A broken spaceship. An unknown exoplanet full of hostile life. One focus is on scanning items, upgrading devices, and tracking your steps. These may sound like core components of a new one Metroid Primebut they are not, at least not in this case. They are the ingredients for an exciting – if somewhat punishing – action game called return, next week exclusively for the PlayStation 5.
return is the newest company from Housemarque, the Helsinki-based studio behind it Resogun and Matter case. Like these games return offers a fair amount of footage, but from a three-dimensional rather than a two-dimensional perspective and with some seriously improved visual elements. There are rogue elements in the game. You will die – a lot – because it is relentless and unforgiving. It is as suggested by a number of Concept art and promotional screenshots released last week, bone terrifying.
The horror stuff is particular typically enough of one factor To make me lay down a game and walk away forever. But the bones of return are so solid and convincing that I can’t take it off.
return throws you straight into the shit – especially in the cockpit of a broken spaceship called the Helios. You as a pilot, an astronaut named Selene, land on a planet called Atropos. (All of these references to Greek myth are “on purpose”. according to Narrative director Gregory Louden, and apparently you’re picking up on the fact that Selene is Greek-American.) You’re quickly venturing from a corpse that looks suspiciously like yours, from a corpse that looks suspiciously like you. At some point you will die, come back to life and fully grapple with the knowledge that this corpse is yes was At least yours. Oh, hey, check this out: another time loop game.
The time warp of return serves as the foundation for a familiar rogue structure. It turns out that Atropos is a changing planet. After three and a half hours, I didn’t learn why. So from my place it seems to be just a narrative justification for procedurally generated environments and combat situations. But the fight – a mix of jumping, falling, shooting, and dodging – is tight as hell, so that’s fine with me. Like the best action games, return gives you laser-accurate control over Selene. For better or for worse (better in my opinion) death is always your fault.
As with many rogue games, there is a layer of permanent progression. You will lose most of the pickups with each death, but other upgrades are permanent. I feel like with every failed run, I am getting measurably more powerful at the macro level.
There are also much of scanning – scanning items, scanning weapons, scanning alien glyphs left behind by a seemingly extinct sentient species, scanning the parched corpses of Selene’s earlier fatal escapades across the planet – which are slowly shedding light on gaps in the plot. Mechanically it is an extreme one Metroid Touch that enhances the mood I get from playing this game, especially how the environment conveys that I need certain upgrades to overcome certain obstacles and should come back later. Even the card smells like it Metroid
Since return is one of the first PS5-exclusive games. Yes, return
Before the PS5 launch last fall Touted by Sony the advanced feel of the DualSense controller. When the console first hit the market, it turned out that Sony’s marketing apparatus wasn’t over the top. Of all the upgrades – the increased frame rates, the sharper resolutions, the faster loading speeds – few things really felt as “next-gen” as playing with the DualSense controller.
The catch (there’s always a catch) is that few PS5 games have made use of this feature so far. Astros playroom, the free platformer that comes pre-installed on every PS5, brilliantly and creatively presented the depths of what the DualSense could do. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales captured The exciting feeling – or what one suspects – is the feeling of driving down Fifth Avenue with overpowering networks. Demon souls professionally varied DualSense feedback to convey the scale of specific battles. But by and large, that’s the extent of a really impressive haptic integration on PS5. Also like PS5 exclusives Destruction of AllStars neglected to get the most out of these new features.
Not so with return. As you stroll through Atropos, the rain picks up and your controller vibrates less like a motorcycle and more like a Brookstone massage chair. It’s like a full body massage for your palms. It’s subtle enough that you might not even be consciously aware of it happening at all, but it feels amazing.
There are also handy gameplay applications. Early on, you’ll unlock the ability to use a secondary fire mode on whatever weapons you find. With returnAs the default control scheme, do not press any key to activate alternate mode. Instead, you set how far down you pull the left trigger. Halfway through, you’ll feel L2 tense. Hold the trigger there and you’ll aim for the sight and fire your gun’s basic fire mode. When you overcome the tension, you activate the secondary fire, which is tied to a cooldown and is far more powerful than standard bullets. If that sounds weird, it is. But it’s also the kind of novel design choices that you can’t imagine on PlayStation 4 and that go a long way towards making it happen return I feel solid like a next generation game.
And that’s the problem: for the first time this year, I felt like I was playing a next-generation game, rather than one that spanned this transition period between console generations. I look forward to seeing more of what it has to offer.
return hits April 30th for PS5. We will have deeper thoughts and feelings closer to liberation.