Returnal: What do Reconstructors Do?

If you’ve been playing Returnal since it launched on Friday, chances are high you’ve encountered a machine known as a “Reconstructor.” These things look exactly like something you’d see out of an alien movie – which makes sense considering how you’re stranded on an alien planet – and our protagonist, Selene, has no problem climbing into one and using the tech. The Reconstructors charge quite the fee, however, so it’s best to understand what they do and how to use them so that you’re not wasting your resources unnecessarily.

The Reconstructors look imposing, but they can actually be your best friend when you’re trying to navigate the harsh biomes of Atropos. Sometimes you’ll find them on out-of-the-way paths while other times they’re put at predetermined locations where you can always count on them to be present. They’re used to bring players back to life after they’ve died, but you’d expect from a tool that powerful, they’ve got some catches associated with them.

Returnal Reconstructor
(Photo: Sony)

The first big drawback to using a Reconstructor is its cost. They cost six Ether to use which is more than you’ll typically spend on anything in Returnal, so even though you keep your Ether stock upon death, using Reconstructors too often will drain your resources quickly. They also don’t persist from one biome to the next if powered, so if you use one is the second biome, for example, and then get to the third in the same cycle, you won’t respawn back at the Reconstructor upon death. Instead, you’ll have to find and power up the one in the third biome.

The good news is that when you respawn inside of one, you keep the stuff that you had before you went in. That means you won’t lose whatever weapon you’d acquired among other things during that cycle, so you don’t have to worry about spawning in with only a pistol and knowing that you’re going to die again soon.


So, when should you use the Reconstructor? Based on personal experience, it’s probably best to not use it the first time you see it in a new biome. If you’ve never been through that level before, you won’t know what waits for you, so you could end up breezing through the level and wasting your Ether on an unneeded insurance policy. Take your chances in a biome even if it means getting sent back to the start once or twice, then power up a Reconstructor to make sure your winning run is insured after you’re comfortable. The only exception to that would be if you’ve gotten an incredibly powerful loadout you know fits your playstyle well in which case you’ll want to make sure you keep it in the event of accidental death.

For more tips on Returnal, you can check out our guide with advice for before you play or while you’re playing.