23 Things Returnal Doesn’t Tell You – Returnal Wiki Guide

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Welcome to the 23 Things Returnal Doesn’t Tell You page of the official IGN Wiki Guide and Walkthrough for Returnal on PlayStation 5. Returnal is a rogue-lite-like game set on the mysterious and always-changing planet of Atropos. It’s a difficult game and will often leave you scratching your head trying to figure out how this thing works or how that thing works.

We experienced the same thing and that’s ok. Fortunately, we’ve gathered up some of the things Returnal doesn’t tell players and answered them in the tips presented below:

23 Things Returnal Doesn’t Tell You

  • Dying is important — it’s how much of the game’s story is told and revealed in Returnal.
  • Most items are not permanent — if something’s description sounds non-permanent (increases integrity by X percent) or if its item type sounds non-permanent (think “Consumables”), there’s a good chance it’s not permanent. When you die, you’ll no longer have it so don’t fret over using it.
  • On that same note, some items are permanent. If an item’s description sounds permanent, it probably is. To make sure, head to IGN’s Which Items in Returnal Are Permanent? to confirm your suspicions. Be sure to check out IGN’s Which Items in Returnal Are Not Permanent? to learn about those specific items.
  • Going through house sequences in the game unlocks special memento-like items. What the game doesn’t tell you is that these items are actually super helpful. For example, completing the first house sequence unlocks the Astronaut Figurine and if you die with this in your inventory, you’ll immediately be brought to life in the exact area you died. Other items include things like the Blown Flashlight, which increases weapon damage by 10% when at Low or Full Integrity. Search for Artifacts in the game to learn more.

  • The memento-like items described above that are found after completing the house sequences in Returnal are one-time use only.
  • Reconstructors are one-time use resurrection points. If you use a Reconstructor in the game, it will seem like it did nothing. A quick cutscene plays and that’s it. However, once you die, you’ll realize that instead of starting your next run at your ship, you’ll start your run at the Reconstructor. This is extremely helpful, but it can only be used once so use it wisely. To use it again, you’ll need to reactivate it with six Ether.
  • You cannot challenge the first boss of Returnal (or enter its room) until you’ve found the Anathema Key. Head to IGN’s How to Find the Anathema Key guide for more information about that.
  • You cannot open the houses in Returnal without first finding the House Key. If you’re like us, we stumbled upon the first home in the game without having found the House Key. We tried to enter the house, but couldn’t get in…that is until we found the House Key in a different section of the first biome in Returnal.

  • You need an Atropian Blade to melee enemies. If you’re playing the game and wondering why none of the buttons are making Selene perform a melee attack, it’s because you don’t yet have the Atropian Blade melee weapon.
  • You need an Atropian Blade to destroy the black-orange vines that are often blocking your way to items like Silphium and more.
  • Resin is how you restore health and Silphium is how you restore Selene’s suit integrity. These are the green items spread throughout the game and they’re indicated by a health cross on the minimap.
  • Ether is a collectable resource in Returnal and you can carry a maximum of 30 Ether. You might consider hoarding this resource, and that’s totally ok to do, but don’t hoard too much of them because after 30, you’ll still be able to pick Ether up but you won’t increase your total Ether collected. It just disappears into the…ether (we’re sorry).

  • There is a shop and while it doesn’t exactly look like one, it’s there. It’s the half-circle of pillars you’ll come across that glow with item holograms when you get close to it.
  • There’s a shop that’s always located in the first biome of Returnal, the Overgrown Ruins. There is also a shop that can be found in every subsequent biome.
  • Every time you die, unless you’ve used a Reconstructor, you will end up at your ship back in the Overgrown Ruins, no matter how far you’ve made it in your most recent run.
  • You will unlock items that make reaching points seemingly out of reach possible so don’t sweat over not being able to reach them if you can’t.

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  • Datacubes will be useless until you defeat the first boss in Returnal. You can still pick them up if you’d like, but don’t expect to use them until after defeating the boss in the Overgrown Ruins.
  • Translocators are the game’s version of Fast Traveling. You can teleport from translocator to translocator, all over the biome you’re in, although you can only teleport to translocators you’ve been to already.
  • Obolites can be found strewn about biomes or by destroying Obolite Chunks, but they can also be found in plants or within the statues that have yellow glowing eyes.
  • Parasites can be found strewn about biomes laying around, but they can also be found inside the purple plants found throughout the game.

  • Water is bad, as is anything that looks like a liquid — you’re free to test it out yourself, but throwing Selene into water or spooky liquid is only going to get her damaged.
  • The pistol you have at the start of every run is actually automatic — just hold down L2 (not more than halfway so as not to activate its alt-fire mode) and the pistol will fire all of its bullets automatically.
For more tips and tricks about different aspects of Returnal, be sure to check out IGN’s Tips and Tricks page and IGN’s Things to Do First page. If you’re stuck on something specific to a biome, be sure to head to IGN’s Returnal Walkthrough and if you find yourself struggling to defeat a boss, IGN’s Bosses guide has you covered.

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