“Returnal” is a psychological horror video game that will take you through a time loop, while exploring an ancient alien shape-shifting planet.
Returnal (2021) is a psychological horror video game containing rogue-like features from the third-person perspective. The game is PlayStation 5 exclusive and is out now. Players follow Selene, a space pilot, who is stuck on a strange alien planet called Atropos.
After disobeying orders, Selene attempts to land on the off-limits planet, Atropos, to investigate a signal called White Shadow. She crash-lands on the shape-shifting planet and finds herself stuck in a psychological time loop. While exploring in Returnal, Selene discovers multiple corpses of herself.
Isolated and alone, Selene must search through a barren landscape of an ancient civilization for an escape. Through her journey, she must protect herself against alien lifeforms. However, dying will make Selene restart her journey. Every time Selene dies in Returnal, she loops back to the crash site.
While searching for the mysterious White Shadow signal, Selene scavenges alien technology left over from the ancient, now extinct, aliens who once lived on the planet. She also finds a replica of her childhood home. Every time she enters, she recalls old memories and encounters an Astronaut wearing an antique space suit.
Selene’s memories in Returnal are about her troubled relationship with her mother, and her neglected son. Her memories escalate and reveal two car accidents, one crippling her mother, the other leading to her son’s death. Another memory reveals that Selene shot down her ship, making it crash land onto the planet.
Ultimately, in Returnal, Selene resolves the location of the White Shadow, filling her with more visions of the past and future before powering down. After her encounter with the White Shadow, Selene’s corporation, ATSRA, finally receives her distress call and sends a rescue ship.
Selene returns to Earth as a hero and eventually dies from old age. Plot twist, but only to reawaken back on planet Atropos at the crash site, because of the Returnal time loop. She then explores the planet once more, until her search leads her into an underwater abyss.
Furthermore, Selene finds a replica of her old car under the water. At this moment, the result of what happens next depends on whether the player of Returnal searched Selene’s house and found her car keys.
If Selene did not find her keys, she continues into the abyss where she encounters an octopus-alien creature. She then relives her horrible memory of the car crash, where Selene swerves to avoid an Astronaut standing on the road, driving the car off a bridge and into a nearby lake. As both Selene and her son start to drown, Selene’s vision clouds up, indicating she is looping back to the crash site.
However, if Selene did find her keys in the player’s Returnal game version, she then opens her car door and confronts a corrupted version of her mother. After defeating her corrupted mother, Selene travels back in time to find out that she is the Astronaut that caused her past self to swerve off the road. Consequently, she is the reason why her son is dead. Selene comes back from her time-traveling vision to find herself still underwater. She swims to the surface and cries out her son’s name.
Selene settles that she cannot fathom her son’s death and decides that the loop on Atropos is what she deserves. Returnal is, needless to say, an intense game.
Take a look at what you can expect from the intense gaming experience in “Returnal!”