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Returnal guide: How to break orange-yellow barriers

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You need an artifact to shatter these obstructions

An orange barrier in Returnal Image: Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

There are plenty of things Returnal doesn’t tell you. Thankfully, one of those tricky concepts — breaking orange-yellow barriers — has a straightforward solution.

In this Returnal guide, we’ll show you how to break yellow-orange barriers, explain where you’ll encounter them, and show you the item required to shatter them.

How to break orange-yellow barriers

As you travel through each biome in Returnal, you’ll come across enemies who are covered in a red barrier. Work toward beating the game’s first boss, Phrike, and you’ll unlock the Atropian Blade, a sword that allows you to break things like obolite chunks and slash through red vines. It will also let you dispatch enemies in red barriers.

However, you may come across yellow-orange barriers that block doorways or cover items. Your blade in its standard form can’t break these.

The Blade Balancer in Returanl
You need th Blade Balancer to break orange barriers
Image: Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

To break orange barriers, you have to fabricate an artifact called the Blade Balancer, a tool you can find randomly at fabricators throughout Returnal. You’ll usually find the Blade Balancer available for fabrication at the same station you find the Obolite Repository. It’s a bit pricey, so you may want to exchange ether for obolites to craft it.

With the Blade Balancer equipped, your sword will power up, allowing you to shatter yellow-orange shields the same way you would red ones.

Keep in mind that artifacts like the Blade Balancer are not permanent items in Returnal. If you die and restart your run, you will no longer have the artifact in your inventory. You’ll have to rely on luck to run across this item again if you want to break orange-yellow barriers.