Returnal Combat Guide – Overload, Adrenaline, Tips & Tricks

Returnal Combat Guide

Returnal features unforgiving combat and one that could easily overwhelm you if you are a relatively new player to roguelikes. For this very reason, we have curated this Returnal Combat Guide in which we have listed down some tips and tricks that will help you out surviving in the game for longer. We have covered everything ranging from controller type, using overload and adrenaline, managing your health, and plenty of other things in the guide below.

Combat Guide – Returnal

Our Returnal Combat Guide details some tips and tricks that will help you out with combat in Returnal.

Choose Between Adaptive Triggers or Classic Controls

With the launch of the new DualSense controller for PS5, gamers now have new ways of experiencing games and Adaptive Triggers are one of the new features. While they might not be for everyone, Adaptive Triggers provide a new intuitive way of experiencing shooters and Returnal is making the best use of them in combat. For shooting, pressing down the Adaptive Trigger to its halfway mark allows you to aim down the sights and shoot at your enemies however pressing it all the way down switches to your weapons Alt-Fire mode.

This might be a little confusing since we are normally used to pressing buttons harder than usual in tense situations, this time around, pressing down L2 hard enough will result in a different firing mode. If you can get easily adapted to this new shooting mechanic, you can keep the Adaptive Triggers on however the developers thought of this and introduced a classic shooter mode as well for players who want to stick with the regular shooting mode for L2. For this, you will need to assign another key for the weapon’s Alt-Fire mode.

While it may be different for every player, trying them out is always beneficial, and see if you can get used to the new Adaptive Triggers. If yes, well, and good but if not, you can easily switch to the classic controller mode and use the triggers for aiming and shooting and another key for your weapon’s Alt-Fire mode. You can practice a bit with both modes and see which one suits you better because Returnal is a pretty challenging game and you being comfortable with the controls will play a big part in you winning or losing in the game.

Master Overload as Soon as Possible

If you have played Gears of War, you would remember the active reload of that game where if you reload in the perfect zone, you get boosted damage for the entire clip. A similar mechanic is also present in Returnal however here it is called Overload. While reloading, a reload bar will appear in the middle of the screen with a bonus zone. If you press R2 while the bar is between the sweet spot, you will quickly reload and get damage, health, or any other buff as well. Make sure that you practice and get good at this to make sure that you are not just reloading but overloading.

Keep an Eye Out on Your Health

While combat can quickly become extremely overwhelming in Returnal, it is really important that you must keep an eye out at your health as well. Making sure that you keep an eye out at your health will ensure that you are always aware of your current standing in the game. If your health gets drastically low, the screen starts to flash red as well however if you are aware of your health at all times, you will start looking for health pickups much sooner than that. Try to pick up health items even if your health is full because it will eventually let you increase your health meter allowing you to take more damage ultimately.

Build and Maintain Adrenaline

As you fight and kill enemies, you will build Adrenaline if you manage to kill three enemies in a row without taking a hit. For this, you can focus on smaller enemies and build your Adrenaline because once you have Adrenaline built up, you will get a buff and it will keep stacking until 5. These buffs are exceptionally helpful in combat and they also give you the confidence of being more offensive in the game. Keep and maintain your adrenaline high and you will always be buffed with various bonuses.

Always Be on the Move to Avoid Taking Damage

In Returnal, you have a hefty move set that you can use to move around quickly and dodge incoming attacks. Pressing L3 allows you to sprint, X is your basic jump while pressing Circle allows you to dash around to dodge incoming attacks. You must know that you can dodge through enemy projectiles as well so if you see a wall of projectiles coming your way that seems unavoidable, simply dodge through them and you should be fine.

With enemies around, you should always be on the move and never simply just stand and shoot. You must have a balance between running around and then standing and shooting and then running away once more. Add dodge and jump in the mix according to developing situations and the agility should keep you alive for a longer time than normal. Try to stay in a good range of your enemies but keep moving and shooting in order to stay safe and kill the monsters as well.

Never Get Boxed In

Enemies in Returnal are brutal and they will not stop at anything to kill you. For this very purpose, some of the enemies appear in large numbers and they will try to box you in by surrounding you from all sides. All incoming attacks from outside your screen are marked on your screen in the direction from where the attack is coming from but eventually, if the attacks are coming from all the directions, you cannot really figure out what to do. It is important that you always try to not to get surrounded by enemies.

Understand Enemy Attack Patterns and Counter Accordingly

Each enemy is Returnal is unique and they come with attacks and abilities that are far beyond the normal slap or AoE attacks. Some enemies can teleport right in your face while some enemies have the ability to manipulate space-time in order to attack you. Facing these enemies is not easy in the game unless you understand their attack patterns and know when to shoot your way to safety or when to dodge. Take a few minutes to understand the attack patterns of each enemy type, run around, go back and even try to isolate bigger enemies from the crowd to make combat easy for yourself.

Look for Resurrection Items

Since Returnal is a roguelike, there are no mid-level checkpoints and you will have to restart the level from the very start if you are killed in the game. In addition, all levels are procedurally generated so no run is the same so losing your hours of progression could be annoying. There are multiple ways, however, that will give you a second chance in the game to continue if you die. One of them is the Astronaut Figures in the game that you can pick up and keep in your inventory.

These are pretty rare in the game but if you die in the game, these will respawn you at the spot where you die with full health. Apart from finding these astronaut figurines, you can also spend some Ether at the Reconstructors in order to save your progress and nab another respawn point. If you die somewhere later in the level, all your progress will be restored from the Reconstructor giving you a second life in the game for trying again.

Restart at Anytime

You do not necessarily have to die in order to begin a fresh run. If you think that the run is not going according to your plan, simply pause the game and choose to restart and you will begin afresh with full health, new enemies, a new map, and probably somewhat higher morale than the last time to complete your run this time around.

Switch to Melee to Finish Off Enemies

Eventually in the game, you will unlock your melee attack in the game which is great to quickly take out smaller enemies and stunning bigger enemies. If you hit a big enemy with your melee attack, you will often stun them and get yourself a clean window of hitting them. If you are lucky, you will often kill them before they are back to their fighting position.

Focus on Turrets and Healers First in Combat

Quite often you will come across rooms where enemies have turret support as well. These turrets are placed in different areas so they will shoot you when you are least expecting them. These are however bright red in color, and you can easily spot them in a room so make sure that you destroy them as soon as you enter the area with turrets in it.

Apart from turrets, certain rooms will have long, green glowing lines running here and there. This is a sign that there are healer towers around and unless you destroy the towers, the enemies in the area will keep respawning over and over again. Before shooting at the enemies, you must focus on these healers first and take them out so that they do not keep healing the monsters and enemies in the arena.

For more Returnal guides, check out our Returnal Wiki.

This concludes our Returnal Combat Guide. If you want to add anything to this guide, feel free to use the comments section below.

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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