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How to get through the yellow shield barriers in Returnal

Barriers, begone! It’s surprisingly easy to get through the yellow shields in Returnal, but the game never really explains it to you. Here’s how you do it.

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Returnal yellow gates barriers
Housemarque / Thumbsticks

Barriers, begone! It’s surprisingly easy to get through the yellow shields in Returnal, but the game never really explains it to you. Here’s how you do it.

Returnal has inaccessible routes as your progress through the game, whether those be unreachable ledges or locked doors. However, one of its biggest headscratchers is the yellow forcefields, the shield barriers which seem impossible to pass through.

Appearing similar in design to the red shields – which protect enemies from incoming shots – you may think a similar tactic will work, that a swift strike from your Atropian blade will clear your path. However, the yellow shields in Returnal are unphased by your trusty melee weapon and can leave areas untouched as your progress.

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To access these yellow-shielded rooms and chests that tease the player with the possibilities of new upgrades and weapons, you’ll need a simple upgrade that has likely been dangling under your nose the entire time.

Commonly found in fabricators dotted across Atropos, the Blade Balancer upgrade increases the damage dealt by your Atropian blade. What’s not explained, however, is this upgrade also enables your blade to strike through those yellow shields, granting access to new areas.

The upgrade will set you back 250 Obolites but is definitely worth the price to slash through those yellow shields in the hope of picking up even more powerful loot. (And there is no harm in dealing out some extra damage as an added extra.)


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The most passionate casual gamer about, Aaron is a filmmaking graduate, Premiere Pro aficionado, and film and gaming journalist hailing from the windy realms of Scotland. He loves to split his time between writing articles, hosting his film podcast, producing some top-notch video content and building up a backlog of games he’ll probably never complete.

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