For The Players
FHM Magazine South Africa|May 2021
Returnal

It’s been no secret that getting one’s hands on a next-gen console has been extremely tough thanks to various factors caused by the global pandemic. But if you’re one of the lucky few to own a PlayStation 5 right now, you’ll be asking one big question: “Where are the PS5 exclusive games?”. Much like the console shortages, the games for these consoles have also been few and far between, with many delayed deep into 2022. True, the great backwards compatibility on the PS5 has made it a bit easier to take and with the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls the PS5 does have some exclusives. Fortunately, another exclusive is on its way in the form of Returnal, a third-person science-fiction shooter, with a mix of psychological horror and roguelike elements, from Finnish studio Housemarque.

Sci-Fi Groundhog Day

Returnal sees players take on the role of Selene, a space pilot, who is stranded on an alien planet with an unfortunate time loop. Each time Selene dies, she is resurrected, but the world around her has changed and the inhabitants of the planet become increasingly hostile. The key is to survive long enough to escape the time loop and find a way off the planet. At its core, Returnal is a fast-paced, third-person bullet hell shooter with a roguelike twist. You'll need to dodge countless waves of enemy fire and fightback using a variety of weapons at your disposal. Traversal is also a key element as threats will come at you from above and below, so mastering movement will be crucial. Fortunately, you will have access to powerful and exotic weaponry, that will make you live a little bit easier on a planet where everything wants to kill you. You’ll have your standard human weapons, but as you progress you will discover more unique alien technology that can turn the tide in your favor. The challenge will come in studying your new environment and the enemies found within it and making sure you choose the right weapon for the right occasion, as this will be crucial to your survival. The deeper you get into the game, you’ll be exposed to various abilities and power-ups like shields, damage modifiers, and more to give you a tactical advantage. Because in the world of Returnal you will need every advantage to survive, as the game can be quite punishing and certain levels almost reach Dark Souls levels of difficulty.

An Ever-Changing World

With Returnal being a PlayStation 5 exclusive, you will get all the advantages that the console has, from near-instant load times to the celebrated haptic feedback on your controller. It’s also a really good-looking game featuring some breathtaking environments, everything you would expect from a next-gen game. Returnal is a fascinating game and many gamers will fall in love with it. However, this is an extremely tough game and might not be to everyone’s tastes, yet if you’re a fan of bullet-hell games or rogue-likes then you might have just found your new favorite game.

Survival horror games have come a long way since the early days of gaming and the series that brought the genre to the spotlight was the Resident Evil series, first released on PlayStation back in 1996. The series introduced so many first to the genre, from terrifying zombies to tank controls to inventory management. Throughout the 25 years of the series existence, the Resident Evil games have gone through various iterations, and with the release of the official eighth entry in the franchise, Resident Evil Village is set to take the celebrated series into another exciting and terrifying direction.

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