Unleash Your Full Potential and Dominate the Alien World with Proven Strategies and Techniques
Returnal, the captivating third-person action game developed by Housemarque and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, has quickly become a favorite amongst PlayStation 5 owners. As a roguelike game with a unique blend of bullet-hell and exploration elements, leveling up your character can be both challenging and rewarding. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of leveling up in Returnal, ensuring that you’re well-equipped to face the game’s diverse and deadly challenges.
Understanding Returnal’s Game Mechanics
Before diving into leveling up, it’s crucial to understand the two types of progression in Returnal: permanent and temporary.
Permanent progression refers to the upgrades, abilities, and items that remain with your character even after death. These include key abilities such as the melee weapon, grappling hook, and suit upgrades that allow you to access new areas of the game.
Temporary progression pertains to the items, weapons, and upgrades you acquire during a single run. These are lost upon dying and starting a new cycle, making each run unique and challenging.
Leveling Up Your Character
Proficiency is a core mechanic in Returnal, affecting your weapon’s power and abilities. You gain proficiency by defeating enemies and collecting proficiency pickups. As your proficiency level increases, you’ll find more powerful weapons with higher-level traits, making it easier to defeat tougher enemies and bosses.
As you progress through the game, you’ll find weapon upgrade stations called Fabricators. Use these stations to spend Obolites (in-game currency) and unlock powerful weapon traits. Experiment with different weapon types and traits to find the best combination for your playstyle.
Returnal features a diverse array of weapons, each with unique properties and firing modes. Here’s a list of the main weapons and how to upgrade them:
- Tachyomatic Carbine: A reliable, fully-automatic assault rifle with moderate damage and high accuracy. Upgrades can enhance its rate of fire, damage output, and bullet stability.
- Spitmaw Blaster: A powerful shotgun that deals high damage at close range. Upgrades can improve its fire rate, accuracy, and pellet spread.
- Hollowseeker: A rapid-firing weapon that shoots energy projectiles that pass through enemies. Upgrades can boost projectile speed, damage output, and add homing capabilities.
- Electropylon Driver: A weapon that fires electrified pylons that create damaging energy fields upon contact. Upgrades can increase the number of pylons, field size, and damage output.
- Thermogenic Launcher: A slow-firing rocket launcher that deals heavy explosive damage. Upgrades can enhance the blast radius, projectile speed, and overall damage.
- Rotgland Lobber: A biological weapon that shoots acidic projectiles that leave damaging pools on the ground. Upgrades can increase the projectile size, pool duration, and damage output.
To upgrade weapons in Returnal, follow these steps:
- Increase Proficiency: Higher proficiency levels grant access to weapons with more powerful traits. Engage in combat and collect proficiency pickups to increase your proficiency level.
- Unlock Weapon Traits: As you use a weapon and gain experience with it, you will unlock and improve its traits. Weapon traits provide additional effects such as increased fire rate, bonus damage, or unique status effects. Experiment with different traits to find the most suitable combination for your playstyle.
- Utilize Fabricators: Throughout your journey, you’ll encounter weapon upgrade stations called Fabricators. At these stations, you can spend Obolites to unlock powerful weapon traits and customize your weapon according to your preferences. Prioritize upgrading your favorite weapons to maximize their effectiveness in combat.
- Equip Artifacts and Parasites: Some artifacts and parasites can enhance your weapon’s performance by providing bonuses such as increased damage, fire rate, or ammo capacity. Keep an eye out for these items and equip them to boost your weapon’s capabilities.
By upgrading your weapons in Returnal, you’ll be better equipped to face the diverse challenges and enemies that await you on Atropos.
Proficiency Boosting Items
In Returnal, various items and collectibles can be used to boost your character’s capabilities, improve your weapons, and enhance your overall performance. Below is a list of key items and how to boost each one:
- Proficiency: To boost your proficiency, engage in combat, maintain high Adrenaline levels, and utilize items like Proficiency Stimulant or Proficiency Cube. Additionally, look for artifacts or suit upgrades that can increase proficiency gain.
- Health: Boost your health by collecting health pickups (Silphium), finding Health Injections (consumables), or equipping health-boosting artifacts like the Astronaut Figurine. Permanent health expansions can also be found in the form of Integrity Upgrades, which increase your maximum health.
- Adrenaline: Increase your Adrenaline level by defeating enemies without taking damage. Each Adrenaline level grants bonuses such as increased proficiency rate, enhanced melee damage, and improved weapon fire rate. Keep your Adrenaline high for maximum benefits.
- Obolites: Collect Obolites from defeated enemies, breakable objects, or special chests to boost your in-game currency. Spend Obolites at Fabricators to unlock weapon traits or purchase consumables and artifacts.
- Ether: Boost your Ether by exploring the environment and opening chests. Ether can be used to cleanse Malignant items, unlock Reconstructors (respawn points), or purchase items from the Cthonos machine.
- Weapons: To boost your weapons, increase your proficiency level, unlock weapon traits at Fabricators, and experiment with different combinations of traits to find the most suitable build for your playstyle.
- Artifacts: Boost the effectiveness of your artifacts by stacking multiple copies of the same artifact or combining complementary artifacts to create powerful synergies. Artifacts can be acquired by opening chests, completing challenges, or defeating mini-bosses.
- Parasites: Equip Parasites to boost various aspects of your character, such as health regeneration, weapon damage, or movement speed. Be cautious, as Parasites also come with negative effects that may hinder your performance.
- Suit Upgrades: Boost your suit by finding permanent enhancements like health expansions, increased melee damage, and upgraded traversal abilities. These upgrades persist across runs and will improve your overall capabilities.
- Consumables: Boost the effectiveness of consumables by using them strategically during combat or boss encounters. Examples of consumables include Health Injections, Weapon Damage Enhancers, and Proficiency Stimulants.
By focusing on boosting each of these items, you’ll improve your character’s performance in Returnal and increase your chances of surviving the hostile world of Atropos.
Maximizing Your Runs
Thoroughly explore each biome to uncover hidden secrets, upgrades, and resources. Some upgrades, such as health expansions and permanent suit enhancements, can significantly improve your chances of survival in future runs.
Gather resources like Obolites, Ether, and health pickups to help you survive longer and purchase upgrades at Fabricators. These resources can be found by defeating enemies, opening chests, and exploring the environment.
Returnal features a variety of collectibles and resources that aid in your progression and enhance your character’s abilities. Here’s a list of key collectibles and resources, along with a brief description of each:
- Obolites: In-game currency obtained from defeated enemies, breakable objects, or special chests. Spend Obolites at Fabricators to unlock weapon traits, purchase consumables, or acquire artifacts.
- Ether: A valuable resource found by exploring the environment, opening chests, or as rewards for completing daily challenges. Ether can be used to cleanse Malignant items, unlock Reconstructors (respawn points), or purchase items from the Cthonos machine.
- Proficiency Pickups: Consumable items that provide an instant boost to your proficiency level. Higher proficiency levels grant access to more powerful weapons with enhanced traits.
- Silphium: Health pickups that restore a portion of your health. Can be found in the environment, dropped by enemies, or obtained from chests.
- Silphium Resin: Collect three Silphium Resin pickups to increase your maximum health (Integrity) by one bar. Found in the environment, dropped by enemies, or obtained from chests.
- Health Injections: Consumable items that restore a large portion of your health. Can be found in chests, purchased at Fabricators, or acquired from certain challenges.
- Malignant Items: Cursed items with potential negative effects, such as Silphium, Obolites, or chests. Use Ether to cleanse Malignant items and remove their negative effects.
- Artifacts: Passive upgrades that provide various beneficial effects, such as increased health, improved weapon damage, or enhanced movement speed. Acquired by opening chests, completing challenges, or defeating mini-bosses.
- Parasites: Suit upgrades that offer both positive and negative effects. Can provide significant benefits such as increased health regeneration or boosted proficiency gain, but may also come with drawbacks that can hinder your performance.
- Consumables: One-time use items that provide temporary bonuses or effects, such as health restoration, weapon damage boosts, or proficiency enhancements. Examples include Health Injections, Weapon Damage Enhancers, and Proficiency Stimulants.
- Data Cubes: Special items that can be inserted into Data Cube Processors found in certain biomes. Unlock new items, consumables, or artifacts that can appear in future runs.
- Keys: Items used to unlock locked doors or chests. Can be found in the environment, dropped by enemies, or obtained from chests.
- Cipher: Collectible items found throughout the game that reveal pieces of lore and backstory. Uncover the mysteries of Atropos as you collect these hidden ciphers.
By familiarizing yourself with these collectibles and resources, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of each run in Returnal and enhance your character’s abilities to tackle the challenges on Atropos.
Artifacts provide passive buffs and abilities that can greatly enhance your character during a run. Collect artifacts by completing challenges, opening special chests, and defeating mini-bosses.
In Returnal, Artifacts are passive upgrades that provide various beneficial effects. While the game features a large number of Artifacts, the list below includes some of the most notable ones and how to unlock them:
- Astronaut Figurine: Grants an extra life, allowing you to respawn once after dying. It can be found in chests, purchased at Fabricators, or obtained as a reward for certain challenges.
- Blade Balancer: Increases melee weapon damage. Unlock it by opening chests, completing challenges, or purchasing it at Fabricators.
- Adrenaline Leech: Restores a small amount of health whenever you gain an Adrenaline level. Obtain it from chests, complete challenges, or purchase it at Fabricators.
- Fractal Nail: Increases the chance of finding better-quality items in chests. Unlock it by opening chests, completing challenges, or purchasing it at Fabricators.
- Leeching Nano-Particles: Restores health when dealing damage to enemies with a high Adrenaline level. Acquire it from chests, complete challenges, or purchase it at Fabricators.
- Overload Capacitor: Increases weapon damage when you successfully perform an Overload. Unlock it by opening chests, completing challenges, or purchasing it at Fabricators.
- Residual Energy: Increases weapon damage for every 200 Obolites you carry. Obtain it from chests, complete challenges, or purchase it at Fabricators.
- Siphon Web: Grants a chance to repair Integrity (health) when collecting Obolites. Acquire it from chests, complete challenges, or purchase it at Fabricators.
- Shield Disruptor: Temporarily disables the energy shields of enemies when they are hit by your melee attack. Unlock it by opening chests, completing challenges, or purchasing it at Fabricators.
- Wounded Savior: Increases weapon damage when you have low health. Obtain it from chests, complete challenges, or purchase it at Fabricators.
Keep in mind that Returnal is a procedurally-generated game, meaning the availability and location of Artifacts may vary with each run. As you progress through the game and complete runs, you’ll encounter more Artifacts with different effects, allowing you to customize your playstyle and take advantage of powerful synergies.
Enhancing Your Suit
Find and equip suit upgrades known as Parasites and Artifacts to enhance your abilities. Be cautious, though, as some Parasites come with negative effects. Balance the risk and reward when choosing which Parasites to equip.
Boss Strategies and Tips
Studying Boss Patterns
Each boss in Returnal has unique attack patterns and phases. Study these patterns and identify safe spots to avoid taking damage. Be patient and take advantage of openings to deal damage efficiently.
Choosing the Right Weapons
Select weapons that cater to your playstyle and are effective against specific bosses. Some weapons excel at dealing consistent damage, while others offer burst potential for quick takedowns.
Utilizing Consumables and Equipment
Make use of consumables like healing items and damage-boosting items to improve your chances against bosses. Also, take advantage of equipment like the Alt-Fire mode on weapons and the Atropian Blade for close-range combat.
Mastering the Art of Adaptation
Learning from Failure
Each death in Returnal is an opportunity to learn and adapt. Reflect on your mistakes, identify areas for improvement, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Over time, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the game’s mechanics and enemy behaviors, making it easier to progress further in each run.
Experimenting with Different Builds
Returnal’s procedural generation means that each run will be different, offering new opportunities to try out different weapon combinations, artifacts, and suit upgrades. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various builds and strategies to find the most effective approach for your playstyle.
Using Online Resources and Community
Leveraging Online Guides
Take advantage of online resources, such as guides, walkthroughs, and video tutorials, to gain insights into the game’s mechanics, boss strategies, and secrets. These resources can help you overcome specific challenges and improve your overall understanding of the game.
Joining Returnal Communities
Participate in online forums, subreddits, and social media groups dedicated to Returnal. These communities can provide valuable tips, strategies, and support from fellow players, helping you to overcome challenges and develop new tactics.