PS5 Exclusive Returnal's Frantic Combat Explained

The third-person shooter is adding some of its own ideas to the established rougelite formula.

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PS5 exclusive Returnal has received another gameplay trailer highlighting the rougelite's fast-paced action, with developer Housemarque providing a deep dive into many of its systems.

In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Returnal's combat is described as a third-person take on Housemarque's classic bullet hell, arcade-inspired shooters, such as Resogun, Nex Machina, and Super Stardust HD. Each run, however, will change up the action in drastic ways. Protagonist Selene is only able to use one weapon at a time, but weapon traits allow you to modify the base function of each of the ten available. These can be stacked as the run continues, unlocking powerful combinations specific to the weapon you're using.

Each weapon also features a distinct alt-fire, with Housemarque explaining how the DualSense's adaptive triggers have been used to allow for half pulls of the triggers to switch from aiming to firing. Weapons are supplemented by tools and gear that further expands your arsenal. The trailer shows Selene using a grenade that vaporizes all enemies near her, while another fires sharp spikes up from the ground to do damage around her.

Housemarque explains that each run will reset your weapons and tools, but persistent upgrades will be unlocked as your progress. Once unlocked, these enter the pool that items of pulled from during a run, giving you more possibilities with each new attempt. Runs will also feature parasites that latch onto you and offer both buffs and debuffs. For example, the trailer shows one that gives Selene more health but casues enemies to leave acid behind when defeated.

Returnal is launching exclusively on PlayStation 5 on March 19. It is the first of many planned exclusives in 2021, including Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and Gran Turismo 7.

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