrical Donut said:

It can appear before or after the shop.


yeah got it after the shop, then found out I was missing one on level 3. Totally demoralised.


Also, anyone having trouble with bowtie fighters on level 3, do it this way (if you have 2 hours spare to brute force the things).

 

 

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Oh I’m loving this! I have no idea what is going on or where the hell I am but it’s great. I seem to be exploring mostly by mistake which is surprising. Wonderful use of the PS5 triggers too with the secondary fire option. First impressions are good.

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Bought this at launch and played for a week or so until I hit a bit of a wall in B2. Had a ton of other stuff to play but as I'm off today, came back to it for a quick blast. Managed to get a decent run going in B1 but I had to go out so stuck the PS5 in suspend so I could pick up when I got back, fully expecting that I'd probably get humped fairly quickly on my return or my game would be lost...nope, ended up a 3 hour plus run :) 

 

Happy to report that I got to Ixion for the very first time and took him down on my 1.5th attempt. I say 1.5th as I got to him with only half health and got to the 3rd phase before being killed. I'd already used up the astronaut on the way there, but as I'd had some good RNG and also had Voidbeam as my alt for the first time, I used the Reconstructor which was 1 room away from the boss and in a shop! Resurrected and took him down fairly quickly on that attempt lol.  

 

Died fairy early in B3 but now I'm looking forward to exploring all those rooms/areas that were previously out of reach in B1 & B2 :) 

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10 hours ago, SpagMasterSwift said:

Oh I’m loving this! I have no idea what is going on or where the hell I am but it’s great. I seem to be exploring mostly by mistake which is surprising. Wonderful use of the PS5 triggers too with the secondary fire option. First impressions are good.

I started Returnal last night and it’s a bit of a stunner. Certainly feels like a sci-fi take on a From Software game. 
 

Ever since I got a PS5 I’ve never got over how good the DualSense controller is. It’s light years ahead of anything else on the market. 

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6 minutes ago, vezna said:

I started Returnal last night and it’s a bit of a stunner. Certainly feels like a sci-fi take on a From Software game. 
 

Ever since I got a PS5 I’ve never got over how good the DualSense controller is. It’s light years ahead of anything else on the market. 


Totally agree.
Just got my PS5 yesterday. Had a quick play of Astrobot while Returnal downloaded, then straight into this truly stunning game. I made it to the first boss with low health and died on phase 2. Can’t wait to get back for some long sessions over the weekend. 

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Agree with all the above!

 

Love the game but so bad at it. Still cant get past the first boss. While normally I'd be throwing the towel in, the game seems to have the knack of showing me something new just when I'm getting close to frustrated or thinking I've seen everything.

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After getting smashed during a re-run of the final boss last night a famous movie scene came into my head. I’ve changed bits of it but this is for everyone that has and still is struggling with any part of the game :) spoilered for length, it’s safe for all...
 

Spoiler

 

I don't know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of your professional life all comes down to today.
Either you heal as Selene or you are going to crumble. Inch by inch, hit by hit, till you’re finished.


You are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me and you can stay here and get the shit kicked out of you or you can fight your way back into the light. You can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time.


Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces and I think I mean I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh.... I pissed away all my Ether believe it or not. I chased off every weapon that has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get sloppy in Atropos things get taken from you. That's, that's part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.


So is Returnal.


Because in either game life or Returnal the margin for error is so small. I mean one half dash too late or to early you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite hit it. The inches you need are everywhere around you. They are in ever break of the game every minute, every second.


On this team, you fight for that inch. On this team, you tear yourself, and every enemy around you to pieces for that inch. You CLAW with your finger nails for that inch.
Cause you know when you add up all those inches that's going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.
I'll tell you this, in any fight, it is a Selene who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what Returnal is. The 6 inches in front of your helmet.


Now I can't make you do it.You gotta look at your load out. Look at your weapon. Now I think you are going to see a setup that will go that inch with you. You are going to see a loadout that will drag you from the shit because it knows when it comes down to it, you are ready. You. Are. Ready!


That's the game gentlemen and either you heal now, as Selene, or you will die as another random Scout.

 

That's Returnal guys.


That's all it is.


Now, whattaya gonna do?

 

 

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I don't want to get into spoilers, even though I'm very early in the game, but I've been trying to get to lower areas using the dash with some comical effect but still discovering some cool stuff as a result. The mystery of it all is a huge draw for me, the combat skills will hopefully improve over the cycles. I don't think I've felt like being on a completely alien world this much since Metroid Prime.

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I barely bother avenging the scouts or attaching parasites as I feel the risk/annoyance isn’t worth it. Only parasite (negative) I attach is the one where obolites disappear 1.5 seconds faster as most times you can dash to pick them up.

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I’m the complete opposite. If I don’t have a full complement of parasites attached by the end of a run, I feel distinctly under-dressed. 
 

Anything where the risk is just a higher chance of malignant items or harder malfunctions, etc. is an instant yes for me. 

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