Returnal is one of those games that I just didn’t believe in at first glance. Sure, developer Housemarque has a pedigree in making fantastic arcade shooters, but the idea of a AAA roguelike shooter (at a very AAA RRP of A$124.95, no less) didn’t light my world on fire when it was first announced.
Flash forward to just over a month before release and Returnal has rocketed to the top of my must-plays for the year. Why the change? One look at the newly-released Story Trailer below should start to answer that question:
More than just a pretty and mechanically-competent roguelike shooter – Returnal already looks to be doing some pretty neat stuff with its storytelling and its genre trappings. After watching the trailer and reading the accompanying PlayStation Blog post, there’s a lot to look forward to.
One interesting new detail that’s come to light, in this story about a Greek-American deep space scout who finds herself trapped in the ruins of an ancient alien civilisation where she’s seemingly on a never-ending loop of life and death, is an asynchronous online element. Upon regularly discovering her own corpse in the world (yep), Selene will not only come across audio logs of herself from an unknown time, but occasionally even recorded events from other players who met their untimely demise – with boons and optional challenges in tow should players choose to engage them.
Check out the full PlayStation Blog post for more on that, as well as info on those spooky first-person elements and more background on the game world, and look forward to Returnal when it releases worldwide this April 30, 2021.