Returnal is a week away from launch, which means its review embargo is coming up quickly. If you're wondering when you can find the earliest Returnal reviews online, here's what you need to know.
The Returnal review embargo ends on April 29 at 5 AM PT / 8 AM ET. We expect dozens of reviews to begin to appear online as soon as that embargo lifts, with likely more to come in the week that follows as more players get access to advance or launch-day copies of the game.
Returnal is Housemarque's first game since 2019's Stormdivers and the team's first for PS5. It launches exclusively on the platform, and early previews have been very favorable of both the game itself as well as the PS5 DualSense controller integration.
Outlets with early access have thus far compared the roguelike sci-fi shooter to Metroid, Control, and past Housemarque games in different ways, with most especially appreciative of the game's style and substance alike. The premise and its potential were both well summarized in this TechRadar excerpt from Vic Hood.
"Returnal will put you through your paces, allowing for few persistent upgrades between runs, and having you simultaneously grind and start from scratch at the same time. But each death – and you will die, a lot – is not entirely pointless, as it unearths more of the story, uncovers secrets you may have missed before, and potentially offers better loot (but sometimes you’re just unlucky).
Her feature is one of many which has thus far cited the game's difficulty, so it will be interesting to see in which way reviews reflect this.
Paul Tassi of Forbes said the game is "shaping up to be yet another surprise PS5 exclusive hit," while IGN's Simon Cardy said "Love for the Alien films is as clear as those stars in the sky of Returnal’s opening, whether that be the xeno-like creatures you fight, glowing green console screens, or Promethean architecture that registers high on the H.R. Giger counter."
It seems like reviews will be largely positive for Returnal next week, which spells good things for the company after it announced in 2019 that despite critical acclaim, its way of making arcade games was a dying breed due to poor sales. Returnal is the team's first foray into bigger, fully-priced games. We'll know next week just what critics think of it, and in the weeks that follow, players will make their voices heard as well.