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Returnal PC vs. PS5 Comparison: Which Platform Is Best?

Returnal was originally only available on the PS5, but with the PC version now available, fans are likely interested in knowing how the console versions stack up against it.

The PC version of Returnal supports improved features over the PS5 version, though they can be quite demanding and require reasonably capable hardware. This includes brand new graphical options for ray-traced shadow ray-traced reflections and ray-traced shadows.

As such, with these settings enabled, the PC version delivers more physically accurate shadows, reflections, textures, particles, post-processing effects, lighting and shadows. It’s also worth mentioning that enabling ray-traced reflections also adds extra puddles that are not present if the setting is disabled. As such, Returnal offers substantial overall visual improvements over the PS5 version.

In terms of resolution and image quality, the PS5 version runs at  a native 1080p on PS5, which is reconstructed to 1440p. On PC, the game can run at arbitrary resolutions in various aspect ratios. Moreover, there is support for numerous image reconstruction techniques, including DLSS and FSR. Even with either of the latter two reconstruction techniques applied, the PC version delivers superior image quality compared to the PS5 version.

In terms of performance, the PS5 version targets a frame rate of 60fps and usually adheres to it. On PC, it’s possible to run the game at higher frame rates for smoother and more responsive gameplay. On Steam Deck, however, the game’s performance isn’t ideal. With all settings on low, the frame rate can drop below 30fps during combat.

All in all, the PC port of Returnal delivers a worthwhile experience, with the addition of ray-traced reflections and ray-traced shadows, improved image quality, and the possibility of playing at higher frame rates.

Returnal puts players in the role of Selene Vassos, an astronaut who landed on the planet Atropos in quest of the enigmatic “White Shadow” signal and becomes imprisoned in a temporal loop. It was released for the PS5 on April 30, 2021, and for PC on February 15, 2023.

Muhammad Ali Bari

Muhammad Ali Bari has a knack for covering reviews. He manages our content pipeline, creates timelines for scheduled editorial tasks, and helps us cover exciting content. In his spare time, he enjoys playing multiplayer games.

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