This morning over at the PlayStation Blog, Gillen McAllister, the Senior Specialist and Content Communications for SIE, revealed quite a bit more indepth detail with a hands on preview of Returnal, coming to PlayStation5 April 30th.
We learn alot more about the game. The Dual Sense controller’s adaptive triggers will be a major focal point of the gameplay.
L2 will lock halfway when pulled for a zoomed in Focus Aim (this also highlights enemy weak spots in red). Pull fully down to activate your weapon’s alt-fire mode. You can monitor alt-fire cooldown with your HUD and keep an ear out for a specific audio ping that plays when recharge is complete. But there’s a cool detail that’s DualSense controller specific: If you keep the trigger pulled after discharge, you’ll feel a low-level vibration that’ll steadily increase in intensity, matching the weapon’s alt-fire recharge cycle.
Weapons don’t get reloaded. They get recharged. All weapons have an alt-fire mode and an additional unlockable ability.
At the bottom left corner of your on-screen HUD are suit integrity (health) and weapon proficiency bars. Integrity can be replenished or extended with collectables. Your weapon proficiency bar dictates the power level of the next found weapon, be it an enemy drop or unlocked chest. That too can be increased through items collected. Weapons range from familiar analogues (pistol, rifle) to otherworldly types (the Spitmaw Blaster fires a corrosive fluid that eats away at enemy health over time). The audio on these things packs a punch: blasts echo across valley floors and reverberate in tight quarters. Fun fact: Those reverberations are in real time, using a mix of 3D audio and ray casting, dynamically changing based on your position.
The game also takes advantage of the 3D audio and Pulse 3D Wireless headset.
I have to speak to the game’s 3D audio design, which, if you’re wearing a compatible headset, lets you better pinpoint enemy placement around you. While wearing the Pulse 3D Wireless headset for PS5 on one cycle, I registered the sound of an enemy approaching from the rear. I whirled round, freezing my aim exactly where it was spawning, taking it out before it could pounce.
Besides the main playthrough there are also daily challenges.
Returnal offers daily challenges for which there are online leaderboards. Selectable from the Helios wreck, these will give you a set of conditions to meet and a specific weapon. You have one life to make your mark on the global ranking. (You don’t need PlayStation Plus to take part in these.)
Returnal also takes advantage of the PS5’s SSD thankfully because dying will be constant.
Stumble into the right area, and you can travel straight to another biome. Here’s your PS5 console’s SSD at work: passing through a portal into another part of Atropos seems as fast as walking through a door. Resurrections are also quick: a few seconds of flashback and you reawaken at the crash site.
You can dash to leap across chasms and pass through enemy bullets. There is large diversity of vibrant enemies. There is a lot of exploration and varied level design and progression is non-linear. The game is lastly described as an explorative platformer, action shooter, roguelike, psychological horror.
I for one can not wait to finally play it! Check out the PS Blog for even more details and as always, we’ll keep you covered here at the Brahs.