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How Long Does It Take To Beat Returnal?

Gamers are excited to get their hands on "Returnal" on Apr. 30, 2021, especially since the roguelike shooter's release has previously been delayed. The PS5 exclusive features elements of "Groundhog Day," out-of-this-world sci-fi, horror, in-depth 3D audio, advanced trigger options, and a female protagonist — basically, there are a lot of reasons to look forward to Housemarque's latest release. Developer Housemarque says it's the team's "biggest and most ambitious title yet," so expectations have been set high.

With all of that hype in mind, players may be wondering just how long this game will take to beat. Before you understand that, it's important to get to know the unique gameplay style that will influence playtime.

Since "Returnal" is a roguelike, you'll experience certain plot elements through the gameplay, which has been designed with repetition in mind. As space scout Selene repeatedly dies and comes to life, you'll discover changes to the mysterious planet where she's landed that keep gameplay engaging and move the story forward. 

So, what are the best estimates for how long it takes to beat "Returnal?" Read on for the answer.

Returnal is an endurance test

Although everyone's experience will be different, and the majority of current estimates come from seasoned pros, it looks like players can count on playing "Returnal" for roughly 20 hours.

Judging from comments made by the development team, Screen Rant's Roger Fingas estimates that "Returnal" takes at least 10-30 hours to beat. However, Fingas points out that "the answer is complicated by the game's inherent structure." Not only might advanced gamers have a leg up, but those with roguelike experience may be able to figure out the title's unique gameplay loop more quickly.

The folks at Inverse completed "Returnal" in 20 hours and confirmed that it does in fact have a definitive ending. Expanding the estimate to include players of various levels means you can "expect a full playthrough to take anywhere from 10 to 30 hours."

For Mitchell Saltzman at IGN, the game took around 18 hours to complete. Saltzman noted that each run through the ever-changing world is going to take you some time, with some of the later runs taking upwards of two hours. In other words, "Returnal" is something of an endurance test, even for experienced roguelike fans.