Roguelike bullet hell Returnal is not for the weak-willed or those looking for a casual gaming experience. Returnal is a gorgeous, fast-paced roguelike that will test the limits of a player's skill. While you guide Selene through the constantly shifting world of Atropos, you'll encounter five different bosses that are hellbent on stopping your progress. The first of these encounters happen in the Overgrown Ruins, where you'll encounter Phrike.
If you're struggling to defeat Phrike, then you've come to the right place. Here's how to beat Phrike in Returnal.
How to prepare for the fight
Returnal is a roguelike, which means every time you die, you lose everything, and the level shifts into a different order. You'll may never encounter the same weapon, item, or health drop in the same place in the same order with each cycle. Even so, you can still find ways to prep.
Find as much Silphium Resin as possible to increase your health bar, as well as a good weapon — one that you're comfortable with and with decent stats. For Phrike, the Spitmaw Blaster or Tachyomatic Carbine works well. Be sure to search for as many artifacts as you can since they'll add passive boosts to your abilities, and if you can, hunt down an Astronaut figure or a Child's Watch. These two artifacts will bring you back to life if you fall. If you find yourself dying a lot, consider using the Reconstructor. Every biome has a Reconstructor, and for six ether, you can set it as a checkpoint of sorts, which will bring you back to life with all your items if you die.
Finally, if you're heading into this fight and you've been weakened, take a quick nap in Helios to regain some of your health.
Like every other boss in Returnal, there are three phases to this fight.
In Phrike's first phase, unload on him quickly, strafing right or left to avoid his bullet fire. He stands still in the center of the room during this phase, so take advantage. Pay attention to his hands as well since they'll dictate what's coming. If all three hands are glowing, it will shoot a blast of blue rockets. If two hands glow, then it'll send out plumes of purple energy. And just one hand will signal a flurry of bullets.
Phrike will sometimes shoot a laser from his eyes that arcs forward in front of the boss. Make sure you don't get hit by that because it'll hurt. He'll occasionally teleport to another location in the room. If that happens, just keep an eye on the orange trail he leaves.
In Phase 2, Phrike will add a few more attacks to its repertoire. It will send a blast toward the floor that'll send a ring of energy at you, along with a melee attack. That melee attack is tricky so make sure you dash out of the way at the right moment. It'll also change the direction of the eye beam attack, from vertical to horizontal. Utilize your dash to stay ahead of it.
Once you make it to Phase 3, Phrike will really become a threat. He doubles almost everything now. He melees twice, so when he dashes at you for the first time, make sure you're ready to dash again. He also sweeps his eye beam back and forth now, and his purple and blue bullets have now combined into one flurry. Try to slip between the clusters of purple bullets since they tend to space out. Keep moving, and watch out for his melee attack (which will rip you to shreds) and keep firing at it, and you should come out on top.
First steps towards the truth
Defeating Phrike is your ticket to escaping the Overgrown Ruins and making it to the next biome, which features many treacherous and unique challenges for Selene to beat. If you need more help, check out our tips and tricks guide for beginners to learn some of Returnal's basics. Returnal may seem unforgiving at first, but once you learn the ropes, you'll find a surreal and mysterious journey that's easily one of the best games on the PS5.
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