Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada on May 3, 2021
Just a warning to those looking to chance this game: what the gaming websites and YT influencers aren't telling you is how broken Returnal is. As of v1.003.001, soft crashes to interface and doors that refuse to open are frequent and ruin many a run you were in the middle of. This gets extremely frustrating and dispiriting.

Sure, the gameplay can be quick, responsive and fun when you're in a groove. But the highly repetitive nature of roguelite gameplay works against the delivery of the storyline. 8 to 10 hours in, you'll want to get the story over and done with, but the punishing difficulty keeps kicking you back to the start over... and over... and over... and over... AND OVER again. Eventually, you'll begin to feel like you're not being properly rewarded for your efforts and that the game is wasting your time. This isn't like Nuclear Throne or Spelunky where you can beat the game with the right roll in a matter of minutes in many different ways (which makes for some seriously awesome replay value). Roguelites are only good when the runs are quick, not multiple hours in length. Thus, every run in Returnal becomes a bloody chore, the average attempt clocking in around 2+ hours.

Other problems only serve to compound the experience. The sound design is dinky, which is bad in an action game. No way to quit your run mid-way and return later, unless you want to chance the PS5's janky rest mode. This game also struggles to maintain 60fps (at a checkerboarded 1080p upscaled) in intense firefights, which can throw off your input timing. Lastly, and this is mostly of preference, Returnal's procedurally-generated environments are uninteresting and the main character is a bore.

All the time, something in particular kept coming up in my mind... take away the dark, drab visuals and the sci-fi Groundhog Day, mommy-issues storyline and boom: it's Risk Of Rain 2. Which a much tighter, less buggy and more sensually appealing game overall, I thought. So, I threw it in for comparison and got sucked into a 75-minute run that was over before I wanted it to be. And not once did I feel fed up, not even my run-ending death felt like a loss. I was ready for another run. And that game retails for only $30!

SUMMARY - Dull, overhyped trash. Sony wants $90 for a Risk Of Rain 2 rip-off that crashes and makes you lose all your progress mid-run. Ignore the desperate fanboys brand-shielding this as the best exclusive on PS5, and consider yourself fairly warned! Or you may end up looping back to make a return of your own.

EDIT (5/05/21) - New patch v1.3.3 corrupted users' save files. $90 retail to beta test! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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