A Flashback save option is now available after the 2.0 update, allowing players to save their progress in the middle of the game and come back later. It might be a little vague for first-timers, such as those new to Returnal on PC, but here we’ll explain that and how the Returnal save system works.
Return save system and mechanics explained
Until the 2.0 update in October 2021, Returnal didn’t have a proper save function, but now… it kind of does. Since the new update, players can use the “suspend loop” option, which saves the game to your location, assuming you’re not in combat or in a story-related episode. This will keep your progress even if you exit the game, but it is limited – you cannot have multiple save files and they will be deleted as soon as you restart the game. Instead of a checkpoint that you can reload at any time, it acts as a pause button that will actively continue even when your PS5 or PC is turned off. Returnal has no such feature, and it looks like they won’t be adding one anytime soon, considering it would go against the game’s intentional difficulty.
Return tips | Back to the best weapons | Return patch notes | Returned Ixion boss | Returns cheats
Unless you choose to suspend the loop as mentioned above, exiting the game will return you to the last time you were in Helios, the only time the game was saving your progress, before you could do anything.
We say this, but some items and locks has lasting, though permanent, from run to run. Ether is a currency that persists through runs, and one of the things you can spend it on is the column next to your ship that unlocks new artifacts and consumables for the item pool. These are not guaranteed, but you essentially unlock the chance to find them with each new run. Throughout the story, you’ll also find new mechanics and gadgets like the sword and the grapple, both of which Selene can permanently access once acquired.