HomeGaming and ProductsReturnal May Just Be the First PS5 Exclusive Worth Buying

Returnal May Just Be the First PS5 Exclusive Worth Buying

Aside from its launch line-up of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Returnal is the first real exclusive game for the PS5. Half a year out from the launch of the console globally and roughly three months since the India PS5 launch, I get to check if Returnal is ready to carry the heavy burden of being essentially the only first-party PS5 game until Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is out. Having spent a few hours with it so far, here’s why I believe that Returnal is quickly shaping up to be the reason to own a PS5.

Blazing Speed

Right from the outset, there’s a lot to love about Returnal. Just starting the game up for the first time and not having my time wasted by too much exposition before I’m given real control of protagonist Selene goes a long way in establishing a good first impression.

Thankfully, the good times continue because of how well Returnal actually plays. It quickly establishes itself as the kind of game where even just moving your character around can be loads of fun (for example, Control, or the seminal Super Mario 64), thanks to responsive controls, good frame rates, and most importantly, movement options that manage to stay simple and deep at the same time.

Returnal’s combat, for lack of a better term, feels incredibly tight. It’s easy to feel like a badass once you achieve some familiarity with its control scheme and enemy attack patterns, and zipping around the battlefield while sending homing insect missiles at your targets doesn’t really get old. The combat is so good, in fact, that it alone offers me plenty of impetus to explore new areas in the hopes of finding new enemies to fight.

AAA Roguelike

Returnal is, for all intents and purposes, a roguelike. Gameplay revolves around a cycle of making progress, dying, and starting afresh with some minor upgrades. What keeps it going, however, is the narrative approach to the genre that few other games have attempted—Hades and Loop Hero are the most recent prominent examples. Things instantly get interesting in the first run when you find Selene’s own corpse from an earlier attempt she made at exploring the planet of Atropos, and it just gets weirder from there on out.

Returnal’s Use of PS5 Features

Considering it’s one of the few PS5 exclusives out so far, the fact that Returnal makes use of some of the PS5’s most unique features is an absolute no-brainer. Of course it also uses all the horsepower and SSD technology to have smooth frame rates while looking good and maintaining almost zero load times, but it’s much more interesting to look at how Returnal uses the DualSense controller.

The biggest feature Returnal makes use of is the DualSense’s adaptive triggers – namely the L2 button. Pushing L2 down halfway offers some resistance while allowing you to zoom in for more accurate aiming with your gun, while pushing it down all the way past the point of resistance lets you use a weapon’s alt fire mode. While it takes some getting used to, the control scheme feels surprisingly intuitive, especially thanks to Returnal’s generally fast-paced gameplay. Even smaller details like feeling every raindrop on the controller thanks to its advanced haptic feedback helps make the game feel good to play.

The Reason to Buy a PS5

If you happen to be one of the rare people out there who managed to get their hands on a PS5, Returnal is definitely a game you’ll want to keep an eye on. My first few hours with Returnal have been an absolute joy to experience, and I don’t really foresee that sense of joy going away as I get further into the game.

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