Here’s another title from PlayStation Studios making the journey from the PlayStation ecosystem to PC. Returnal arrives on this new platform in good shape, having worked and improved as it should, mainly by including some options that were not present at launch, such as the loop pause function, allowing you to pause playback and then return to point where you stopped. Also, don’t forget the Ascension update, which made co-op play possible. So it’s a well-cleaned version of this delicious Housemarque roguelike, which has so enchanted and surprised fans of the genre and beyond.
Returnal tells the story of the astronaut Selene’s stay on a hostile planet, Atropos. Trapped in an endless cycle of life and death from which she cannot escape, Selene wanders the randomly arranged zones in search of answers and a possible way out. He finds his bodies from previous cycles lying on the battlefield. Sometimes you get a glimpse of what happened in previous cycles through messages he leaves. For more in-depth storytelling, you can always go back and read our original review, for the PS5 version, which remains valid as the PC version is exactly the same.
Being the exact same game as the Sony console, this Returnal has only minor tweaks, unrelated to graphics. In the menu we now have the possibility to observe our progress, with everything we discover, even the percentage of what has been achieved in each of the biomes, an addition that was welcomed as it allows us to effectively observe what has already been achieved achieved. Visually, there are significant improvements that the PC platform obviously provides, very flexible and with capabilities that go as far as the user’s hardware allows.
Huge options in optical settings
In a title with so much speed, quickness of movement and execution of multiple skills and mechanics, it’s important to get as many frames as possible, and the options allow for just that. I praise this transfer who is responsible for Climax Studios, they added huge configurations in this version that allow the perfect Return to the platform of every player. Those with powerful machines can achieve very high-quality graphics, with the obvious high resolutions (21:9 and even 32:9 option), the inclusion of ray tracing (shadows and reflections), more defined textures and even more intense particle effects which is a feast for the eyes. But the humbler machines are not forgotten, the options are so many that we can adjust everything until an attractive fluidity is achieved, obviously you lose a lot of visual luxury, but it allows you to take advantage of all the adrenaline that sprouts Returnal .
But not everything is perfect here, although there is a collection of shaders when you first start up or after updates to both the game and the GPU drivers, there are some slight issues with stuttering, especially when entering new zones. I also noticed that when using the ray tracing options, the stuttering intensity increases, due to the higher load on the GPU. As beautiful as these RT effects are, I recommend turning them off in exchange for superior fluidity. Honestly, after the first few moments our focus is no longer on those delightful visual details, we’re so focused on the action that the ray tracing effects go completely unnoticed. However, they can be great for photography or anyone who really has a top-of-the-line camera.
The ability to play at high frames per second allows for absolutely mind-blowing clashes
With everything well-formed, with the fluidity we want, Returnal for PC is actually the most over-the-top version one can get. If on PS5 with 60fps the speed was already at very high levels, on PC things go up several steps. It’s simply amazing to progress through the randomly presented areas of each of the biomes, feeling the adrenaline rush with so much going on at once. The ability to play at high frames per second allows absolutely shocking clashes, elevated after acquiring the equipment that allows a faster, more flexible and efficient movement inside the arenas, namely Icário Arpéu, we become an authentic killing machine.
3D sound and DualSense make the difference
This bridge made from PlayStation 5 to PC is not only made of the title itself, but also carries in its baggage the unique features that Sony’s engine allows. 3D sound is back and really makes a difference. The achieved sonority makes it possible to differentiate sounds with impressive precision and clarity. DualSense or DualSense Edge is also fully supported and advised, from haptic feedback to adaptive triggers, the experience is completely different when playing with the official PlayStation 5 controller. The hands are not as immersive, they are not really the same thing. It should be noted that to take full advantage of DualSanse / Edge, a wired connection to the computer is required.
Returnal is crystalline and vertiginous adrenaline
Returnal was a wonderful surprise in 2021 and continues to be a wonderful experience in 2023. This jump to PC allows it to reach its full potential, both visually and performance-wise. Break free from the limitations imposed by console hardware. Stretch your legs and fly at full speed for an experience few video games can offer. If you’ve been waiting for its arrival on PC, then you can’t even blink, it’s a no-holds-barred acquisition. If you were impressed by what Housemarque managed to do on PS5, you will be even more so now with this new version created with the help of Climax Studios. The return is crystal clear and dizzying adrenaline.