What changes when playing co-op mode in Returnal

Plan a couples retreat to Atropos.

image via PlayStation

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Returnal is now the second PlayStation exclusive to get a new co-op mode after launch. Similar to Ghost of Tsushima, Returnal recently received a massive free update titled Ascension. This update adds an online campaign co-op. This allows for two friends to conquer Atropos together. This guide will break down the benefits of teaming up to tackle the campaign.

How to play co-op?

Screenshot by Gamepur

In order to first connect online for co-op, you must have completed the initial tutorial sequence. After the brief intro to the world of Returnal, the Chronosis will appear at the crash site hub. Simply approach the Chronosis and use of these three options to engage in the co-op.

  • Host public cycle – A session where anybody can join you.
  • Host private cycle – A session that can only be joined via direct invite.
  • Join a cycle – Join a random player hosting a public session.

The rules of Returnal do change inside of a co-op session, here is how it all works.

Hosting a campaign.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Hosting a campaign run is the best option for new players or those stuck on difficult sections. The host earns full progress for the entire campaign. Every boss kill, upgrade and more will be unlocked permanently for the session leader.

The only caveat for online co-op as the host is limited first-person story moments. The house, and entering the crash site ship are not allowed in co-op. The entire story will play out, but those specific sections will not function.

Joining a campaign session.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Joining a player does have its fair share of benefits, specifically Scout Rank. This is a new ranking system governed by how much help you provide players hosting campaign runs. This rank awards ether, a valuable and rare resource used through the entire campaign.

Visiting players also have access to all of their stored ether to use as they wish. other benefits include database updates and weapon trait unlocks. these two upgrades will progress as a guest and carry over into your campaign run. Actual campaign progression isn’t kept by the visitor, so think of the second player as a mercenary for hire.

The campaign in Returnal also allows for player revives, which makes the campaign a lot easier to experience. To counter both players and the revive system, enemy difficulty was slightly adjusted to be a fun challenge for both players.