20 Things To Do First In Returnal – Returnal Wiki Guide


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Welcome to the Things To Do First page of the official IGN Wiki guide and walkthrough for Returnal on PlayStation 5. Returnal is a rogue-lite game set on the mysterious and ever-changing planet of Atropos.

The game doesn’t tell you much when you start and you might find yourself building a list of questions you have about the game. We did the same thing, but now that we’re further into the game, we We have the answers and they are compiled below. Check out our tips below for things to do first in Returnal.


  • Pass away! Seriously, die and don’t feel bad for doing it. Much of the game’s story is told in the flashbacks and quick cutscenes that take place between death and your next run.
  • Look for the Atropian Weapon Charger piece of equipment. This is a permanent piece of gear that unlocks Alt-Fire Mode for every weapon you have on you and every weapon you pick up in the future.
  • After finding the Atropian Weapon Loader, practice using your pistol’s standard fire and alt-fire mode.
  • To use your weapon’s alt-fire mode, you must fully lower L2, or at least after the shutter button has been pressed halfway. You’ll feel the trigger “unlock”, so to speak, and you’ll see the on-screen reticle change to reflect the alt-fire mode.

  • To use your weapon’s standard shot, you must either fire from the hip by pressing R2 without pressing L2 or by pulling L2 down halfway – when you feel the trigger lock, that’s as far as you can go before activating the weapon’s alt-fire mode.
  • Familiarize yourself with the game’s many items and item icons on the minimap. The return can get frantic pretty quickly and at those times you’ll probably be running around looking for Silphium to boost your health or a consumable. Knowing exactly where the item you need is on the minimap will make things much easier.
  • Stop and feel the rain. Seriously. The DualSense’s haptic feedback really shines in Returnal in many ways and the first time you’ll likely feel it is the game’s rain, which features heavily in Returnal’s first biome, Overgrown Ruins.
  • Take time to get used to the return speed: Returnal is an extremely fast game. Selene’s standard move speed is as fast as some games’ run speed, and her run speed (press L3 to run) is even faster. Aiming while running – let alone running – can be quite jarring at first, so take some time to get used to how it works.

  • Give enemies time to attack – it’s easy to immediately attack an enemy on sight, but this will often trigger an animation from them that prevents them from attacking. Give yourself some time to see what an enemy’s attack looks like, because you won’t have time to do that when you’re up against multiple enemies on screen later in the first biome.
  • Look at the game map: Press the large touch button on the DualSense to display the map. Take a look at what the map looks like and find out how it translates to the minimap. You should also try to memorize each of the minimap symbols (which are also present on the map) – it’s important to know that the rectangular teal “door” symbols mark golden doors while the “door” symbols ” Purple triangles mark optional areas.
  • Explore every nook and cranny of the first biome. This will introduce you to how the game’s biomes work and how they are laid out. It will also show you how essential it is to explore each room of a biome first. Many important items can be found in these chambers.
  • Explore your ship after you die multiple times – eventually, after dying a few times, you’ll be in your ship with a first-person view. Check your ship’s log, ignore the open hole on the left (this starts your next run), and take a look at the Daily Challenges section when you unlock it.


  • Practice dashing: Dashing is so, so, so important in Returnal. It’s a move that can make or break a run, as messing up a dash in the middle of serious attacks that deal high damage can end in your death. You’ll want to become a dashing pro as quickly as possible. Dashing also gives you a brief invincibility window and you can probably guess how useful that is in this game.
  • Search the Atropian Blade: this is the melee of the game and when you find this blade you will unlock it permanently. It is necessary to advance in the first biome of the game and it is necessary to destroy the walls which often prevent you from obtaining objects like Silphium microphones and more.
  • Ignore enemies with red shields around them if you don’t have the Atropian Blade yet: you won’t be able to destroy them.
  • Look for anything and everything on the purple glowing floor: This is more than likely an Atropian Key, which is a key used to unlock the red locked doors scattered throughout the game’s first biome.

  • Read all entries in your personal diary. There are a ton of items and enemies in Returnal and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with all of them. The best way to do this (other than reading IGN’s Returnal wiki guide and walkthrough) is to read your journal entries.
  • Discover the Cthonos Pillar near the ship after its death. The small circle on the front will glow white. When it does, interact with it. You’ll learn that you can put Ether in it to receive a random item – that random item is often extremely useful when re-running.
  • Don’t Worry About Datacubes: you will collect them during your first races in Returnal and you may find yourself confused with what they do. That’s okay because you won’t learn more about them until you beat the first boss.
  • Give each of the weapons you find in Returnal’s first biome, the Overgrown Ruins, a turn. There is no one fixed weapon that is better than the rest – it all depends on how proficient you are with using a weapon and you won’t be able to figure it out until you try out each weapon well.

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