Returnal is a phenomenal game, there’s no denying that. Unfortunately, the recent patches from developer Housemarque have done more to harm it than help it. A notorious patch actually implemented a feature that corrupted save data, and it costs dozens of hours of progress for many players. Trust me, I get how terrible that is. But please don’t judge the game based on these issues. They’re caused by patches that clearly weren’t tested properly, and that doesn’t make Returnal bad. It means that there needs to be more testing done at Housemarque before any other patches come out.
Patches are usually what fixes glaring issues in games. They’ve been used in the past to make titles more stable, and even add in entirely new features or endings, if players hate the original one enough that is. With Returnal though, patches have consistently harmed the game. The first one caused an issue that really irked me. It prevents doors from opening and stops you from interacting with objects in the world. It means that your runs are dead. I had this so many times that I just gave up trying to play some days.
Following that patch, another one broke the game for everyone who tried to play. It deleted your save data, meaning all of your progress is gone. Only those with a backup were able to get back in and continue from where they left off. This was a patch that bothered me more than any of the other issues. A developer should make sure that nothing like this will happen to players long before a patch gets close to being uploaded to servers. I know that some players will have dropped the game when they realised that their save data was gone, and they’re not coming back. I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked for a refund. It makes sense because you’ve got to put at least that same amount of time in again to get to where you want to be. It’s not fair.
Still, please don’t think badly of Returnal. It’s a brilliant game that I’ve had a great time with. The issue in this instance is Housemarque, a developer that is doing something very wrong. Hopefully, issues like this never come to the game again. If they do, then no one can be surprised if Returnal falls into obscurity.