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This Returnal Run Might Be Impossible To Beat

Just a few weeks after the new game's official release outsold the competition, speedrunner MentalToast may have set an unbreakable record for completing "Returnal," finishing a full run through the roguelike in under five minutes.

Watching the YouTube clip of MentalToast's impressive run shows just how precise player actions need to be to complete the game in such a short time frame, especially when the player has to restart their initial run after timing the first door wrong. "Returnal" players might also notice that the run depends on a few traversal methods that might look a bit different from how they usually move through the game.

The most noticeable of these is the fact that MentalToast is in the air for almost the entire run, thanks to a technique known as a Dash Melee Jump (or DMJ), an advanced movement technique. As explained by YouTuber UprisenGaming, a DMJ is performed when the player initiates a dash, cancels it by starting a melee attack, and then cancels the attack by hitting jump. The resulting move gives Selene the verticality of a leap with the forward movement of a dash. 

In addition, MentalToast makes extensive use of the Icarian Grapnel, which allows Selene to traverse large parts of the map in an instant. Of course, players don't start the game with the Icarian Grapnel, and "Returnal" fans might notice a couple of additional late-game advantages MentalToast has. Here's how they set up their lightning-fast speedrun.

MentalToast starts his Returnal run in Act 2

Before diving into the tricks that MentalToast used to get through "Returnal" just as quickly as they did, it's worth mentioning that this playthrough is an "Anything Run," which means they can use any and all tools at their disposal to beat the game as fast as possible.

First off, as fans on Reddit have pointed out, MentalToast starts the game in the fourth biome. Next, they take several shortcuts to the final battle that most players would not, as a regular run in "Returnal" involves a good deal of exploration to find better weapons and prepare for more challenging fights. As fans noted on Reddit, the reason MentalToast can do that is because they've put in plenty of time to fully level up their pistols and unlock several doors before this run.

However, there have been plenty of speedruns that explore the full path to completion in "Returnal." The current record for an "All Biomes" run, in which players must move through every level, sits at just over 13 minutes, while an "All Bosses" run took about 25 minutes. While those may not sound as exciting as a run that takes less than five, it's still pretty solid.

The lack of a traditional save feature for "Returnal" has divided players since the game's release. Maybe that fact has convinced some gamers that speedrunning really is the way to go.