How to Destroy Energy Barriers in Returnal
When you first boot up Returnal, you’ll be quickly tossed right into the action. Much of what happens next will be quite mysterious and that’s ok — it’s meant to be that way. However, the more and more that you play, the more and more you’ll learn.
As you progress through the first biome — Overgrown Ruins — you’ll come across two types of barriers quite often and you likely won’t have any idea what to do to get past them. That’s why you’re here, after all.
One of those barriers looks like a wall of orange vines — for more information about those, head to IGN’s How to Destroy Vine Walls page — and the other barrier is a massive and tall energy wall. It’s also orange, but it towers far above you and simply won’t let you pass through.
If you’re looking for a way through it, don’t bother — there isn’t a switch to find or a button to push or anything like that. Simply put, getting through this energy barrier requires the Atropian Blade, which is a lightsaber-like melee weapon you’ll eventually receive in the Overgrown Ruins.
However, don’t sweat — you can’t advance forward through the game’s main “story” until you get the Atropian Blade because progressing through the game requires that you’re able to destroy energy barriers.
If you’re wondering what happens when you hit the energy barrier, fortunately, the answer is nothing — it looks like it might damage you, but it won’t. It will just bounce you back a bit, which is this game’s way of saying you shall not pass.
When you have the Atropian Blade, return to the energy barrier and press Square to use the blade. You’ll find that this will destroy the energy barrier, allowing you to pass. Congrats — you’ve done it!
How to Destroy Circular Energy Barriers in Returnal
You’ll more than likely run into the tall, vertical barrier in Returnal when you first start off but as you progress deeper into the game, like when you reach the second biome, the Crimson Waste, you’ll discover orange circular barriers. Most of the time, you’ll be able to see an item sitting on the ground or on a small table inside the orange-yellow, circular energy barrier.
That is tantalizing, of course, and you might think a quick swing of the Atropian Blade will destroy the barrier in between you and the item, but sadly that won’t work. That’s because in order to destroy this orange-yellow, circular energy barrier, you’ll need the Blade Balancer item pickup for you Atropian Blade.
This can be found randomly so keep an eye out for it and return to the circular barrier once you’ve got it equipped. You can also purchase Blade Balancer from the Overgrown Ruins “store,” but it’s not guaranteed that this item is available for purchase every run.