Returnal guide: What items are permanent?
If you’re not familiar with the roguelike genre, you might be surprised to learn that many of the items you pick up in Returnal disappear after you die. Try again, and you need to recollect items.
However, there are some items that survive your repeated reincarnations.
In this Returnal guide, we’ll explain what items are permanent and which ones disappear with each death. Knowing what items follow you throughout your journey will help you better understand how to stay alive in the dangerous world of Atropos.
The most straightforward way to know which items are permanent is by bringing up your menu and heading to the Status screen.
The Status menu shows you plenty of details, like your current suit integrity, your adrenaline level, your current parasites, and which permanent equipment you have. There isn’t a lot of permanent equipment in Returnal, but the pieces you find come from several milestones.
Many of Returnal’s suit augments come from story progression. For instance, you’ll get a grappling hook after defeating the second boss, Ixion, and you’ll keep it throughout the rest of the game. Items — like the Crimson Key you get for beating the first boss, Phrike — will also become a part of your inventory as you progress through the story.
Other items you pick up in the game, like obolites and keys, are impermanent. However, ether does carry over between playthroughs. Ether is a valuable resource used for exchanges at the Obolite Repository or for paying the fee to use the Reconstructor. It can also cleanse malignant objects.
The only other permanent items in the game are the Xenoglyph ciphers you pick up in each biome. These glowing red pieces of alien text help you decode messages scattered throughout the landscape. As you find more, you’ll more accurately decrypt the message plates in each of the game’s worlds. Finding all the Xenoglyph ciphers is important for getting some Returnal trophies.
- Anything story related: This includes keys to gates, portals, and other important places; it does not include Atropian Keys. These items, such as the Crimson Key, are essential for story events.
- Any collected Xeno technology: This includes suit augments, such as the Icarian Grapnel and Weapon Charger. These items are essential for navigating certain areas of every biome.
- Ether: This is a rare resource gathered during a playthrough that can be used at various stations and devices, such as the reconstructor.
- Xenoglyph Ciphers: This isn’t an item in the same sense that the above are items. Xenoglyph ciphers are found on walls and floors within specific biomes, and they are used to decipher Xenoglyphs. When you find one, the pop-up text will tell you how many you’ve collected in a particular level.
Just about everything else you pick up in Returnal disappears from your pockets when you respawn. Whenever you restart the cycle, the only thing you keep from previous runs is your handgun and whatever suit augments key items and ether you have.
One thing worth noting is that items you unlock at the Cthonos at the start of new runs not only get added to your inventory that run, but also begin appearing in future playthroughs.
Below is a table of all the items that are not permanent in Returnal, including what they are, where to find them, and more.
|Item||Description||Biome Location||Item Type|
|Astronaut Figurine||Personal item. It will not let you go. It gives you a second life upon death.||Overgrown Ruins (after competing the first house sequence or available for purchase in this biome’s “store”)||Artifact|
|Blown Nightlight||A personal item. Being at Full or Low Integrity increases weapon damage by 10%.||All biomes (or available for purchase in this biome’s “store”)||Artifact|
|Broken Calibrator||Grants a small amount of Weapon Proficiency.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Pristine Calibrator||Grants a large amount of Weapon Profiency||All biomes||Artifact|
|Enhanced Calibrator||Grants a huge amount of Weapon Profiency||All biomes||Artifact|
|Modular Calibrator||Grants a carrying amount of Weapon Proficiency||All biomes||Artifact|
|Pulsating Mass||Attaching or detaching Parasites improves your Max Integrity||All biomes||Artifact|
|Recharging Response||Getting hit reduces Alt-Fire Cooldown by five seconds||All biomes||Artifact|
|Recharging Overload||Successful Overloads reduce Alt-Fire Cooldown by three seconds.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Wound Seekers||Deal 30% more damage to low health targes||All biomes||Artifact|
|Unfed Pod||Grants +20% Stagger Power for each attached Parasite||All biomes||Artifact|
|Blade Balancer||Enables a more powerful melee attack||All biomes||Artifact|
|Damaged Robot||Personal item. Increases invulnerability time after getting hit.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Energy Manipulator||Using a Consumable briefly increases Protection by 20%.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Fractal Nail||Grants +10% Weapon Damage while you have a Malfunction.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Music Box||Personal item. Plays a sound when near secret locations.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Phantom Limb||Eliminating hostiles has a 10% chance to repair Integrity.||All biomes||Artifact|
|Golden Coil||Grants +5% Weapon Damage for every 200 Obolite carried (Maximum bonus: 20%).||All biomes||Artifact|
|Murmuring Cocoon||Increases the positive effects of all Parasites||All biomes||Artifact|
|Resin Enhancer||Reduces the amount of Resins needed to upgrade Max Integrity||All biomes||Artifact|
|Progenitor Egg||Attaching or detaching Parasites repairs Integrity||All biomes||Artifact|
|Visceral Knot||+20% for hostiles to explode upon death||All biomes||Artifact|
|Obolite Stabilizer||Dropped Obolites last 3 seconds longer||All biomes||Artifact|
|Two-Way Radio||Personal item. It seems to create a positive relation between Ether and Protection||All biomes||Artifact|
|Alt-Fire Coolant||Instantly resets Alt-Fire Cooldown||All biomes||Consumable|
|Silphium Vial||Repairs a minor amount of Integrity||All biomes||Consumable|
|Large Silphium Vial||Repairs a major amount of Integrity||All biomes||Consumable|
|Leeching Nanoswarm||Unleashes a swarm of nanobots that attack nearby hostiles, slowing them down and repairing Integrity. Hold L1 to view the affected area.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Obolite Siphon||Converts collected Obolites into Integrity. Duration: 30 seconds.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Residual Sphere||Hostiles have a chance to drop Resin on death. Duration: 30 seconds.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Extermination Sphere||Detaches all Parasites.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Interference Sphere||Disables all turrets within area.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Shocking Springs||Jumps create energy blasts on landing. Duration: 30 seconds.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Shield Vial||Creates a Shield against the next hit.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Translocation Sphere||Transports you to an unknown location.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Anti-Energy Pulse||Releases an expanding burst of energy that turns hostile projectiles into Obolites.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Ground Surge||Creates a Xeno-spike that impales the closest hostile.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Nullification Sphere||Fixes all Malfunctions.||All biomes||Consumable|
|Extermination Sphere||Detaches all Parasites||All biomes||Consumable|
|Obolite Extractor||Hostiles that have injured you drop 50% more Obolite when killed.||All biomes||Consumable (technically classified as “Other” but we consider it a consumable because it’s a one-time use item)|
|Repairs Augment||Increases Repair Efficiency by 20%.||All biomes||Consumable (technically classified as “Other” but we consider it a consumable because it’s a one-time use item)|
|Silphium||Repairs moderate damage to Integrity||All biomes||Used immediately upon pick-up|
|Malignant Key||Opens secured gates and containers, but it’s infected with Malignancy.||All biomes||Malignant pick-up|
|Malignant Obolite Chunk||Contains a large amount of Obolites, but it is infected with Malignancy.||All biomes||Malignant pick-up|
|Malignant Silphium||Repairs moderate damage to integrity, but it is infected with Malignancy.||All biomes||Malignant pick-up|
|Spoiled Resin||Either fills one slot towards Max Integrity upgrade or inflicts damage instead.||All biomes||Spoiled pick-up|
|Large Malignant Resin||Fills two slots toward Max Integrity upgrade, but it is infected with Malignancy.||All biomes||Malignant pick-up|
|Parasites of Any Kind||Parasites attach to Selene and have one positive benefit and one negative benefit. They can only be removed with a special machine that’s rare to find in any given biome.||All biomes||Parasite|
|Atropian Key||Opens secured gates and containers.||All biomes||Resource|
|Datacubes of any kind||A cube-shaped metallic framework containing encoded data for an item. Can be turned into a consumable by inserting into a Datacube Processor.||All biomes||Resource|
|Obolite Chunk||Contains a large amount of Obolite.||All biomes||Resource|
|Execution Coolant||Melee kills reduce Alt-Fire Cooldown by five seconds.||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Repair Circut||Gaining or fixing Malfunctions repairs Integrity.||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Adrenaline Stimulants||Gain +5% Weapon Damage per Adrenaline Level||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Emergency Stimulants||At Low Integrity, gain +15% Weapon Damage||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Execution Bolts||Melee kills generate two energy bolts that hit two nearest hostiles||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Overload Bolts||Successful Overloads generate energy bolts that hit two nearest hostiles||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Execution Blast||Melee kills generate energy blasts.||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Recharging Overload||Successful Overloads reduce Alt-Fire Cooldown by 3 seconds||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Explosive Response||Getting hit causes the suit to emit an explosion||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Ability Circuit||Gaining or fixing Malfunctions grants a random combat ability||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Adrenaline Leech||Repairs Integrity by 5% of damage dealt per Adrenaline Level||All biomes||Suit Artifact|
|Melee Response||Getting hit briefly increases Melee Damage by 100%||All biomes||Suit Artifact|