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Returnal’s latest update fixes the game’s biggest problem

No photo mode, of course. Also you can finally save the game, kind of

Selene looks downcast in Returnal Image: Housemarque via Polygon
Joshua Rivera (he/him) is an entertainment and culture journalist specializing in film, TV, and video game criticism, the latest stop in a decade-plus career as a critic.

Returnal, Housemarque’s PlayStation 5 exclusive about a woman trapped in a timeloop on an alien world, is meant to be challenging. At launch, it was also largely meant to be tackled in one sitting. Unlike most roguelikes, a reasonably successful Returnal run could take a few hours, and barring the use of the PS5’s suspend feature, there was no way to save your run to finish later — at least, not without sacrificing your ability to play another game, or risking disaster should the power cut out or the game update while the console was in rest mode. Six months after its release, there’s finally a way to save your game.

Live today, Returnal’s 2.0 update brings two major features to the game: the first is a photo mode, because frankly any game that doesn’t have one should be embarrassed. The other is a suspend cycle option, which allows players to save their runs wherever they are (provided they are not in combat or in one of the game’s narrative first-person sequences) and close the game. It’s not a full-on save system — you only get one file, and it’s erased once it’s loaded up again, much like how bookmarks function in a game like Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

It’s a nice compromise that accommodates both those who believe the sometimes-grueling length of Returnal’s runs are part of the game’s point, and those who would like to fit the game in their lives but find one continuous run a little too demanding on their time. At the very least, it’s got me ready to give the game another go.

The next level of puzzles.

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