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Housemarque is back

Finally, another PS5 game!

Yes folks, you heard that right, Returnal is a bonafide PS5 release. Is it worth (gulp) $70? It really depends on your penchant for roguelikes.

Returnal (PS5)
Developer: Housemarque
Publisher: Sony
Released: April 30, 2021
MSRP: $69.99

Housemarque is back and I’m into it. Ever since Super Stardust HD they immediately appeared on my radar and haven’t left ever since. While people are quick to point out more well-known games like Resogun when talking about The House, I’m particularly fond of a few of their lesser-known titles like Outland, which was a fantastic take on Ikaruga meets platforming.

This time around the studio is reinventing itself with a third-person shooter roguelike/roguelite. The latter bit is important, because like Hades, you’re going to be keeping permanent upgrades, and in the case of Returnal, shortcuts. So if you loathe the idea of “starting all over” upon every death or failed run, that’s not as much of a concern here. The gimmick involves a very Prometheus-esque setup of a woman (Selene) crash-landing on an alien planet filled with creatures that would make H.R. Giger squirm.

Every time Selene dies, she appears right back at the crash site, and needs to figure out why she’s there; amid a bit of coming to terms with personal trauma added in for good measure. As a result, Selene feels more like a character than a lot of similar genre staples, but there is a good degree of subtlety to avoid Returnal descending into cloying shlock.

Mechanically, you’ll get to your eventual endpoint by huffing it and air dashing through a handful of biomes, as you upgrade both an in-run track (that you lose after death) and an overarching permanent track. It takes some getting used to, but the adaptive triggers and rumble are neatly used here, allowing for regular fire if you slightly press down on L2 to aim, and alt-fire if you slam down hard. Each biome pits you against a big boss at the end, then you move to the next biome, get more upgrades, and try your luck again.

It’s very addictive because the “lite” bit of the rogue moniker is prevalent in the minute-to-minute design. Returnal doesn’t feel overly oppressive for the sake of it, as enemies can be handled through pure skill and twitch action and don’t have many opportunities to cheese or otherwise one-shot players so long as you have situational awareness.

Weapons also pack a punch, as do the vast majority of upgrades. Returnal uses a clever risk-reward system too, which can grant you access to better equipment if you chance that a marked item might give you a “malfunction” penalty. Typically you can heal these off with other items and/or some sort of imposed challenge goal, like “collect 200 currency.”

With this gambling system in mind, the pacing is extremely on-point. Typically upgrades are always within reach, and if they aren’t, I can try my luck with the curse mechanic that can also be adapted to with enough time and skill. Even the chance-based systems of Returnal can feel fair and balanced. A helpful map that marks items without guesswork is a huge plus.

The game’s pacing also highly benefits from a moody atmosphere that is haunting with 3D audio on PS5. It’s unsettling pretty much at all times, which is a very cool way to play a tense roguelike. At one point I had to pause Returnal because it got too tense. It sounds hyperbolic, but it was a good run! The real ones understand.

It’s all good so far right? Well likewise, the more you play, the more you learn and adapt; the more it can become too familiar. In each individual biome I didn’t find the enemy or environment variety to be as interesting as I’d like, and if you’re stuck on a particular area for a while, it can start to get very samey. It’s exacerbated by lengthy periods between permanent upgrades, which can result in a lack of tangible in-game progress: a problem for people who don’t feel like picking up mechanics is its own reward. Daily challenges and leaderboards might coax more out of a specific audience (but I’m going to ignore them).

Then there’s the rest mode requirement. In Returnal, you need to rest mode your PS5 in order to save progress during a hiatus. So if you’re on a really lengthy good run and want to play something else, you’re pressing your luck. Given how many issues I’ve had with rest mode since launch, I’m always uneasy using it, even if all my tests haven’t seen any issues. 

Returnal is a mostly thrilling sci-fi action romp that suffers from a lack of scale at times. In the moment, I’m completely fixated on my run, upgrading like a fiend, and dashing around for iFrames like I was playing a Capcom game. But after that run ends and I’m looking at the bigger picture, Returnal can feel a little smaller than it actually is. Keep that in mind before you take the pricey plunge.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

Returnal reviewed by Chris Carter

7.5

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide

Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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E-Games

How To Find Mutagel In Ark Genesis Part 2?

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After a long wait, Studio Wildcard has finally released the final storyline for Ark: Survival Evolved. With the arrival of Ark: Genesis Part 2, several new creatures, weapons, and other items have appeared in the game.

In order to fulfill their missions, players need to find several items in the game that helps in upgrading or creating other items in the game.

One such item is Mutagel In Ark: Genesis Part 2 which players need to find in order to progress in the story.

In this guide, we shall take a look at how to find Mutagel in Ark and how to use it to create Mutagen.

  • MORE: Ark Genesis Part 2 – All New Dinos And Creatures

ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition – Launch Trailer

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ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition – Launch Trailer

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Mutagel Location In Ark Genesis Part 2

The Mutagen is a resource that enables the survivor to further evolve their existing tames in Ark: Genesis Part 2. It can also be used to improve the statistics of non-bred dinos in the game.

Mutagel can also be crafted into Mutagen at a Chemistry bench, which can be used later to tame Stryders. It takes 800 Mutagel to make 1 Mutagen so make sure you collect lots of it.

Space Area

To get Mutagel from rocks, you can head over to the space area where you can find different rocks depending on the time of the day.

Next, you need to look for orange/golden colored rocks in the space area to mine Mutagel. These rocks are scattered in the area and they contain both Mutagel and Ambergris inside it.

Mutagel rocks

You can use a pickaxe to break the rocks and collect Mutagen from it.

Alternatively, you can obtain Mutagel in Rockwell’s Innards biome from a Mutagen plant. It yields 1 Mutagel and 1 Plant Species R Seed. It can also trigger a defense against multiple Summoner and their minions.

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E-Games

Genshin Impact 1.6 Kazuha Banner 4 Star Characters, Release Date

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Last year was filled with a number of highly anticipated titles, but Genshin Impact managed to come out on top amidst all of that. By the end of the year, it had over 40 million players.

When it comes to updates, there are only a few games that are as consistently updates as Genshin Impact. With a new update releasing every six weeks, fans always have tons of new content to look forward to.

  • MORE: Genshin Impact 1.6 Livestream Officially Announced

With the release of the next update drawing closer, the community is quite eager to know what new stuff we will be getting in the 1.6 Update. So far, we have got to know that we will finally be getting costumes, something fans have been asking for quite a while now.

Apart from that, a new region known as Summer Islands and character, Kazuha, will be joining the game.

Collected Miscellany – “Eula: Surging Frost” | Genshin Impact

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Collected Miscellany – “Eula: Surging Frost” | Genshin Impact

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Genshin Impact 1.6 Kazuha Banner 4 Star Characters, Release Date

Today, a new leak has given us the details of the Kazuha banner. The leak comes from popular Genshin Impact leaker Lumie and it states that the Kazuha banner will be featuring Rosaria, Bennett, and Razor.

This is in line with the leaks which surfaced almost a month ago, so it seems quite likely that this is true. Do note that unless official information is out, this should be taken with a grain of salt.

Apart from that, the Klee banner will also be arriving as per leaks. It will be featuring “Klee – Fischl – Sucrose – [No Trial]”, according to Wangsheng Funeral Parlor. It will be interesting to see if we actually end up getting the same characters. However, considering that leaks in the past have been quite accurate, there is high chance of this being true. As far as the release date is concerned, Kazuha might be the first banner arriving in 1.6, followed by Klee.

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First Biomutant patch will tackle dialogue problems alongside combat Biomutant

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The developers at Experiment101 have announced they’re working on an update for Biomutant, naturally, that they “hope to get into players’ hands soon.” The update will include work on some of the community’s most persistent bugbears, like “the pacing of dialogues, narrator settings, difficulty settings, video settings like depth of field and motion blur, loot and enemy tuning as well as sound and combat.”

Weird dialogue pacing, as well as the persistent and constant narration, have been key notes from many players. Though you can turn down the constant chatter from the narrator, you can’t turn it off.

Key for some people, me included, is a promise to change video settings like depth of field and motion blur. Some people don’t like those. I do not like them. For now, you can go and find some mods to change those—they’re already out there.

Reviewer James Davenport found Biomutant to have a charming world, but lackluster gameplay, in our review. “Biomutant feels like it’s going to be much more,” he said, “but in practice it’s an endless stream of new ideas that go nowhere and beautiful, toxic landscapes with little to offer except an excuse to use photo mode.”

Nonetheless, James did give out some hot tips for making the most of Biomutant.

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