Returnal review: this monstrous PlayStation 5 exclusive is beautiful, hostile, and not for everyone
The first run of Returnal on PS5 didn’t last long. The crash of a spaceship on an alien planet. A swift attack by tentacled creatures. A fumble of buttons.
The second run, thankfully, went a little better. Selene, the game’s protagonist, wakes up repeatedly after each death, doomed to repeat the same cycle of crashing her spaceship on Atropos, exploring its randomly generating labyrinth, and battling hordes of shrieking enemies.
Returnal is many things. It’s a third-person PS5 shooter with the structure of a roguelike. It’s an exploration Metroidvania game, but an arcade shooter at heart. It’s a horror game with cinematic trappings. And it’s really, really hard.
Hostility is at the core of the experience. Almost everything on Atropos is out to kill you. You