Returnal's combat features a few weapons with near-endless customization options and a healthy dash of roguelike randomness.

Housemarque Outlines Returnal Combat, Roguelike Features in New Gameplay Trailer

Returnal's combat features a few weapons with near-endless customization options and a healthy dash of roguelike randomness.

Housemarque’s Returnal releases April 30 on PlayStation 5, and Creative Director Harry Krueger outlined Returnal‘s combat features plus how its roguelike features work in a blog post featuring new gameplay trailer.

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Returnal features dozens of weapons, and while Selene can only hold one at a time, things aren’t as lopsided as they might sound, as each weapon has a handy alt-fire feature. One spits out tentacles, for example, while another sends out electrical charges.

Holding the “L2” button halfway down uses the weapon’s standard feature, while pressing it all the way down activates its alt-fire mode. Krueger didn’t mention what accessibility options might be implemented to offset challenges with haptic trigger resistance, however.

Each weapon also benefits from Weapon Traits that further augment abilities and can both be stacked and leveled up. Their effects are often drastic, such as turning a blaster into a grenade launcher.

As with most roguelikes, random acquisition rules the day here. Returnal assigns each of the 10 weapons an alt-fire feature pulled at random from a pool of 10 alt-fire features, and Returnal has 90 Weapon Traits. These disappear once Selene dies and returns to the start of the time loop, though the mysterious Cthonos device grants one item at the start of each new loop.

These items open new ways of traversing Atropos, the planet Selene is trapped on. Some are offensive and unlock new paths through the planet. Others ensure Selene can survive longer, while still others offer “unique advantages under certain circumstances.”

Finally, Krueger introduced one small but important element of Returnal‘s constant risk-reward balancing that alters the entire game: Parasites. Parasites offer one benefit in exchange for one detriment, such as regenerating Selene’s health while making each enemy expel a pool of deadly acid upon defeat.

Returnal has many other such elements, ranging from suit malfunctions to cursed loot chests, but Krueger said more details will follow between now and Returnal‘s March 19 release date. So stay tuned. 

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.