Returnal Artifacts List: Best Artifacts For Surviving Atropos

Finding the best Artifacts can mean the difference between success and failure in Returnal.

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Returnal is one of the hardest PS5 games to date, but it can be made much more manageable with Artifacts. As you journey across the alien world of Atropos, you'll come across these all-important buffs that stay with you for the duration of your current run, or until used, if it's a single-use Artifact--whichever comes first. But given the game's looping roguelite nature, it can be hard to know everything that awaits you as possible loot. Here's a complete list of all Returnal Artifacts, as well as what we think are the best ones.

Returnal Artifacts list

There are 31 total Artifacts in Returnal and they all prove to be only positive additions to your fight against the creatures on Atropos. Artifacts are buffs without caveats. Here's all of them:

ArtifactAbilityBiome(s)
Astronaut FigurineGrants one resurrection (exactly where you died)Overgrown Ruins
Blade BalancerBuffs melee damageAll
Blown NightlightBuffs weapon damage by 10% when at low healthOvergrown Ruins
Broken CalibratorWeapon proficiency (small)

All

Damaged RobotExtends invulnerability after getting hit

All

Energy ManipulatorBriefly buffs protection by 20% after using a consumable

All

Enhanced CalibratorWeapon proficiency (largest)

All

Fractal NailBuffs weapon damage while Malfunctions are activeAll
Golden CoilBuffs weapon damage by 5% for every 200 Obolites on -hand (up to 20%)All
Modular CalibratorWeapon proficiency (varying)All
Murmuring CocoonImproves all ParasitesAll
Music BoxPlays a sound when near secret locationsAll
Obolite StabilizerDropped Obolites last three seconds longerAll
Phantom Limb10% chance to repair Integrity (health) after each kill

All

Pristine CalibratorWeapon proficiency (large)

All

Progenitor EggAttaching or detaching Parasites repairs Integrity

All

Pulsating MassAttaching or detaching Parasites improves max Integrity

All

Recharging OverloadSuccessful overloads reduce alt-fire cooldown by three seconds

All

Recharging ResponseGetting hit reduces alt-fire cooldown by five seconds

All

Resin EnhancerLowers required Resins to improve Integrity

All

Resinous ShieldPicking up Resin grants shields against next hit

All

Spaceship ModelImproves dash

All

Two-Way RadioGrants up to 10% protection based on the number of Ether held

All

Unfed PodBuffs stagger power by 20% for each attached Parasite

All

Visceral KnotGives 35% chance for enemies to explode upon death

All

Worn CalibratorWeapon proficiency (medium)

All

Wound SeekersBuffs damage to low-health enemies by 30%All
Xeno-Tech SightSlows time when aiming with alt-fireAll

You can theoretically beat Returnal without picking up any Artifacts other than those you find in the story, but it's going to be much harder without them. This makes them critical to your mission in Returnal, and for that reason, we recommend exploring an area to its fullest unless you're really hurting or worried you're not well-equipped for what lies ahead.

Artifacts won't often be on your critical path, so they take some digging. While you can buy some using Obolites when you come upon the in-game "stores," they remain quite rare. Your best bet will always be to venture into rooms decorated on the mini-map with blue upside-down Vs as opposed to the rectangular rooms. The former represents a side area, while the latter represents something closer to a critical path in the ever-shifting alien world of Atropos.

Buy Artifacts if you can afford them, but more importantly, look in optional areas for them.
Buy Artifacts if you can afford them, but more importantly, look in optional areas for them.

As for the best Artifacts, my absolute favorite is the first one in the game: the Astronaut figurine. It gives you a one-off respawn use per run, which helped me not only defeat the first boss on my first try, but it eventually made the difference when I was stuck for days on the second boss.

Another great Returnal Artifact is Murmuring Cocoon, which buffs Parasites. I've found Parasites more often than not prove their usefulness even though some of them have upsides and downsides. Murmuring Cocoon enhances those upsides, so it's a great addition.

Visceral Knot is also fantastic. Having roughly every third enemy explode upon death means giving your arsenal a passive crowd control mechanic that comes in clutch in the game's more lively areas. It's possible to even set off a chain reaction and have a little fireworks display using the bodies of the bioluminescent creatures.

There's no limit to how many Artifacts you can carry in a single run, so you'd do well to grab all you can. While some can be purchased, shop inventory is as randomized as the world itself, so your best bet is always going to be to explore every crevasse and corner--and hope that you've amassed enough strength and protection by the time you face off against each of the game's bosses. For more tips on Housemarque's brutal shooter, try our Returnal beginner's guide.

Mark Delaney on Google+

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