You can ‘save scum’ with Returnal’s new Suspend Cycle feature (and that’s fine)

Returnal Header art

With the release of Returnal version 2.0, Housemarque finally added the long-awaited ability to save and resume your progress in a particular run through the third-person Roguelike shooter. Those saves, dubbed a ‘Suspend Cycle’ feature, were intended to be single use, deleting themselves whenever you resume, but PlayStation 5 gamers have found that they can actually use them as though they were full saves.

The method was posted on Twitter by Inverse writer Joseph Yaden close to the time of its release, but has now been tested and been reported more widely by numerous others, such as Kotaku.

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This is effectively a tedious form of ‘save scumming’, the process of iterating your progress and quickly reloading if you fail or get an outcome you don’t like. It’s something that PC gamers in particular are familiar with thanks to games featuring dedicated quick save and quick load keys across countless video games.

Roguelike’s typically give players a single life per attempt, procedurally generating a world that will test your skills and pushing you to progress through bosses and worlds. Each death will send you back to the very beginning, though there is typically a metagame that does broaden your character’s skills, equipment pools and more. Plenty of Roguelikes, such as the sublime Hades, feature an ability to suspend a run, but the core concept that you shouldn’t be able to save was one of the reasons given for Returnal not featuring a save or suspend state at launch.

While save scumming cuts against the genre’s design, I can also quite confidently say that it doesn’t matter one bit that this is possible. I thoroughly enjoyed Returnal and the task over overcoming the Roguelike challenge at launch, and that other people are able to save and backup their games doesn’t affect that in the slightest. Then again, I’m also someone that thinks Soulslikes should have easy modes, that single player games shouldn’t have online-only play requirements, and that people should be allowed to put pineapple on pizza if they want.

One of these opinions is probably more controversial than the others.

Returnal PS5 Screenshot

One of the first PlayStation 5 exclusives, Returnal launched in April to plenty of praise. Housemarque were lauded for their ability to combine the developer’s mastery of arcade shooters with a new third person shooter form and an engaging roguelike game structure.

In our Returnal review on PS5, we scored the game a masterful 9/10:

“It feels immensely satisfying to be sat here in 2021, eons after playing Super Stardust HD on PS3, and see just how far Housemarque has come. Offering a visual bullet hell spectacle, a showcase for the DualSense controller and a rewarding sci-fi narrative woven around the roguelike loop, we can say with unflinching confidence that Returnal is the PS5’s best game to date.”


Returnal guides & more from TheSixthAxis

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2 Comments

  1. “ that people should be allowed to put pineapple on pizza if they want.”

    Now, look, I’m sorry, but we’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

    • Oh, I see. We’re being polite about this are we?

      Probably just as well, because I’d probably never be allowed to post here again if I really made my thoughts on such an abomination known. It’s just wrong.

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