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
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.
Returnal features nine permanent Xenotech upgrades, each granting new abilities to the player’s suit.
Some upgrades are necessary for game progression.
Upgrades persist across playthroughs.
Examples include Atropian Weapon Charger, Hermetic Transporter, and Atropian Blade in the first biome.
Xenotech Prism, Icarian Grapnel, and Xenotech Prism 2 are found in subsequent biomes.
Promethean Insulators and Hadal Ballasts enable traversal through lava and underwater.
Delphic Visor reveals hidden platforms in the sixth biome.
The Atropian Weapon Charger, a permanent Xenotech upgrade in Returnal, is easily found in the Overgrown Ruins biome. Selene encounters it early in the game, requiring minimal searching. Upon approaching it, Selene automatically obtains the charger, unlocking Alt-Fire for weapons.
This upgrade is pivotal, allowing players to unleash powerful rounds from their equipped weapons. Alt-Fire proves effective against tough enemies and can break through obstacles, opening new pathways previously inaccessible. To activate Alt-Fire, players simply press down entirely on the L2 button.
The Hermetic Transmitter, the second permanent Xenotech upgrade in Returnal, is located in the Overgrown Ruins biome. While pursuing the White Shadow broadcast, players encounter a platform surrounded by blue particles, marking the xeno-teleporter. Initially inaccessible, players must progress until they reach a dark, abandoned room with the corpse of an alien bearing the transmitter device.
Interacting with the device grants players the Hermetic Transmitter, enabling them to utilize xeno-teleporters scattered throughout the game. This ability streamlines travel and becomes essential as the story progresses. To use a xeno-teleporter, simply stand on one and press the Triangle button.
The Atropian Blade, the final permanent Xenotech Upgrade in Returnal’s Overgrown Ruins, is considered a crucial and highly sought-after enhancement. Players can obtain it by following the quest marker in the story, eventually reaching a Xenotech barrier that requires destruction.
This weapon grants Selene the ability to perform powerful melee attacks capable of defeating most enemies in a single strike. Additionally, it allows players to cut through vines, eliminate red shield barriers, and access areas blocked by yellow doors.
Renowned for its versatility, the Atropian Blade serves multiple functions throughout the game, including as a source for Obolites. To utilize the blade, players simply press the square button on the controller.
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 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
Prism 2 is a crucial upgrade found in biome 4, the Echoing Ruins. It can be easily located in a large circular room with a prominent black goop in the center. Positioned on the opposite side of the room, players will find the Xenotech Prism 2.
Functioning similarly to its predecessor, this upgrade increases the number of items Selene can carry simultaneously. While seemingly basic, the expanded inventory space becomes invaluable as the game grows more challenging. With three slots available, players gain added flexibility to navigate tight situations.
To utilize the Xenotech Prism 2, players interact with it using the D-Pad to browse items and the L1 button to select them.
The Promethean Insulators, located in the Fractured Wastes, the fifth biome of Returnal, provide a significant advantage to players. Accessed through a dark blue door in the Hadal Vault area, this upgrade allows Selene to traverse lava-filled rooms safely.
With the Promethean Insulators equipped, players no longer need to fear deadly encounters with lava, making it an invaluable asset in navigating hazardous environments.
It’s worth noting that this upgrade is missable, so players should ensure they obtain it during their first playthrough of the fifth biome to reap its benefits fully. Once acquired, the Promethean Insulators automatically protect Selene from lava without the need for active control inputs.
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.
The last of the permanent Xenotech upgrades in Returnal is appropriately found in the sixth and final biome of the game – Abyssal Scar. The Delphic Visor is located in the Abyssal Scar, the game’s sixth and last biome. Players can find it by following the quest marker until they reach an alien corpse with equipment attached to it. Upon interaction, players obtain the Delphic Visor.
Equipping the Delphic Visor reveals glowing blue orbs floating in the water, guiding players along a hidden path. Shooting these orbs unveils hidden platforms, allowing players to cross impassable chasms and progress through the game. Unlike other upgrades, no active controls are required for the Delphic Visor; simply acquiring it enables its functionality.
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!
An enthusiastic writer who loves art and gaming, you can find Maaz casually spending his day either behind the keyboard or the canvas. Maaz holds a major in Electronics and has over 5 years of experience working as a freelance blog and content writer. He loves to talk about all things gaming and help other gamers through his guides. He’s an expert when it comes to Diablo 4, Elden Ring, Dark Souls, Starfield and Baldur’s Gate 3.
Maaz mostly plays games on PC, you can check out his library on Steam attached below: