This page of the Returnal guide contains important information about the combat system as well as tips that will help you complete the game.
Combat in Returnal is extremely dynamic and spectacular. The key to success against many types of enemies is to move around the map smoothly, use a rocket backpack, maneuver between missiles launched by aliens and use various consumables.
Different types of enemies
Due to a large variety of enemies and a huge number of unique moves and abilities they possess, every fight in Returnal is a serious challenge, regardless of the location.
The Stagger bar gets filled up when you shoot at the enemy. The bar is located under the enemy's health bar. If it fills up to 100% and starts to glow red, the enemy will be immobilized for a few seconds and will not be able to perform any actions, which will make it easier to finish them. Each weapon loads the stagger bar at a different pace. The most effective ones are shotguns and grenade launchers.
Stunning is especially useful when dealing with more difficult enemies who have significantly more health points than normal enemies.
Aliens inhabiting particular biomes of Atropos have weak points, which are marked with a red square. Hitting these points increases the damage to a great extent and speeds up the process of stunning the enemy.
While fighting more enemies simultaneously, consider using solid terrain obstacles (thick walls, mountains, huge pillars and monuments), which can not be destroyed, but they can block the missiles fired by enemies.
Some areas of Atropos feature tall obelisks that emit green light. Obelisks should be destroyed as soon as possible, because they can heal all enemies located in this area of the map, which complicates the fight a lot.
Boss fights in Returnal are the most demanding ones because the strongest enemies have as many as three health bars, so the whole duel is divided into 3 stages. In each stage of the fight, the boss gains new skills, as well as slightly modifies their previous abilities, which further complicates the fight.
All fights with Returnal bosses are described in detail in the Bosses chapter.