Returnal - Weapons Guide

Weapons you find through the game are considered as a Permanent Item, but only in a way that you can get those weapons from random chests during your runs. This means after you unlock Electropylon Driver there will be a chance that you will get that weapon in blue chests during your runs (and the weapon will have certain proficiency level and perks - also completely random).

Only permanent weapon is Atropian Blade, which you will get in Biome 1: Overgrown Ruins and you can use it all the time afterwards. Also, your Sidearm is a starting weapon on each run, so you can say that this one is also considered a permanent weapon.

Weapons List

  • Atropian Blade: Overgrown Ruins (Biome 1)
  • Coilspine Shredder: Echoing Ruins (Biome 4) after acquiring the Delphic Visor (Biome 6 - story-related key item that reveal hidden platforms when you shoot blue orb in the air)
  • Dreadbound: Fractured Wastes (Biome 5)
  • Electropylon Driver: Echoing Ruins (Biome 4)
  • Hollowseeker: Crimson Wastes (Biome 2)
  • Modified Sidearm SD-M8: You have it by default (Biome 1)
  • Pyroshell Caster: Abyssal Scar (Biome 6)
  • Rotgland Lobber: Overgrown Ruins (Biome 1) after defeating the boss Ixion (Biome 2: Crimson Wastes), and getting the grapple hook permanent upgrade item.
  • Spitmaw Blaster: Overgrown Ruins (Biome 1)
  • Tachyomatic Carbine: Overgrown Ruins (Biome 1)
  • Thermogenic Launcher: Derelict Citadel (Biome 3)

Weapon Mechanics


Every weapon comes with alternative fire. It's when you press L2 all the way and then R2 to shoot, but only if your alt-fire is filled. To check that easlily, just look on the first icon right of your HP bar on the screen. You can see a small icon there. If it's full, you can use it,

There are couple of types when it comes to alt-fire on weapons. Each weapon has its own alt-fire options, and it's completely random which one you get if a certain weapon spawns in blue boxes. Overall, with good weapon that has good Traits you don't event need to use alt-fire. You can use it to deplete health from enemies fast in certain situations though.

Weapon Traits

When you pick up a weapon (even before picking one up) you can see its traits listed. Using certain weapon can unlock traits on that weapon and when you find a weapon of same type later, it stays unlocked. Using same weapon will eventually offer and unlock higher level traits (same ones, just higher level), so might want to stick to few weapons to max them out and to get stronger fast. You only get traits that are listed on the weapon you pick up, which means that if you unlock 5 traits overall, and weapon has only 2 listed - you only have those 2 that are listed. Change weapons as you see fit.

Prefered Weapon and Tips

During Biome 1 you will mostly be stuck with Sidearm or Spitmaw Blaster. My recommendation here is to use Sidearm (preferably when you find stronger Sidearm, replace the default one with that one). This weapon is better against the first boss. Practice always pressing R2 to get success Overloads (when weapon is charging, when bar that fills get inside the market square bar press R2) and dodge all the time. Raising weapon proficiency (bar just below your health bar) will raise your weapon power and as you have higher level, new weapons you find during runs will be around that level.

Biome 2 is where you get Hollowseeker. This is my second-best weapon I've used, and it is excelent to shoot from afar. Always pick it up if you don't have Electropylon Driver on your run. I finished Biomes 2-4 with this weapon, after which I've started using Electropylon Driver. Great traits here are a Portal Beam, and Waves. I mean, all of them are, but these 2 I prefer, they are pretty strong.

Best weapon in the game is by far the Electropylon Driver and its trait Pylon Web. Nothing can match its damage and usability, When you leave a wep of your bullets they stay for some time and drains HP of enemies. Usually it lasts until they die, which means you can shoot from afar and wait for bullets to kill enemies that are close. Very good weapon.

What you need to know about are the adrenaline weapon levels. When you kill 3 enemies without getting hit your adrenaline level upgrades. It can go up to level 5 and it resets to 1 if you take any kind of damage. Raising these levels raises weapon damage, rate of fire, way of fire etc.

The best tip I can give you alonside of weapons and their adrenaline levels is to buy and pick up Artifacts (they last during your run, you can get them from locked chests, behing locked blue doors, inside bonus rooms, or by buying from the room where you can buy items). Adrenaline Leach is the best artifact you can find. On each adrenaline level starting from 2 it drains HP of enemies and heals you. This is a game changes. Also, pick up any Weapon Damage %+ artifacts which raises weapon damage on each adrenaline level. When you combine the 2 mentioned artifacts on the best level you use you will be literally unstoppable.

If that is not enough, always buy items that heals you and pick up any item that can help. 

Coilspine Shredder Traits

  • Alt-Fire Cooling
  • Enhanced Charge
  • Negating Discs
  • Enlarged Chamber
  • Retarget
  • Splitting Discs
  • Twin Discs
  • Shattering Discs
  • Adrenaline Discs

Dreadbound Traits

  • Returning Damage
  • Expanding Shards
  • Obolite Magnet
  • Fourth Shard

Electropylon Driver Traits

  • Silphium Extractor
  • Obolite Extractor
  • Blade Harmoniser
  • Streamlined Chamber
  • Pylon Web
  • Enlarged Chamber
  • Finisher

Hollowseeker Traits

  • Split Stream
  • Phasing Rounds
  • Waves
  • Serrated Projectiles
  • Shrapnel
  • Portal Beam
  • Retarget

Modified Sidearm SD-M8 Traits

  • Burst Fire
  • Charging Shot
  • Homing Missile
  • Piercing
  • Ricochet
  • Serrated Projectiles
  • Shrapnel
  • Snubnose Barrel

Pyroshell Caster Traits

  • Streamlined Chamber
  • Bouncy Projectiles
  • Sticky Bonus

Rotgland Lobber Traits

  • Bouncing Rot
  • Trailing Rot
  • Durable Rot
  • Caustic Rot
  • Enlarged Chamber
  • Protective Rot
  • Portal Rot

Spitmaw Blaster Traits

  • Slug Shot
  • Rapid Spitter
  • Wide Maw
  • Narrow Maw
  • Critical Stagger
  • Backsplash
  • Explosive Spit
  • Acid Clouds

Tachyomatic Carbine Traits

  • Hyper-Accurate
  • Armour Piercing
  • High Calibre
  • Rising Pitch
  • Payload Rounds
  • Critical Hit
  • Hardened
  • Leech Rounds

Thermogenic Launcher Traits

  • Enlarged Chamber
  • Easy to Use
  • Obolite Magnet
  • Tail Fire
  • Replicating Hits
  • Mega Rocket
  • Full Auto
  • Critical Rockets
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