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Returnal boss guide: How to beat Nemesis

How to defeat the floating boss of the Derelict Citadel

The Nemesis boss fight in Returnal Image: Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Returnal’s third boss, Nemesis, is a massive creature flanked by minions, all of whom you face at the end of the Derelict Citadel. Defeating it requires knowledge of its large-scale attacks and what it does in all three phases of its fight.

In this Returnal boss guide, we’ll show you how to defeat Nemesis. We’ll explain its moves and how to dodge them, and we’ll detail the attacks it uses in all three of its phases.

How to defeat Nemesis

To find Nemesis, follow your objective marker to the red door with triangles that appears at the end of your map. Heading toward this objective brings you to a tower filled with laser traps and multiple enemies. Once you reach the top of the tower, you’ll find Datacube Processor and an Obolite Repository before a pathway toward the boss.

When you enter the boss chamber, your character passes out and wakes up in a dreamlike arena. Nemesis floats in the distance shooting bullets throughout the entire fight. Multiple floating monsters that shoot lasers also assist the boss. Despite the size of your opponent and the numerous companions it has, Nemesis only has one area where it takes damage: a big red spot in the center of its body.

As long as you understand each of its attacks, you can defeat Nemesis. Let’s go through each phase of its attacks one by one.

Nemesis phase one

During the first phase, Nemesis and its minions do basic versions of their attacks. The main boss shoots bullets while its two minions fire sweeping lasers across the rectangular battlefield.

These are the attacks you need to look out for in phase one:

  • The main attack Nemesis does is a volley of orange bullets. To dodge these, run all the way to either side of the arena and once you are nearing the edge, dash in the other direction, and keep moving.
  • Occasionally, the ghostly head of Nemesis shoots an array of purple bullets. Keep moving to either side to avoid them.
  • When one of the minions flies to the upper corner of the screen, they shoot a sweeping laser diagonally across the field. At the same time, Nemesis shoots a wave of blue bullets. Run toward one side to avoid the laser then move forward or backward to avoid the bullets.
  • When the minions take a position on the bottom of the screen, they shoot sweeping horizontal lasers across the field. Jump over these or dash through them. While this is happening, Nemesis shoots a slow volley of blue bullets.

Nemesis phase two

During the second phase, Nemesis transforms the battlefield and disappears. The platform you’re standing on breaks apart into smaller pieces and floats in space.

To find Nemesis, look for its minions. Once you find them, jump and grapple across the platforms and wait for the arrival of the main boss.

Nemesis and its minions use these attacks in phase two:

  • Nemesis continues doing its steady stream of orange bullets. It also occasionally shoots out a blast of blue bullets.
  • Whenever you see two minions shooting lasers at the floor, get ready to jump then dash midair to avoid the twin set of red circular lasers that appear on the floor. The timing for this is a bit tricky.
  • Nemesis also combines attacks like the orange and purple bullets.
  • The minions and the boss continue the sweeping horizontal laser and bullet attack from phase one, but this time, the companions sweep their lasers back and forth. Be prepared to dodge this twice.
  • In rare cases, Nemesis disappears mid-fight and reappears on another platform. If so, you’ll have to jump and grapple to that area to continue the confrontation.

Nemesis phase three

The third phase of the Nemesis boss fight is completely unlike the other two.

After the end of the second phase, Nemesis destroys the entire battlefield and you’ll begin floating midair. From there, floating platforms rise from the clouds, and the boss positions itself far away from you.

You must grapple on top of the floating platforms to make your way to Nemesis. Depending on what weapon you have, you’ll be able to hit the boss from quite far away. You’ll know you’re hitting the boss if your reticle changes when firing, indicating impact.

Nemesis and the minions only have a few attacks this phase, but they hit hard.

  • The only attack Nemesis does is a massive spiraling wave of blue bullets. Stand on a platform and weave between the bullets.
  • The main attack the minions do is a yellow laser. You’ll know they are readying the beam when their faces glow yellow. First, four beams of light shoot from their head. Then as the lasers come together, they come down toward you. Once the beam heads down, it maintains its vertical path. So as it moves down, dodge to the left or right to avoid it.
  • The other attack from the minions is a massive red laser. When a minion’s face glows red, immediately jump off the platform you’re on and grapple to a new one. Once the laser is shot, the minion destroys the platform you were previously standing on.

The last phase requires a bit of platforming while dodging attacks. It can be a bit difficult, but if you learn how to anticipate the attacks from the minions, this phase is straightforward.