Returnal, the rogue-like shooter from the brilliant team at Housemarque, is finally releasing on the PlayStation 5 next week, so we thought we’d talk about five things that have got us HYPED to play the game.

Returnal is a PlayStation 5 exclusive

Now I don’t mean this as a sly dig to Xbox gamers, but rather that there aren’t a lot of PlayStation 5 exclusives out there. What have we seen so far? Demon’s Souls, Destruction AllStars, Astro’s Playroom… and that’s it. There’s no doubting those games are fun, but that’s three exclusives in around five months.

Whilst it’s fair to say that the PlayStation 5’s catalogue has plenty of fantastic games to play, there aren’t many that you can ONLY play on the platform. Returnal marks the first big AAA exclusive to drop since the console’s release and it’s hard not to feel excited because of it. The PlayStation brand prides itself on its exclusives, so hopefully Returnal can stand out as a reason to own a PlayStation 5.


The team at Housemarque KNOW how to make a good shooter

Housemarque have already proved that they can make a great shooter. Resogun stood out as one of the PlayStation 4’s best launch titles, Nex Machina was an underappreciated gem, whilst I also spent a TON of hours with Super Stardust HD on the PlayStation 3.

That’s just a selection of their back catalogue too, with plenty of stylish shooting romps released over the years. With such a consistent and proven track record, there’s no doubting that they will deliver the goods with Returnal.


There’s an intriguing (and kinda creepy) narrative element in Returnal

You wouldn’t typically associate a gripping narrative with a Housemarque game, but that’s exactly what you get with Returnal. Besides the mystery as to what’s going on to the protagonist Selene during her disastrous recon mission, there’s plenty of alien life to learn more about as well as first-person sequences that see Selene exploring a familiar house. And come on, you can’t HELP but to wonder why the hell she keeps finding her own corpse around…


Returnal is a AAA rogue-like

Maybe it’s because Returnal is a rogue-like? Yep, you can expect to die a lot in the game, and yep, it means starting over. Of course, there are some elements of progression to be carried over each time, so those deaths don’t feel like ‘game over’ – it’s more of a ‘see you soon’ kind of deal.

Rogue-likes are very popular among indie developers, so it feels unique that Returnal gives a AAA-take on the genre. Personally, I’m a fan, and there’s something really satisfying about pushing that bit further with subsequent playthroughs. Seeing how that’s expanded on in a game with a bigger budget and more pizazz intrigues me, especially since it ties into the narrative too. It’s something I’m definitely interested to experience and learn more about when Returnal releases.


The shooting action looks insane (and beautiful)

If you’ve seen any gameplay footage of Returnal, you know that the action of the game looks utterly INSANE. Housemarque are known for implementing bullet hell-like action into their games and that’s certainly the case here with colourful gunfire aplenty. Every showdown with enemies in the game is going to be a centrepiece and I am ALL IN. Who knows what creative and destructive weapons we’ll get to use? Either way, it looks like the gunplay is going to be super satisfying and very varied in design.

And let’s not forget, it looks utterly gorgeous too. Early previews have stated that the game looks sublime with its 4K resolution at 60fps, whilst the 3D audio and DualSense features are meant to work wonders too. It’s the latter that I’m especially excited to experience, with the first-party titles from Sony embracing the controller’s little tricks more meaningfully so far. It seems like Returnal won’t only be beautiful to look at, but it will FEEL fantastic too.


Returnal is coming to the PlayStation 5 on April 30th 2021. You can find out more on the official website through this link.