The first loop
Loops until you clear the first biome
This is where Returnal differs from the likes of Hades, there’s not the same level of persistence to be found and you won’t earn points in stat boosts or permanent upgrades to gain tangible strength at the start of each race. There are things that will carry over from race to race, but we’ll get to that a bit later.
Defeating the boss can take multiple attempts, and finding the best loadouts to take out enemies can take a lot of experimental tries. But once you defeat this boss once, things will get much easier.
Each loop after
Screenshots from the Returnal Game Awards trailer
Once you clear the first biome, you will then be able to interact with your ship’s daily challenge terminal. These are high-score pursuit races that won’t advance the story but will satisfy those looking for top rankings like only Housemarque can make you crave.
Hopefully this clears up any questions you may have about what exactly you will be doing in Returnal. The best way, of course, is to experience the world of Atropos and all its horrors for yourself.