REVIEW EMBARGO LIFTED!
Will update the thread as we go!
OPENCRITIC: 86 (88% Critics Recommend!)
Playing Returnal, it feels like next-gen has truly begun. The way it seamlessly moves from third-person to first-person; how you move from biome to biome without loading screens taking you out of the action; the DualSense implementation; the fluidity of the gameplay; the phenomenal visuals and audio; all of these elements, and more, come together to create an experience that is truly like no other. This is not only Housemarque's best game to date, but perhaps also the best game currently available on PS5. It's a genre-defying delight that raises the bar on so many levels. If you own a PS5 you need to play Returnal. It's as simple as that.
This isn't just Housemarque's best game yet, it's also perhaps the best game currently available on PS5. Here's our Returnal review.
GAME INFORMER (9.5/10)
Returnal is a relentless nightmare that’s a dream to play. The journey is full of horror and terrible discoveries, but also unbridled curiosity and wonder. If you have the taste for it, this is an adventure that begs to be experienced.
A deadly alien planet is a playground for your senses and curiosity.
PLAYSTATION LIFESTYLE (10/10)
Returnal is an essential PS5 title, now and throughout the console’s life. Housemarque took the rogue-like bullet-hell formula and applied it to a AAA experience in a way that creates something exceptionally unique yet wholly familiar. Returnal is an engaging experience in narrative, gameplay, and player discovery, consistently surprising on every level. Utilizing the PS5 technology in a way that most other developers are barely tapping into, Returnal feels like one of the first truly next-gen experiences, letting Housemarque set the stage for the new console. And like Housemarque games before it, it’s the kind of game that will withstand the test of time, begging for additional cycles well into the future.
Returnal Review - Returnal may be one of the best PS5 games, an essential experience that blends narrative, gameplay, and player discovery in a way that challenges and delights.
As it did with the PS3, Vita, and PS4, Housemarque has once again provided Sony with another launch-era hit and in doing so has created a rewarding, replayable, and revolutionary game that’s hopefully the foundation for other future AAA titles that are as clever with the roguelite blueprint.
Returnal Review. Returnal is Housemarque's big departure from 2D arcade games and its first true journey into the 3D space has resulted in an absolutely incredible roguelite with an addictive loop, blazing-fast gunplay, and well-realized alien world worth roaming.
Returnal is an unrelenting and unforgiving challenge for the ages, but it still captures the magic of what makes Housemarque so special. It has a weirdly unique style and substance, every level is an unpredictable white-knuckle ride and it fully commits to its rogue-like influences. The end result isn’t just a showcase title for what the PS5 is capable of, it’s a thrilling mix of arcade bullet-hell gaming with precision thrill power.
Returnal is an unrelenting and unforgiving challenge for the ages, but it still captures the magic of what makes Housemarque so special. It has a weirdly unique style and substance, every level is an unpredictable white-knuckle ride and it fully commits to its rogue-like influences. The end...
PLAYSTATION TROPHIES (91/100)
Even once the credits roll, after 20-25 hours, there’s plenty more to discover on the hostile world of Atropos. More mysteries, more secrets, more weapons, more data logs - and I was more than ready to jump straight back in. Developer Housemarque has achieved a seemingly impossible task, balancing fast-paced action with a slow-burn story and an incredible atmosphere, and done so with a flourish, at that. Returnal is an utterly essential addition to the PlayStation 5 library; a game that will creep and crawl and whisper its way into your brain, staying with you long after you’ve put down the controller, dragging you back for more, again, and again, and again.
With the PlayStation 5 being backwards compatible and the console in high enough demand that its difficult to acquire its sometimes easy to forget tha...
Housemarque has succeeded with their fusion of third-person shooting and roguelike elements in Returnal, one of my favorite PS5 titles so far
Returnal is constantly unsettling and consistently challenging. Its mysterious story and demanding action feel intense, urgent, and fresh. The fast-moving combat manages to appear incredibly daunting, bordering on overwhelming, without ever actually becoming insurmountable. Every moment is a rush, either because you just barely evaded a giant purple laser or because you have no idea why there's an Apollo-era astronaut following your every move. Do you need to be a little brave to play Returnal? Yeah. Do you need to be glutton for punishment? It helps. They say that anything worth doing should scare you at least a little bit. I'm not sure if that's always true, but Returnal makes a strong case.
Returnal blends elements of shooters, roguelikes, action games, and horror to redefine bullet hell and conjure a mysterious, moody masterpiece.
METRO UK (9/10)
What we would say though is that Returnal is by far the most fun we’ve had with a video game all year. Despite being a new IP it doesn’t always feel entirely original, given how liberally it borrows ideas from other games, but even when Lady Luck abandoned us we were always quick to get back up and try again. The action is perfectly crafted but the way it interfaces with the exploration and story aspects is just as impressive, as it creates an endlessly entertaining experience that we’d be playing again and again even if there was no time loop.
Sony's latest PS5 exclusive is from the creators of Stardust and Resogun and features the most entertaining time loop since Groundhog Day.
PUSH SQUARE (9/10)
Housemarque has delivered the PS5 promise with Returnal. All the console's bells and whistles enhance the experience, making this a real showpiece for the hardware. But more than that, the game is a force to be reckoned with; the breathless combat, super slick gameplay, and the subtle but unsettling story combine for an experience of surprising scale. Rogue-lite aspects mean it won't gel with everyone, but for those looking for a challenging, addictive arcade shooter, this comes highly recommended.
Selene Die On
In Returnal, Housemarque builds a game on both euphoric highs and confounding lows.
SPIEL TIMES (9/10)
I have no doubt that many will buy “Returnal” without understanding how punishing its combat difficulty and permadeath system can be, how relentlessly it demands your full attention, how little respite it offers. But for those players who decide to stick through that baptism of fire, they’ll be rewarded by the cascading layers of interlocking systems that make success feel so cathartic. When it clicks, it’s unlike anything else I’ve played
It’s almost hard to believe that Housemarque have created their first third-person shooter with Returnal. Yet in doing so, they've instantly catapulted themselves to the top of the heap of action shooter developers.
It's roguelike runs are too long and it needs a way to save in the middle of them, but Returnal's third-person shooter action, clever story, and atmosphere are excellent.
Returnal's runs are too long for their own good, but the moment-to-moment action is phenomenal in this surprisingly lengthy and deep third-person shooter roguelike
Returnal was neither a game I was looking forward to, or knew too much about before playing this past week. I’m generally not a fan of rogue-like games, but Returnal has changed my perspective completely. And, while I enjoyed Hades immensely “for a rogue-like game”, I simply enjoyed Returnal. Full Stop.
Returnal Review Impressions: Is it Worth it? PS5 Gameplay. All About Returnal's play time, combat, visuals and more in this review!
VENTUREBEAT - Jeff Grubb (6/10)
My low point with Returnal came as I was struggling to get through the second biome. The monotony of the runs was getting to me, and I would’ve put the game down if I wasn’t reviewing it. Eventually, however, I did get a strong build from the first biome, and that made the second level much easier.
[The difficulty] is not a fatal flaw. But it is one that I think turns significant chunks of Returnal into a slog. And that reduces what is otherwise a great game into one that I merely like.
Returnal is a good game that is held back by pacing issues due to a lack of smaller goals that break up its roguelite structure.
PC MAG (No Score - Review In Progress)
Returnal expertly weaves shoot 'em up and Metroidvania mechanics into its base, roguelike gameplay. Though its tight controls, visual fidelity, and intriguing story may entice you to play, the game's almost insurmountable difficulty will certainly alienate a portion of its intended audience.