This Returnal Permanent Unlocks guide will get you up to speed on what you lose and what you keep when you respawn in Returnal.
Returnal Permanent Unlocks
Losing your progress upon death does not come as a surprise in Returnal, given its roguelike genre.
However, the developers did think about the frustration and level of difficulty this might bring to the game and allowed the players to keep certain unlocks with them for good for the levels to come, even after death.
Here are all the unlocks that are permanent during your gameplay.
All the Permanent Unlocks
Who doesn’t like an additional consumable slot? Well, you can get it using Xeno-Tech Prism, and this item will stick with you in every run. Xeno-Tech Prism is found in Crimson Waste, and it can only be utilized once.
Other than that, three keys are unlocked permanently: The Anathema key, the Crimson key, and the House key. The Anathema key is required for the Anathema vault that houses the first boss of the game. Moving on to the Crimson key, it is your gateway to the Crimson Waste from the Overgrown Ruins. Finally, the House key opens a 20th-century house. All of these keys are found in Overgrown Ruins.
Weapons from Bosses
Talking of bosses, once a boss has been defeated, you won’t have to pick up your weapons against them in all of the future runs.
Atropian Weapon Charger
Atropian Weapon Charger is another permanently unlocked equipment that equips the weapons with Alt-Fire mode. It’s found in Overgrown Ruins.
Ether and Other Resources
Ether, too, is a permanently unlocked resource that is used for cleaning Malignancy after interacting with other timelines. Xenoglyph Cipher is used for unlocking more translations in Xenoglyps, and it too is permanently unlocked.
Quest and Story Items
Moreover, there are certain items without which you cannot complete the story mode. These include the sword for destroying red vines, the Grappling Hook for reaching yellow-glowing ledges, and the ability to swim or dive. These items will stick with you on every run, even after death.
The story of the game is divided into two acts. The first act ends after the third biome, and the second act begins from the fourth biome. If you die in the second act, you do not respawn in the first biome but in the fourth.
Each weapon in the game has its own trait level. When the progress bar above your health bar fills up, the trait levels up, and once it does, it won’t begin from level 0 when you respawn. If you die and pick up the same kind of weapon again, you’ll be surprised to see its trait level right where you left it.
Not Everything Lasts!
With the permanently unlocked items helping you rush through the biomes, there are a lot of other items that will be lost when you respawn. This does not necessarily mean death, but also when you shut down your console. However, you might be lucky enough to save these non-permanent items if you put the console into sleep mode rather than pulling the plug.
Once you’ve started your run again, you’ll lose everything else in your inventory other than the permanently unlocked items. You’ll be bidding farewell to health upgrades, artifacts, parasites, crafted items, Obolites, weapons, weapon stats, and of course, most of your story progress. Once you respawn, you’ll realize that everything in the game world is randomly placed. And this placement changes every time you restart your run.