Returnal Nemesis Boss Guide

Last Update: May 3, 2021 2:58 PM /


Returnal Nemesis

If you've been following our coverage of the new PlayStation 5 exclusive sci-fi action game, Returnal, you know we have been giving tips for the game's nasty boss fights. This guide is no different since it covers secrets and tips on how to beat Nemesis, the boss waiting for you at the end of the Derelict Citadel. If you have a fear of heights, be warned, this one is a doozy.

Returnal Nemesis
This is your point of no return. Get ready for a fight.

Returnal Nemesis – Getting To The Returnal Third Boss


Much like the Crimson Wastes and the Ixion fight, the road to the boss fight is quite straightforward. Simply follow the orange marker to regain access to the citadel's central tower, then ascend the tower to the top. But unlike the wastes, that climb to the top is consistently scripted as a gauntlet. A constant uphill battle full of tricky platforming challenges and unrelenting fights against automated defenses. The best advice I can give is use whatever cover you have, prioritize enemy turrets and keep the giant robot midboss in your sights at all times. He will leap at you, you will not get a heads up, and it will drop you in one hit.

Once you find Selene's audio logs followed by a door leading into a large ominous hallway, use the fast-travel point and prepare for the fight ahead. Once you're set, head through and trigger the cutscene.

Selene moving past lasers as they leave fire trails on the ground
This might limit your movement a bit, but just keep your focus on your sides and keep shooting forward.

Returnal Nemesis – Fighting the Returnal Third Boss


Before you hop in, I do have some immediate recommendations. First and foremost, don't bother with shockwave or ground spike consumables, they will not help you here. As for weapons, I highly recommend long-range weapons with direct and quick alt-fire modes; no grenades or anything that fires in an arc. The Carbine, Rocket Launcher, and Rifle weapons are your friends here.

I mention this because Nemesis is the first large boss fight in Returnal that plays more as a giant setpiece sequence than a simple boss monster. It's a large tower of alien material with swirling clouds of rocks that controls multiple large floating tentacled sentry weapons, all while sporting a big conveniently glowing red weak point at its base. But that large and intimidating scale will make it hard to gauge distance while in the thick of the fight, and a half second of lining up a shot can just be the opening that kills you.

Following all of Returnal's boss patterns, Nemesis has three distinct phases and they are the most overt out of all bosses fought so far. The first phase starts out with you on a simple stone platform with Nemesis spewing clouds of multi-colored bullets in bursts. This is pretty standard at this point, you should be able to sidestep and dodge these barrages easily enough. The real danger comes from the alien towers that Nemesis controls. The towers are active when they are glowing yellow, and they'll move to the far left and right ends of the arena and start pelting it with lasers. These include a large wall of sweeping slashes which can be avoided with a well-timed dodge, and striking the center of the arena to create red shockwaves. You see an alien tower active, move from the center and anticipate a laser attack.

Selene weaving through bullets and lasers
You have less room to move around in this phase so be as deliberate as you can.

Phase two is where things get dicey. The arena will break apart into several smaller floating chunks and Nemesis will move to another part of the arena. The alien towers mentioned before will start firing quicker blasts at long-range and Nemesis will start launching far-reaching darts. Use your grapnel gun upgrade and some well-timed air dashes to reach Nemesis and keep the assault going. Aside from a few more chaotic bursts of bullets, this should play out the same as phase one, except now there will be two alien towers active at a time. Watch your corners and get ready to move. Eventually, Nemesis will vanish and appear somewhere else in the arena. If that happens just rinse and repeat.

Nemesis in phase three is both spectacular and terrifying if you're not prepared for it. A powerful explosion will launch you into the air and you will be put into free fall. After about six seconds or so, platforms will float up into your field of vision. Grapple to them as soon as you can. You should see Nemesis far in the distance with two rows of alien towers waiting for you along the way. Much like phase two, you'll to move from platform to platform to close the distance on Nemesis and finish off that last bar of health.

This might be the most daunting of the phases. In addition to the alien towers firing waves of lasers that will blow up platforms you're on, Nemesis' attacks will become more aggressive as you get closer. These start off as large spirals of blue bullets and long aggressive streams of orange bullets. Use platforms as cover and remember you can grapple to platforms to the left and right as well as forward. But the biggest stuff to avoid are the swarms of purple darts. Visually speaking this is a very beautiful attack, but when it comes to stuff you need to avoid, there is one part of the swarm that is locked on to you. A well timed dodge or grappling away to another platform should help you avoid this.

Selene grappling a floating platform while purple darts fly in the distance
Got away just in time!

Then there are the rapid columns of blue bullets Nemesis will start firing once you get dangerously close. This is one of the nastier attacks to avoid since if you're too close to the boss, you'll be aiming downwards at the weak spot to fire and not at where the attacks are coming from. Either stay as far back as you can while dealing damage or focus on dodging first before attacking. Much like phase two, eventually you'll be knocked back by another explosion and reset to the start of the arena. Rinse and repeat until the fight is over.

Congratulations, you have beaten Nemesis, the final boss of Act 1 of Returnal. As for what happens next, well that would be telling. For more guides on the rest of the game, check out our beginner's guide or our exploration guides. Good luck and watch out for rocket drones.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

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Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This… More about Tyler

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Returnal
Game Page Returnal
PlayStation 5
Release Date
April 30, 2021 (Calendar)
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