An essential Returnal update

Y’all. I am having fun with this one.

Returnal has one major problem and one major annoyance. The major problem is the saving thing. It is absolutely crazy that there’s no way to take a break in the middle of a run. Go ahead and wipe everything after dying just like you’ve been doing; hell, set the save functionality at the Reconstructors and charge me Ether for them if you want to, but there’s got to be a way I can quit and go have dinner like a human being or, hell, go to bed on time without risking a run.

The major annoyance? Maybe not that major, I dunno, but Trophies are borked to hell and back, and for people who are known to be completists like me, that’s aggravating. I’ve beaten one particular boss three times and the trophy for beating him hasn’t popped yet. I assume it’ll show eventually, maybe after the next patch, but right now it’s pissing me off.

(If you don’t understand a single sentence of the last two paragraphs, forgive me; I don’t have any friends or even online acquaintances who share my video game habit so my only real option is to write on the blog. I can’t even get anyone to bite on Twitter. You’d think at least a handful of the nearly eleven thousand people who follow me there would be a gamer, but you’d be wrong.)

Beyond that, though, this is one of the most fun shooters I’ve ever played, right up there with Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is probably my favorite shooter of all time. The controls are just beautifully executed on a technical level, and this game shares some DNA with the Dark Souls series, in that at least so far everything has felt fair. Like, don’t get me wrong, everything and everything and everything wants to and is able to kill your ass, and absolutely will kill your ass, but the word “bullshit” has escaped my mouth very few times during some very long runs, although there’s been a serious difficulty spike in the most recent area I’ve gotten to. The weapons are all great; everything that I’ve used except for the starter pistol has been my favorite weapon for at least a little while, and the pistol’s not bad, it’s just … y’know, a pistol, which isn’t remotely as fun as, say, the weapon called the Rotgland Lobber.

I love my Rottie. Love it.

The story is another thing that is holding it back from my usual BEST THING EVAR enthusiasm, but it’s possible that I’ll feel differently once I finish the game. There was a hell of a mid-game twist, but they’re leaning heavy into what-the-hell-is-going-on-here and it remains to be seen whether I’ll think the story is coherent once I’m done with the game. I will, of course, update again at that time.

I know you don’t have a PS5, and don’t buy one just to play this, but if you get one, you should probably pick Returnal up with it.

In which we have a problem

On the one hand, something has finally dragged me away from Skyrim, although I’m not remotely close to finishing the game and will be going back to it sooner or later. Skyrim is just that big, if you’ve never played it, that a month of four or five days a week play has gotten me maybe halfway through it. If I’m lucky.

On the other hand, the game that has dragged me away from Skyrim is Returnal, otherwise known as the game where you can’t save, and I just had a pretty successful run (I finally found the sword, and I beat the first boss for the first time) that took nearly two hours, on a night where I legitimately had a handful of other things I would like to have done. I was having fun, mind you, and I don’t necessarily begrudge the game the time, because it’s immensely satisfying to play– but I would like to have quit after, say, an hour of that successful run to go do something else, and come back to the game at some other time. I’m only typing this now because I finally got killed a bit of the way into the second level and thus was able to get up and walk away.

They’re gonna have to fix this, I think, for this game to be viable. The basic gameplay loop is a hell of a lot of fun, and I’m going to get more efficient at it as I play more and get better, but tonight was about as long as I ever have to play at a stretch (he said, ignoring the imminence of summer vacation) and they’re going to have to build in a viable way to put the game down and walk away or I’m really not going to be able to play this for much longer.

I had a whole thing planned here as a follow-up to yesterday’s post, but it’s almost Goddamned nine already, and I guess I’l let you wait until tomorrow and tell you how my Cheating Solution went. I expect to leave work tomorrow with every student I have angry with me.