After beating Phrike and entering the Crimson Wastes, you’ll start to feel like you’re getting the hang of Returnal. The game’s second biome doesn’t present too many challenges that will ruin your flow, but the boss of this biome definitely does. This guide covers how to beat Ixion, Returnal’s second boss.
How to find Ixion
Ixion is hard to miss. It’s at the top of the mountain, where the White Shadow broadcast is coming from. Keep forging a path towards the light in the early stages of the biome whilst you’re still outside. Once you’re inside, fighting in claustrophobic corridors and avoiding lasers, all you have to do is follow the main path. To reach the top of the mountain, you’ll have to travel through a couple of Transclocators. You’ll know that you’re about to face off against it because you can see it hanging above the arena in the distance.
Best preparation for the fight
Unfortunately, the best preparation for this fight is fully exploring the first two biomes in Returnal. You’ll uncover bigger and better weapons, more diverse Parasites, and a host of Augments and Artefacts to collect. There are a few things that are nice to have for every boss fight, though.
If you can find a Reconstructor, then spend six Ether to charge it. This will allow you to have a second attempt at the boss if it kills you. Some Parasites will protect you from dying once in the middle of a fight, but these are rare. You should also make sure that you’re going into this fight with a high-level weapon. Don’t pick up a weapon purely for the number next to it, though. Instead, find the best version of your favorite weapon and bring that into the fight.
There’s no need to upgrade your Suit Integrity to a certain level before taking on Ixion, but it won’t hurt your chances. Every bit of health you have will help you beat this enemy. Finally, try to bring in any items that protect you from projectiles, convert projectiles, or heal. This boss uses a lot of ranged attacks, so protection against projectiles is best.
Best weapon for beating Ixion
The best weapon for beating Ixion in Returnal is the one you’re most proficient with. We don’t mean that in terms of a gameplay statistic. Whatever weapon you’re most comfortable using is the best weapon to take this boss on with. If you know how to use a specific weapon better than all others, take the best version you can find of it into this fight.
Attacks and Strategies
Ixion has three phases to work through, each one presenting slightly different attacks. There are also a couple of attack patterns that only appear between phases. We’ll cover each of those now from phase one to three.
In this first phase, Ixion is going to dash about the arena and attack. However, it won’t fly off out of sight just yet. It’ll use a mix of the following attacks.
You should be familiar with this attack. Ixion blasts the same Blue Orbs that you’ve been avoiding since the first room in Returnal. These can be dodged pretty easily, so dash to one side to avoid being hit. You can attack Ixion whilst it performs this attack.
You may have come across Orange Orbs in the Crimson Wastes. These are similar to Blue Orbs, but they move slower and home in on your position. Once Ixion has sent them out, you’ll have to work to dodge them as they slowly meander towards you. Some may dissipate before touching you, though. As with Blue Orbs, dodge and continue to attack the boss.
Focused Blue Orbs
This move sees Ixion blast a line of Blue Orbs towards you. They can be direct or in a vortex pattern. You’ll need to work harder to dodge these. It’s more important to avoid taking damage in this early phase than deal it to Ixion. As a result, you should always try to avoid this attack. Continue shooting the boss once the Blue Orbs are gone.
Ixion is a lot more unpredictable in phase two. It’ll dart around the arena for a second, but then it will fly off and up into the air. After a few Swoop Attacks, it’ll settle on the arena again, but the attacks will come thick and fast. Whilst using the attacks above, the boss will now also use the following.
Ixion uses this move whilst in flight above the arena. You won’t see it coming. The boss swoops over the arena, with a shockwave spreading out from its path. Blue Orbs and Orange Orbs will emit from this shockwave, and you’ll need to work to dodge out of their way. The best thing to do with this attack is to be directly under Ixion. The shockwave won’t hit you, and you can deal a small amount of damage as the boss passes overhead.
You should be familiar with this type of attack by now. Ixion will create a Red Ring of energy that moves outward. If you’re caught by it, you’ll take damage. The boss can create a few of these at once, and the only way to avoid taking damage is to jump over them.
This is a similar move to what some of the floating tentacle tablets use in the Crimson Wastes. Ixion will charge up a beam, and you’ll see a glowing path. Then, the laser beam will come fast and nearly cut you in half. To dodge this, dash to either side. You should continue to damage the boss the entire time.
This phase is different because Ixion tends to prefer being on the ground. You’ll see some variants of the Orb attacks from previous phases, but there will also now be some melee attacks mixed in. The new attacks you’ll see are as follows.
The boss will jump towards you and swing at you with a bladed arm. The blade is covered in energy that causes quite a lot of damage. You should dash to avoid this attack because it will end you if you’re on low health. Keep firing in the lead up to it, but dash and dodge when it’s close.
This is a short-range melee attack that Ixion will use when you’re close. However, it produces a Red Ring that you’ll have to dodge as well. Try not to bait this attack because it’s hard to dodge. Instead, stay at range and keep dealing damage. Jump the Red Ring if Ixion does use this move though.
Blue and Orange Orbs
This final attack will see the boss get down on all fours and blast all the Orbs it has at you. The Orange ones are still slow but will track you, and the blue ones can be dodged. Do your best to avoid taking damage, but you will take some unless you have superb timing. Try to deal as much damage as possible during this attack because the boss is immobile. It may also be its last ditch effort to kill you, so make it yours as well.
Upon killing Ixion, you’ll pick up the Grappling Hook, a useful item for navigating all of Atropos. You’ll also earn the key for the next biome, which is a lot more challenging than the Crimson Wastes.