Astra’s Guide to Returnal – Eight Tips for Surviving on Atropos

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The planet Atropos is filled with all kinds of dangers, living and mechanical, and even the environment itself. Selene’s survival is pretty much guaranteed in Returnal, but with a few helpful tips, you might have a better chance of getting off the alien planet alive. Here are eight tips to help future Astra scouts find their way home.

Other Return Guides – What transfers between playthroughs?

Use the right weapon for the job

Returnal offers ten different weapons, but Selene also has access to a blade as one of her first permanent upgrades and various consumables to give her a boost. Each of the ten weapons has its own strengths and is better suited to a particular task. If you know that the region you’re in has a lot of flying enemies (the third, fourth, and sixth biomes are the most common), don’t use a weapon that offers only one shot before Selene has to reload. Faster firearms like the Sidearm with Burst Fire unlocked, the Tachyomatic Carbine, and Hollowseeker all enable rapid firing to take down multiple flying enemies before Selene has to reload. For bosses and single enemy encounters, don’t be afraid to pick up the Rotgland Lobber or Coilspine Shredder. These weapons deal massive damage in a single hit, but must be reloaded after one (or two, if the correct attribute is unlocked) shots. If you want to get up close and personal, both the Spitmaw Blaster and the Dreadbound each deal large amounts of damage when Selene is just a few steps away from her target.

Always keep a Silphium vial available

When Selene begins her journey, she can only carry one stack of consumables at a time. As players move deeper into Atropos, they earn two more item spaces, giving Selene up to three supply spaces to equip. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, it’s wise to keep some sort of cure on hand. You will never know if the next room you venture into could be shut down and force you to start a miniboss encounter that you otherwise weren’t prepared for.

Don’t be afraid to pick up a parasite or three

In addition to artifacts, Selene can also fuse with the various extra-large parasites that call Atropos home. Every parasite that Selene fuses with has both a positive and a negative quality that can drastically alter her powers and playstyle. Most of the time, the positive effects of a particular parasite will far outweigh the negative effects, but you always want to read what you’re attaching to Selene’s spacesuit. Some of the more beneficial parasite effects include an auto repair when Selene is of low integrity (health), allowing Selene to survive a deadly blow once and providing a 25% chance of not using a consumable.

Know how to get rid of unwanted parasites

Selene can attach up to five parasites to her body at a time, so what do you do when you find one that you think will suit your play style? There are two methods of immediate parasite removal. Selene can be unlocked by redeeming Ether on the terminal outside the crashed Helios and can purchase a consumable that will instantly release all parasites from her body. Some rooms, usually right before or after a boss fight in Returnal, have a machine that allows Selene to unplug any parasite in exchange for Obolites. This can be a great way to make some extra money to buy an artifact that can make a big difference. Still, it is sometimes worthwhile to keep certain parasites attached because of their hugely beneficial positive effects.

Try out every new weapon you find

Not only will you discover a wide variety of weapons for Returnal, but the different fire modes can change the way Selene runs through each region of the game. Since each weapon has randomized attributes, you will occasionally come across a new passive ability or alternate fire mode that you have not yet learned. Take the time to pick up the weapon and unlock these abilities by killing a select number of enemies. You will never know when you might just find one weapon for an entire biome and make the most of it. Each boss fight has a modified Sidearm SD-M8 conveniently placed outside, so don’t feel like you have to make the fight more challenging with the wrong weapon.

Keep Selene’s adrenaline going for as long as possible

Returnal rewards players skilled enough to keep Selene out of harm’s way with the Adrenaline system. Linking kills increases Selene’s Adrenaline levels and unlocks up to five new passive abilities, from increasing the Overload range when reloading a weapon to increasing the effectiveness of her melee swing and doubling the number Obolites that drop enemies. As long as Selene doesn’t take a hit (being shielded prevents one source of damage), her Adrenaline can continue to do an entire playthrough if the player is skilled enough.

Be smart with malicious items

In Returnal, Selene will occasionally come across items that are cursed with a purple hue, indicating that they may be malicious. Anytime the player picks up any of these items or opens a cursed chest, they risk malfunction. These are similar to the negative effects of a parasite, but have different criteria for removing them from Selene’s system every time. It’s best to pick up a malicious item when Selene has only zero or one defect, as a stack of three can cause a critical failure, destroying either a piece of accumulated resin or even one of Selene’s artifacts. As long as you play it safe and don’t let Selene get too many glitches, these cursed items can be a great boost to her combat potential.

Always pick up Silphium boosts even in full health

Selene’s main form of healing comes from picking up small and large Silphium chunks. These give the player a quick health recovery, but what happens if you are already on maximum integrity? When Selene no longer needs healing, Silphium chunks found in the wild are automatically converted into Silphium resin. Collecting three of these (or two with the correct artifact) instantly increases Selene’s max health. These will stick even when you leave the room and come back, so don’t forget to pick them all up before tackling the region boss.

Hopefully your first trip to Atropos with these tips won’t turn into a suicide mission. If you liked these tips and want to share something else you think could help your fellow Astra scouts, please leave them in the comments below!

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