Returnal Returnal

Gaming

Returnal: Should you play it?

A third-person shooter, psychological horror game

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Imagine the worst day of your life. Now imagine having to relive that day over and over until you find some sort of way out. That’s somewhat the premise of Returnal, except, this particular worst day is on a planet called Atropos and you’re literally fighting for survival.

If you thought that was anxiety-inducing, I’m right there with you. And the anxiety only grows and deepens as you playthrough.

So, this isn’t a review of Returnal. That would require me finishing the game or playing through at least 80 percent of it. But I’ve played enough to help inform you if this is a game that you should pick-up or not.

What is it about exactly? 

You play as Selene. An Astra scout that surveys planets, unexplored areas in space. In this game, you crash land in Atropos — a shape-shifting world. With her vehicle broken, she has no choice but to explore the area, find the source of some broadcast, and pray to goodness it leads her out of that world.

Returnal

Naturally, the whole endeavor is no walk in the park. She faces creatures and machines that will inevitably lead to her demise. But it isn’t the end. Each and every time she dies, she wakes up again next to her ship but this time taking bits and pieces of knowledge from her past demise. Every loop offers new challenges and discoveries but in familiar areas.

Atropos really feels alive

The game takes full advantage of the DualSense controller. The games that have been introduced on the PlayStation 5 thus far were only scratching the surface. Returnal takes the experience to exciting heights.

For instance, the L2 button has two levels of presses. Press lightly to lock in and really focus on a target. Press harder and it’ll trigger the special ability of your weapon.

There’s also the different ways the DualSense vibrates as you interact with certain surfaces and objects in the game. But what takes this even further is the fantastic sound design. The combination of the audio along with the DualSense really makes Atropos feel like a living environment.

Returnal

For these experiences alone, I can confidently say that it’s definitely a must-try if you’re one of what seems like just a handful of people who was able to snag a PlayStation 5. Absolutely fantastic job by Housemarque — the game’s developer.

Combat offers the right amount of challenge 

Expect to die. That’s part of the whole experience. But along the way you’ll also meet plenty of adversaries that are fairly easy to deal with.

Your weapons are primarily guns (if there are more, I simply have not gotten to that part yet). I was quite apprehensive about this at first since I’m not exactly good at shooters. But, the aiming and the movement isn’t all over the place that it made even someone like me actually feel competent.

Returnal

While engaging in the creatures of Atropos you can jump, dash, and jump and dash. These evasive maneuvers offer enough variety in tandem with the weapons you have that combat feels exhilarating.

It’s a visual treat 

Atropos looks drab and wasted. But the level of detail on the environment is insanely captivating. Especially the areas where light seeps in, you’ll see exactly how gorgeous the visuals are even if the place itself is ruined.

The creatures you’ll encounter also look astonishing. Sure, the way they jump and constantly stalk and assault you can be terrifying, but if you pause for a second they don’t actually look all that scary. It might be in how some of them glow, but the creatures here are quite a sight to see.

Returnal

The items and elements seem a lot to take in

I’m gonna chalk this up to having multiple work deadlines from when I received the code to the target date of publishing, but the items, elements, and what they’re supposed to be for completely flew over my head.

It felt, to me, like information overload. Normally, I’m able to quickly pick up on which item does what but it took me a while to get a better understanding of them in this game.

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Of course, it helps that they also come in different colors so you more or less get a better idea as you go along. I imagine this wouldn’t be the case for players who will have their full attention on the game as they play.

Should you play Returnal?

This game is brilliant. From the premise of the story, the gameplay, the incredible sound design, and the use of the DualSense controller, Returnal is an absolute banger.

Returnal

What gives me pause is the whole loop mechanic in this clearly terrifying setting. But I recognize that this has more to do with my in-real-life environment than the game itself. You see, waking up to a dreadful situation day after day is already something I have to deal with thanks largely to the pissful pandemic response by our government. I use video games to escape, and the anxiety-inducing nature of Returnal just isn’t good for my mental health right now.

Returnal

If you are experiencing anything similar at the moment, it might be prudent to wait until you’re in a better headspace before picking this up. Otherwise, this is definitely a must-buy if you’re curious how a fantastic combination of sound design and proper utilization of the DualSense can really elevate the gameplay experience.

Returnal will be exclusively available to the PS5 on April 30.

Gaming

Bardock backstory revealed in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot DLC trailer

More from Goku’s father

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Bardock

The trailer for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s upcoming DLC, “Bardock- Alone Against Fate”, has been released by Bandai Namco.

The gameplay video features a first glimpse of Bardock in action in the game, as well as thrilling battles in the planet of Kanassa.

The scene also shows more details into the adventures of Goku’s father, who serves as a member of Frieza’s planetary invasion force. His journey to Planet Vegeta was also teased.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions to be released on January 12 and 13, 2023, respectively.

Speaking of which, pre-orders for the physical editions for PS5 and Xbox Series are now available here.

There will also be a Special Edition which comes with additional DLC episodes currently available on other platforms, including “New Power Awakens – Part 1 & Part 2” and “-Trunks- Warrior of Hope”.

Meanwhile, players who already own the game for previous consoles may upgrade for an additional fee to enjoy better graphics and smoother gameplay.

SEE ALSO: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot review: Super fan service

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God of War Ragnarok is Sony’s best-selling exclusive

Based only on its first week

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November is a great month for gamers. Because of a few major titles coming out, there are a lot of ways to scratch that gaming itch. A lot of players are happy. None more so than Sony right now. Only a few weeks since its release, God of War Ragnarok has broken Sony’s record for fastest-selling first-party title launch.

Officially confirmed by Sony through its Twitter account, God of War Ragnarok has sold 5.1 million copies only through its first week. With such an impressive showing, the title rushes past Sony’s acclaimed gallery of heavy hitters like Marvel’s Spider-Man, The Last of Us Part II, and even the title’s 2018 predecessor. That’s not a list of who’s who to shrug off.

Additionally, the sequel is now the best-selling title in its franchise. The series has come a long way since its roots in Greek mythology. Mere weeks since the release, it is already in the conversation for several Game of the Year awards alongside other heavy hitters like Elden Ring.

Not without reason, of course. From our review of the title, the sequel to 2018’s classic is a narrative masterpiece in its own right, deserving of its spot in the oeuvre of Sony’s greatest hits.

SEE ALSO: God of War Ragnarok Review

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Netflix is working on its first PC game

It’s a AAA title

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Though off to a relatively slow start, Netflix is now a gaming company as well. As of late, the platform included a variety of mobile games in its catalog of content. Every Netflix subscriber can play any of the games. Now, Netflix is working on something else entirely: a game for the PC.

Spotted by Mobilegamer.biz, Netflix has recently posted new job openings for a game director, an art director, and a technical director. All three listings describe a “brand-new AAA PC game” as a project. One listing even describes “one of Netflix’s first generation of internally developed original games.”

Currently, Netflix taps into other game studios to produce titles for them. Aside from a few independent developers, the platform even partnered with Ubisoft for mobile titles. (One of which will be based on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.)

With the listings in place, the company is expanding its efforts to developing its own titles. Right now, the unnamed project doesn’t feature a lot of details. While the project is still looking for a creative director, it’s likely that the plot isn’t finalized either.

Throughout the past year, the company has bled for subscribers. Since then, they have tried various strategies, including potential punishments for account sharing and cheaper subscription tiers.

SEE ALSO: Netflix will now let you kick people from your account

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