Returnal: All Permanent Xenotech Upgrades

There's no point in saving anything if you don't look good doing it. A complete guide to all the permanent Xenotech upgrades in Returnal.

Returnal: All Permanent Xenotech Upgrades
Returnal: All Permanent Xenotech Upgrades

In Returnal, players can obtain several permanent Xenotech upgrades throughout the game. Each Xenotech upgrade can be found in different game areas and requires distinct criteria to be met before receiving them.

Once obtained, they are permanently added to Selene’s inventory and can be used in future playthroughs. These upgrades can significantly enhance Selene’s abilities and increase her chances of survival. Here are all the nine permanent Xenotech upgrades in the game.

Key Takeaways

  • There are nine permanent Xenotech upgrades in Returnal.
  • They are additions to the player’s suit with every upgrade giving it a new ability.
  • Some Xenotech upgrades are necessary to continue the game past a specific point.

  • The upgrades are permanent and stay with the player even on following playthroughs.
  • Atropian Weapon Charger is in the first biome and unlocks Alt-Fire.
  • Hermetic Transporter is in the first biome and allows use of xeno-teleporters.
  • Atropian Blade is in the first biome and destroys Xenotech barriers.
  • Xenotech Prism is in the second biome and increases the number of items players can carry.
  • Icarian Grapnel is in the second biome and acts as a grappling hook to access new areas.
  • Xenotech Prism 2 is in the fourth biome and increases the number of items players can carry.
  • Promethean Insulators are in the fifth biome and allow travel through lava.
  • Hadal Ballasts are in the fifth biome and allow travel underwater.
  • Delphic Visor is in the sixth biome and makes blue orbs visible that unlock hidden platforms when fired at.

Atropian Weapon Charger

Returnal Atropian Weapon Charger
Credit: Gaming Master YouTube

The Atropian Weapon Charger is the first permanent Xenotech upgrade in Returnal. It is found near the beginning of the game. Selene comes across the upgrade as she goes through the first biome of Returnal – the Overgrown Ruins. The equipment will simply be in your way, and you won’t have to do much looking around to find it. Selene will scan the object once you are close to it and automatically obtain it when it is revealed to be the Atropian Weapon Charger.

The Charger is one of the most crucial upgrades you can receive in the game. It unlocks Alt-Fire for players, which fires a strong round from whatever weapon you have equipped. It is advantageous against stronger enemies and opening pathways. The upgrade brings with it the ability to destroy blockades in your way, allowing you through areas previously inaccessible to you.

The Atropian Weapons Charger grants Alt-Fire use with any weapon by pressing down entirely on the L2 button.

Hermetic Transmitter

Returnal Hermetic Transmitter
Credit: GameSpoilers YouTube

The second permanent Xenotech upgrade in Returnal is also found in the Overgrown Ruins. You will come across the Hermetic Transmitter while pursuing the White Shadow broadcast through the forest. You will come across a platform surrounded by blue patrticles. This is the xeno-teleporter. However, you are unable to use it at the moment.

Continue with the game until you find yourself in a dark, abandoned room with the dead body of an alien inside. The corpse will appear lying on its front on the ground with a peculiar device running across its back. Interact with this to obtain the Hermetic Transmitter.

This particular piece of equipment is used to access and successfully use the xeno-teleporters across the game, like the one seen before. This ability saves time while travelling and becomes crucial later in the story. Simply get on one of the teleporters and press the Triangle button to use it.

Atropian Blade

Returnal Atropian Blade
Credit: CJAC GAMING YouTube

The last permanent Xenotech Upgrade in the Overgrown Ruins in Returnal is the Atropian Blade. It is considered by many to be one of the best and most essential upgrades, as obtaining it unlocks melee for players. To find it, continue with the story, following where the quest marker leads you. You find yourself needing to destroy a Xenotech barrier. This is where you will be required to find the Atropian Blade.

This extremely useful weaponry gives Selene the ability to perform a powerful melee attack capable of destroying most enemies with one hit. Moreover, the blade helps you cut through vines, eliminate red shield barriers and help you access areas blocked by yellow doors.

This upgrade is one of the more popular ones because of how versatile it is in terms of use. It has several functions throughout the game, such as being used as a source for Obolites. The Atropian Blade is operated by pressing the square button on the controller.

Xenotech Prism

Returnal Xenotech Prism
Credit: Jason’s Video Games Source YouTube

The first of the two permanent Xenotech upgrades present in the second biome of Returnal – Crimson Wastes – is the Xenotech Prism. It is found near the very beginning of the biome, right out in the open. It is placed in front of the left stone pillar of the two guarding the entrance of the large stone structure.

The Xenotech Prism may not be a weapon, but it is still quite helpful. The number of items, specifically consumable items, that players can carry is permanently increased once they acquire this upgrade. The best aspect of this is the ability to collect more Silphium Vials and Large Silphium Vials than before.

The ability to carry more consumable items granted by this upgrade allows you to be prepared for any situation. You are less likely to fail and have to start over at any point. Once you have the upgrade, use the left and right D-Pad buttons to browse through the items you have and use the L1 control to use it.

Icarian Grapnel

Returnal Icarian Grapnel
Credit: FP Good Game YouTube

Icarian Grapnel is the second permanent Xenotech upgrade in Crimson Wastes. The equipment is found at the end of the biome after defeating the game’s second boss – Ixion. Once you have defeated Ixion, the Icarian Grapnel will appear in the centre of the arena on top of a dead body.

This upgrade is used as a grappling hook in the game. You can use the Icarian Grapnel to access the area whenever you see a floating platform, a ledge, or any higher site with a glowing circle of yellow light. These areas are called grappling points and often take you to hidden treasures and upgrades.

This equipment gives you a fantastic mode of transport that completely changes how you play Returnal – in the best way. Your travelling is faster, and you get access to beneficial gadgets and items hidden around the game. To use it, simply press the triangle button when you are prompted near a grappling point.

Xenotech Prism 2

Returnal Xenotech Prism 2
Credit: Revorne Eon YouTube

The Xenotech Prism 2 is the only Xenotech upgrade available in biome 4 – the Echoing Ruins. This upgrade is relatively easy to find for some and harder for others. This is because it is hiding in plain sight. While playing through the game, you will come across a big, circular room with a big, inky ball of black goop in the centre. You will find the Xenotech Prism 2 on the opposite side of the room.

The upgrade appropriately has the same name as the first Xenotech Prism because it has the same function as its predecessor. It increases the number of items Selene can carry at a time. This may seem like a cop-out in some ways, but the game is getting much more challenging at this stage, and you will need every advantage you can get.

The extra space you achieve through this equipment will help you through many tight spots throughout the game. You will use it the same way as the Xenotech Prism; the only change is that you now have three slots in your inventory. Use the D-Pad to browse the items and the L1 button to select them.

Promethean Insulators

Returnal Promethean Insulators
Credit: Kevin The Software Tester YouTube

Players must get to Fractured Wastes to procure this upgrade – the fifth biome in Returnal. You won’t need to get far in the biome to reach its location. When you arrive at the Hadal Vault area of the game that splits off into three ways, you will find a dark blue door. A blue triangle marks it on your map.

This door can only be opened using the Atropian Key. Once you’ve unlocked it, go through to a lava-filled room. You can get through the room using the Icarian Grapnel to move from one platform to another. You will find the Promethean Insulators at the end of the room.

Of all the permanent Xenotech upgrades, this is a favourite of many players and one of the most consistently useful in the game. Once you acquire it, Selene can walk through the lava. That’s right! You no longer need to fear dying simply by coming in contact with such hazardous areas. This upgrade is a lifesaver.

It’s important to note that the Promethean Insulators are an entirely missable upgrade. Once you go past it, you will only be able to collect it on a different playthrough. Therefore, ensure you acquire it on your first run through the fifth biome. You don’t need to use this upgrade with controls actively. It protects you from lava on its own.

Hadal Ballasts

Returnal Hadal Ballasts
Credit: thefrenzexperiment YouTube

The Hadal Ballasts are found only a little further into Fractured Wastes. Once you have gone through all three paths that were previously mentioned branching off, you can open the vault using the keys you obtained. Here, you will shockingly not be facing any boss. You will instead find the Hadal Ballasts placed in front of you.

This one is not only an upgrade but a necessity. From this point, you will have to dive underwater and continue the game there. However, this is not possible for you as you are. That is why the Hadal Ballasts are so essential. They allow you to travel through the water depths and finish the game.

This is another upgrade that requires no controls to handle. Once you have collected it, you will automatically gain the ability to travel underwater. It is, arguably, the most critical upgrade in this list since you cannot continue or finish the game without it.

Delphic Visor

Returnal Delphic Visor
Credit: Daniel R. YouTube

The last of the permanent Xenotech upgrades in Returnal is appropriately found in the sixth and final biome of the game – Abyssal Scar. Go through the first part of this biome until you reach a chasm impossible to pass. Here, you will need to follow the quest marker until you find an alien corpse with equipment attached to it. Interact with it to obtain the upgrade.

Now that you have it, the Delphic Visor makes glowing blue orbs floating in the water visible to you. You must follow the path they set out. Upon shooting these orbs, hidden platforms will become available to you. You can use these to cross the chasm and proceed with the game.

This is another crucial piece of equipment, as you must proceed to the end of the game with it. Luckily for you, it’s not very well hidden, and you don’t have a big fight waiting for you to obtain it. There are no controls necessary for this upgrade. Simply acquiring it will be enough.


Returnal Xenotech Upgrades Conclusion

There you have it. You are now as prepared as you could be regarding your suit to face the ending of Returnal. You have many surprises waiting for you. Remember, if you missed any upgrades, you could get them on your next play through. Happy gaming!

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