Returnal: Best weapons guide & tier list
Returnal forces players to experience something new upon every death, so we created a tier list for the weapons to prevent you from dying.
In Housemarque’s roguelike shooter, Returnal, both your equipment and the levels reset upon every death. With a new choice for weaponry every time you reset, which ones are the best to keep your hopes of surviving going?
Housemarque’s PS5 exclusive Returnal features a roguelike format, randomly generating levels for each life, which is known as a cycle.
As the levels reset and alter upon every death, so does your weaponry. With a new experience in every life, these are the weapons you should be looking to pick up in order to progress through the shape-shifting planet, Atropos in Returnal.
From developers Housemarque, Returnal poses as a fun, challenging, but also confusing game, featuring an abundance of weaponry and modifying traits.
In this guide, we will be looking into weaponry and detailing which ones feel powerful and which ones could lead to your demise.
The tier system:
- S-Tier weapons are the best for every situation
- A-Tier are amazing in their own right
- B-Tier weapons are just missing something
- C-Tier ones are not worth your time
Our Returnal weapon tier list:
- S-Tier: Thermogenic Launcher, Pyroshell Caster
- A-Tier: Electropylon driver, Spitmaw Blaster
- B-Tier: Tachyomatic Carbine, Rotgland Lobber, Coilspine Shredder
- C-Tier: Modified Sidearm, Dreadbound, Hollowseeker
Returnal C-Tier weapons
Modified Sidearm SD-M8
This weapon is Selene’s sidearm, a pistol-like weapon that seems puny and lackluster due to its appearance, but should not be dismissed.
This is the weapon you will start every new playthrough with and therefore will be one of your most-used weapons, especially at the start of the game. However, the weapon does start to get worse the further you delve into planet Atropos.
There are many modifying traits in Returnal, but the one most promising for this weapon is the Homing Missiles, dealing extra damage while maintaining its fast fire rate.
The Dreadbound is Returnal’s crossbow-type weapon that deals a lot of damage on hit, but also as the projectile retracts back towards the user.
This is another unique weapon that requires some learning and although it has a slow rate of fire, players who can master the retraction mechanic can line enemies up and deal damage to multiple entities with one shot.
This weapon is an odd one, and possibly the weakest out of all the weapons in Returnal. The Hollowseeker is an extremely fast firing weapon with weak damage.
Although it performs well against the weaker enemies, against the bigger, mini-bosses, the Hollowseeker does more towards getting you killed than staying in the cycle.
Even with the right traits this weapon still feels weak, this is mostly because you really need to focus fire and stay on target to do a lot of damage with this weapon, which is not an easy task when you’re also trying to dodge projectiles all over the place.
Returnal B-Tier weapons
The Tachyomatic Carbine is another one of the starting weapons that you will find early on in Returnal. It features a fast, automatic fire rate, which bodes well especially if you get the timing down on the overcharge reload system.
Although it may seem a little weak later on in the game, the fire rate allows this weapon to succeed and with a trait like Rising Pitch, which further increases the rate of fire, this weapon can greatly increase your chances of survival during the first couple of biomes.
The Rotgland Lobber is another slow-firing weapon that deals a lot of damage. As well as damaging on impact, it also leaves a pool of acid which further damages enemies who decide to take a dip.
The longer you hold down the trigger with this weapon, the further the blobs of acid will go. Although it deals a lot of damage, sustaining fire and dealing lots of DPS (damage per second) with this weapon can be difficult making it one of the best weapons for smaller enemies, but worst for mini-bosses.
Lastly, the Coilspine Shredder is another weapon you may only encounter a few times as it appears fairly late into the game. This weapon features a slow fire rate, but can also damage multiple enemies at a time with its wide-reaching projectiles.
If you can place your shots well, hit multiple enemies at once, and time your overcharge reload, this weapon can be extremely deadly at taking down multiple foes at once.
Returnal A-Tier weapons
This weapon is probably the most unique of all in Returnal, as it shoots pylons that connect together with a deadly red beam. This weapon is most effective when you’re leading enemies into the pylon’s beams, although the pylons themselves also do damage on impact.
It requires the most learning out of all weapons and is a more defensive playstyle than any other, but once you get the hang of it you can leave deadly traps around the level that will get rid of enemies in no time.
The Spitmaw Blaster is arguably the best weapon for the start of Returnal, featuring a shotgun-like playstyle, dealing massive amounts of damage up-close. This weapon requires players to get up-close and personal with the enemy entities, which can be quite difficult for a beginner.
The lower level, smaller enemies get destroyed by this weapon, while the bigger, tougher enemies like Phrike, the first biome’s boss, will be difficult to get close to in order to get the true damage potential of the weapon.
Once you master the movement of Returnal, especially the dash, getting close to enemies to deal damage with this weapon won’t be a problem, making it one of the best in the game.
Returnal S-Tier weapons
The Thermogenic Launcher is Returnal’s explosive launcher-esque weapon that deals massive amounts of damage through the projectile’s impact, as well as splash damage just like you’d expect.
Although it has a slow rate of fire, as expected with any launcher, it makes up for it in the damage department. Capable of dealing with multiple enemies at once, big or small, the Thermogenic Launcher is easily one of Returnal’s best weapons.
The Pyroshell Caster is very similar to the Thermogenic Launcher, featuring explosive rounds that deal massive amounts of damage with a slower rate of fire.
The explosive weapons are the strongest and best weapons in Returnal. However, the Pyroshell Caster is also extremely rare, so although it can keep you alive, you still need to be cautious as upon death you may never find it again.
There you have it, all the weapons in Returnal detailed and explained. Although most of the weapons are viable and the best is up to personal choice, the Thermogenic Launcher, and for those who can get over the learning curve, the Electropylon Driver are two extremely powerful weapons.
Image Credits: Housemarque
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