Upon its release Returnal, the bizarre bullet-hell game with rogue-like influence from developer Housemarque received plenty of good press and solid reviews for its fun gameplay and dark atmosphere. However, the one thing the game got hammered on was its lack of a decent save state.
Each cycle the player can play starts at the beginning and forces the player to make their way through every aspect of the said dungeon, sometimes taking several hours to play before with death or victory, and the cycle restarts. Should your PlayStation 5 shut off during that, or your power goes out, or your system update while in rest mode, a great run can be lost and you can find yourself waking up at your ship with nothing to show for it.
Finally, after 179 days, Returnal has received a 2.0 update that adds the ability for players to suspend their cycle. This news was announced via a PlayStation Blog post in which the Housmarque Game Director Harry Kreuger stated:
One of the main features of this update is the Suspend Cycle functionality, which will allow you to pause your cycle to be continued later on, letting you exit the game and turn off your console without losing your progress in that session. The structure of the game remains unchanged, so this functionality is not a traditional mid-game ‘Save Game’ option: by suspending the cycle, Returnal will simply create a single use suspend point, and once you resume playing, the suspend point is deleted and cannot be used again.
This has been a common feature also present in RPG games, allowing for a one-time use suspension when the party is deep in the field with no save point in sight. This should help, at least to some degree, put players’ minds at ease that they can walk away and not lose their progress. This suspension does require manual input from the player, meaning this like what was mentioned above will still destroy a run, but at least now you can keep them from happening when you walk away from your game.
Limitations to this feature also include Boss battles, cinematics, first-person sequences, or during intense combat scenarios as the team feels the flow of these should remain intact to keep the integrity of the rogue-like experience.
While this is a big addition to the game, this update also adds a photo mode to the game, letting players capture their best moments in the game. The lack of some form of Save State was a turn-off for many potential players at launch, so hopefully, we will see the new inclusion of it renew interest in the title and get players to Returnal to playing it.