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NSFW Returnal Hands-On Impressions (PS5) – A Roguelike Of AAA Quality That Isn’t Pulling Any Punches

Con-Z-epT

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From the article.

"The game just feels so creepy and there’s no happiness around to keep you calm. It is one terrifying event after another and the “horror” aspect of Returnal is its strongest feature."

Sounds promising! :messenger_alien:
 
Mar 27, 2020
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Uncharted bunghole



Reminds me of one of my favorite movies.

 

Shmunter

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Elios83

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Returnal is not my genre and I won't buy it (my next games will be RE8, R&C and FF7RIntergrade) but I'm happy to see that impressions are really positive and it also seems to be selling really well online.
People who don't have anything better to do than wishing failure to games they can't play on their favourite console are about to take an other L.
 

Dr Bass

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Jun 6, 2013
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One thing I've just learned is recore looked trash. After seeing the quality of Halo 5 no wonder all MS games are launching day 1 on gamepass.
I hate this crap. If you like games you should be rooting for MS to put out quality software. I know I am. I can’t wait to see something great on Xbox SX.
 
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SLB1904

I'm a massive child who is on perm notice for crying about plastic boxes.
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Listened to 3 minutes, couldn’t take any more of his going on about the story. Complete lack of imagination, has this guy experienced any work of art other than Dumb n Dumberer?
oh boy

go to 13:30 LMFAO
 
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Techno_Inked

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The good from what I've seen so far:

- The gameplay seems really fun, responsive, fluid and challenging. This definitely seems like a fun/challenge factor kind of game.

- Art direction, it's impossible to confuse this game with any other game.

- Interesting enemy design when it comes to visuals, animations, move sets and maybe even mechanics.


Now the concerns:

- Longevity in fun. Even though the gameplay seems solid, I'm not sure when it will become monotonous and getting the feel of 'seen that done that' kind of thoughts.

- Story representation. It seems like the story has massive potential yes, but the concern is how this will be represented. From the looks of it, it comes in the way of monologues of Selene herself and maybe from items you find in the game. Really not sure if there will be any memorable cutscenes. While the souls games can pull this off beautifully with just item discriptions, those games lean heavily on its world and lore. Returnal on the other hand doesn't seem like it has these kinds of luxuries to lean onto.

- Sound design. The guns seem to lack some oomph. The creatures seem to lack distinct sounds and the environment seems like it can use some more unique kind of sounds. Which is a shame, I feel many cool things can be done with the sound design when it comes to the environment as it seems it takes place on an alien planet or some kind of a different reality/dimension.

- Music is extremely minimal and doesn't seem memorable during gameplay.

- Environments seem dead. It just feels like a cardboard Western set where nothing happens. There is very little interaction when it comes to the environments. But more importantly, it doesn't seem like the environment can be your enemy. It would've been very cool if the environment is also there out to get you. Such as mini teleportation portals so you can dash sidewards and teleport strategically to the other side to get an advantageous position on your enemies with crowd control and boss fights. Other examples are living walls trying to grab you, hazardous areas etc etc.

- Platforming seems really basic. I feel the game can benefit in more verticality. This combined with flying creatures could add a very dynamic way of playing in my opinion.

- Price, it's impossible to know if this game is worth it of course. The gameplay could be so fun that it can justify its price point. However I can't help but feel that this seems like a 50 or max 60 dollars kind of game.


Conclusion:
I can see massive potential in this game should it turn into a franchise. But I seriously doubt Housemarque being able to get all the above mentioned concerns right with its very first AAA game. Personally, I think I will wait for a price drop. I do have to add that I wish Housemarque the best though. Returnal seems to have a very unique kind of vibe and Housemarque is in my opinion incredibly charming.


Off topic: I have been trying to create quality posts, but I can't seem to make threads yet since I'm new. If someone can tell me how I can create threads, please let me know :)
 

Biff

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Super Stardust HD is a top 5 GOAT for me. I was completely addicted to that game and got good enough to compete in the top 100 globally.

Glad to see Housemarque is back after a couple duds last gen. The mechanics of their games are always flawless; they just had some strangely uninteresting game design choices during the PS4 gen. Nex Machina was probably their only truly "great" game after SSHD. Resogun in the conversation as well but just didn't have the same lasting impact on me.
 

Crimson_Fate

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Listened to 3 minutes, couldn’t take any more of his going on about the story. Complete lack of imagination, has this guy experienced any work of art other than Dumb n Dumberer?

I found it pretty hilarious myself. basically its "I don't know the whole story from the beginning, why does this do this and why can i do that... this makes no sense to me watching a video"

Its kind of watching the first 10 minutes of the Terminator and then walking out because you don't like how people just appear out of nowhere with no immediate explination....

My guess is the guy doesn't have a PS5 so he's digging for reasons to hate it while he waits for a new game to play on his platform of choice...
 

Kerotan

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Oct 31, 2018
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I hate this crap. If you like games you should be rooting for MS to put out quality software. I know I am. I can’t wait to see something great on Xbox SX.
Sure why not. MS and Sony historically have fought over 3rd party exclusives so selfishly I don't mind them doing a little bad. Less influence to beat Sony to these deals.

But yeah I guess when they were banging out smash hits left and right in the early 360 days it was cool to see.
 
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Con-Z-epT

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Dec 3, 2019
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Now the concerns:

- Longevity in fun. Even though the gameplay seems solid, I'm not sure when it will become monotonous and getting the feel of 'seen that done that' kind of thoughts.
The best rogue-likes games around don't suffer from that. Of course sooner or later you will reach a point where things feel similar or familiar.
In the end it is all about built variety and how many options are given to the player so that he / she can decide what to pic and how to play.
- Story representation. It seems like the story has massive potential yes, but the concern is how this will be represented. From the looks of it, it comes in the way of monologues of Selene herself and maybe from items you find in the game. Really not sure if there will be any memorable cutscenes. While the souls games can pull this off beautifully with just item discriptions, those games lean heavily on its world and lore. Returnal on the other hand doesn't seem like it has these kinds of luxuries to lean onto.
I my eyes Returnal has a huge potential to establish an intricate crafted lore. You really should not compare the Souls games and Returnal since they are vastly different in their approach.
The developer already stated in their "Housecasts" that they do not want the story to interupt gameplay. That's why they use audiologs for example.
How it all plays out has yet to be experienced and is of course up to Housemarque.
In the end Dark Souls is just "some" medieval game and look what a piece of art From Software delivered with that.
- Sound design. The guns seem to lack some oomph. The creatures seem to lack distinct sounds and the environment seems like it can use some more unique kind of sounds. Which is a shame, I feel many cool things can be done with the sound design when it comes to the environment as it seems it takes place on an alien planet or some kind of a different reality/dimension.
It was stated from the get go that Housemarque is completely receptive and willing to embrace the capabilities of the PS5 in terms of audiovisual production.
Their embracing the Tempest Engine to its fullest! No need to question them in that regard.
- Music is extremely minimal and doesn't seem memorable during gameplay.
If games out of the forges of From Software or Kojima Productions have told me anything then that less is more. Wait and you shall see.
- Environments seem dead. It just feels like a cardboard Western set where nothing happens. There is very little interaction when it comes to the environments. But more importantly, it doesn't seem like the environment can be your enemy. It would've been very cool if the environment is also there out to get you. Such as mini teleportation portals so you can dash sidewards and teleport strategically to the other side to get an advantageous position on your enemies with crowd control and boss fights. Other examples are living walls trying to grab you, hazardous areas etc etc.
:messenger_tears_of_joy: Sorry, but you are so wrong here.
Have you watched a trailer or seen some of the recent gameplay?

The flora is actively reacting to Selene as she's walking through it.
Oh, and there are portals for teleportation.
- Platforming seems really basic. I feel the game can benefit in more verticality. This combined with flying creatures could add a very dynamic way of playing in my opinion.
As of now it seems you can jump, dash and use a grappling hook. It sure is not a Super Mario Odyseey but to say it is lacking in verticality is a bit mistaken.
- Price, it's impossible to know if this game is worth it of course. The gameplay could be so fun that it can justify its price point. However I can't help but feel that this seems like a 50 or max 60 dollars kind of game.
It is worth it! :messenger_bicep:
Conclusion:
I can see massive potential in this game should it turn into a franchise. But I seriously doubt Housemarque being able to get all the above mentioned concerns right with its very first AAA game. Personally, I think I will wait for a price drop. I do have to add that I wish Housemarque the best though. Returnal seems to have a very unique kind of vibe and Housemarque is in my opinion incredibly charming.
You and others should really be a bit more objective!

Have you seen or played other Housemarque games?
Returnal is so way beyond their previous efforts!
We are not talking about a level of a Naughty Dog, Santa Monica or whatever.
This is a smaller studio and yet here they are with a big game.

A really big game. For them.
 

Pallas

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This is why Sony got rid of other studios, yet stuck by Housmark. The do know exceptional talent.

Sony can’t get rid of something that they do not own.

Returnal looks pretty interesting though and I love science fiction settings but I was never really keen on rogue like games. Certainly a game I’ll keep an eye out whenever I luck up with a PS5.

Also I’m not sure why this is being compared to Recore, I mean Recore was decent and fun in its on right but it was last gen and doesn’t really have the high quality production values that Returnal has. Returnal looks to be HMQ’s signature game for the new gen, Recore very much seemed like a pet project that a Microsoft should have given a bigger budget and more time to Armature Studios(the definitive edition of Recore fixes some of that)
 
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Techno_Inked

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The best rogue-likes games around don't suffer from that. Of course sooner or later you will reach a point where things feel similar or familiar.
In the end it is all about built variety and how many options are given to the player so that he / she can decide what to pic and how to play.
Not entirely sure if we should automatically assume it's like the best rogue-like games.
Although we have seen Selene pick up some materials, we haven't seen much built variety nor many different options bringing down enemies. It's very much dodge dodge shoot. Not saying that can't be fun, just replying to your point.
I my eyes Returnal has a huge potential to establish an intricate crafted lore. You really should not compare the Souls games and Returnal since they are vastly different in their approach.
The developer already stated in their "Housecasts" that they do not want the story to interupt gameplay. That's why they use audiologs for example.
How it all plays out has yet to be experienced and is of course up to Housemarque.
In the end Dark Souls is just "some" medieval game and look what a piece of art From Software delivered with that.
It is exactly that they are vastly different that makes me think it's relatively tough (not impossible) to represent the story well and make it impactful.
In a way, I'd say that audiologs do hinder gameplay. When you are in heavy action you probably won't be able to pay any attention to the audiologs. When I'm not in heavy action, i'd often still need to stand still or move very little to be able to keep the focus on audiologs.
And the question still remains if the audiologs will make enough impact on players. For me personally, I never cared much for audiologs.
As you said, Dark Souls and Returnal are very different. Dark Souls is an action RPG while Returnal is a rogue-like. Dark Souls' map is vast and interconnected. It's carefully crafted by hand with tons of enemy variety, enviromental variety, equipment variety, moveset variety and variety of where you want to go first. All these things give strength to its lore and help in theory crafting. Returnal is procedurally generated and pretty much small places with very little structures etc.
It was stated from the get go that Housemarque is completely receptive and willing to embrace the capabilities of the PS5 in terms of audiovisual production.
Their embracing the Tempest Engine to its fullest! No need to question them in that regard.
First of all, I wasn't talking about how we perceive sound, but what kind of sounds the environment possesses. What have you seen in the environments that produces unique cool sounds?
Second, utilizing the Tempest technology only gives you a better idea of directional sound. It won't give the guns more oomph.
If games out of the forges of From Software or Kojima Productions have told me anything then that less is more. Wait and you shall see.
The Souls titles as well as Kojima titles all have memorable theme songs, boss music as well as memorable stage/level/combat music. Returnal so far does not.
:messenger_tears_of_joy: Sorry, but you are so wrong here.
Have you watched a trailer or seen some of the recent gameplay?

The flora is actively reacting to Selene as she's walking through it.
Oh, and there are portals for teleportation.
I have, the flora is aware of your presence, but what gameplay elements did that bring?
As for teleportation portals, I meant teleportation whilst in combat. Like door sized portals you can dash in and out of to create strategic combat.
If it's in it, I haven't seen it. Would be helpful if you provide a link with timestamp.
As of now it seems you can jump, dash and use a grappling hook. It sure is not a Super Mario Odyseey but to say it is lacking in verticality is a bit mistaken.
Yes, those options are available. But what we have seen up till now are just ledges, small hills and pillars.
However, I meant verticality within the environments where you can platform high up or downwards to fight flying enemies or grounded enemies which attack with projectiles.
It is worth it! :messenger_bicep:
We don't know yet. Neither of us nor the general public have played it yet.
You and others should really be a bit more objective!

Have you seen or played other Housemarque games?
Returnal is so way beyond their previous efforts!
We are not talking about a level of a Naughty Dog, Santa Monica or whatever.
This is a smaller studio and yet here they are with a big game.

A really big game. For them.
I am basing all these things on what I've seen. How more objective do I need to be lol?

I'm not the one automatically assuming that Returnal is like the best rogue-likes without playing.

I'm not the one automatically assuming that it can have rich lore like the Souls games.

I'm not the one automatically assuming that they can make the most use out of the Tempest technology without playing the game.

I'm not the one automatically assuming that they can have music like the Souls games or Kojima games without hearing much music from the game.

I'm not the one automatically assuming the game is worth 70 bucks.

And yes I have seen their past titles.
But I'm not the one automatically assuming that because their past titles have been good, that this title will be automatically amazing (look at CD Projekt Red and countless sequels of great games which turned into disappointments) ;).
 
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Oct 26, 2018
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Game looks good as a gritty looking action game. Main character looks dumb. Dont think too many people want to associate with a middle aged Megan Rapinoe look a like.

I think the biggest "what if" is if enough gamers can be convinced Housemarque can make a game worth $70 when their entire existence has been $20 PSN arcade shooters.

We'll have to wait and find out. They are trying to boost up their game budgets. They also got that big MMO shooter in the works (the one that looks like Fortnite/Overwatch).
 
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Evil Calvin

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I don't have a PS5 but I really am tired of Rogue-likes and Rogue-lite games. They are good if you want to grind to get high scores or get that one cool upgrade or gear. But they are repetitive. It looks good graphically, but is everyone really that into this, or are they that starved for a new game? Sounds exactly like when a 1st party game comes to Switch or any game comes to Xbox. It's so barren that gamers salivate over anything.
 
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azertydu91

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I don't have a PS5 but I really am tired of Rogue-likes and Rogue-lite games. They are good if you want to grind to get high scores or get that one cool upgrade or gear. But they are repetitive. It looks good graphically, but is everyone really that into this, or are they that starved for a new game? Sounds exactly like when a 1st party game comes to Switch or any game comes to Xbox. It's so barren that gamers salivate over anything.
Well I really like Roguelikes(lites?) and was skeptical about it even a week ago.But it feels good to finally have one with high production value, until now it was a niche indie genre.Even 3d roguelike were not very common.
And the last previews and videos greatly reassured me.There seem to be a complex artefacts,parasites,weapon(and proficiency) and Housemarque are great at arcadey gameplay.
But as I said I was skeptical because until a few days ago we had only seen quick cuts of gameplay and weird trailers.
Those videos shows a smooth challenging gameplay even though most are basically only showing the tutorial.
It went from wait for a sale to day 1 for me(although it may help that I will undergo surgery the 29th and if I survive it will be nice to have something to play while on recovery).
 
Oct 30, 2011
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I don't have a PS5 but I really am tired of Rogue-likes and Rogue-lite games. They are good if you want to grind to get high scores or get that one cool upgrade or gear. But they are repetitive. It looks good graphically, but is everyone really that into this, or are they that starved for a new game? Sounds exactly like when a 1st party game comes to Switch or any game comes to Xbox. It's so barren that gamers salivate over anything.

Huh? When were gamers salivating over The Medium?

This just looks like a a great game with universal praise. Sad that some can't come to accept it.

Speaking personally, I haven't played a Roguelike in ages (will check out Hades when it comes to PS5), let alone an 'AAA' roguelike. So I have no fatigue of this genre. It's really cool seeing it with much bigger production values, it could spawn a similar popularity like Souls games back when Demons Souls released.
 
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Kholinar

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Main character looks dumb. Dont think too many people want to associate with a middle aged Megan Rapinoe look a like.
I think you're using the wrong words. How does the main character look 'dumb?' If bland is the word you were aiming for, then I'd argue that she doesn't look any more unremarkable than Deacon from Days Gone or Arthur from RDR2. All average-looking white protagonists.