Sony has explained how combat will work in Returnal, their upcoming time-looping PS5 shooter.
Exclusive to the Playstation 5, Returnal casts you as a space explorer who keeps dying on an alien planet, only to return to life moments before her death. Think Groundhog Day by way of H.R. Giger and you’re not far off. Developed by Housemarque and published by Sony, the entire game takes place in third-person and, as you might expect, involves shooting ‘aliens’ in the face. But actual details of Returnal’s combat have remained sparse.
Up until now that is, because Sony has revealed a little more of how Returnal’s blasting action will unfold. You’ll get the standard ‘archetype’ weapons, eg shotgun, but the weapons can be upgraded by adding “weapon traits”; the shotgun can fire acid shells and so forth. Weapons will also have an alternative fire, giving you multiple ways of slaughtering the beings whose planet you’re a guest on.
Sounds pretty standard so far, right? What is interesting is that alt fire mode is activated by squeezing one of the Dualsense’s adaptive triggers all the way down, versus squeezing it halfway to fire normally. We’re little on the fence about this feature; as Sony notes, it’ll mean you can use alt-fire without having to move your finger. But, even with adaptive triggers (which offer resistance to your touch), will you be in danger of using alternative fire by accident?
Sony also explains that, while most of the items you collect won’t survive your death, there’s one alien device, the Cthonos, which will follow you through each loop. There are also some risky but useful items, dubbed “Parasites”. One might regenerate low health but also turn enemies corpses into pools of acid, just so things aren’t too easy.
You can find out more from Sony’s Returnal blog post, or pick it up when it hits the Playstation 5 this March 21st.