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Returnal: how to find and beat the final boss, Ophion

The final boss of Returnal is nothing short of challenging. We’ve put our heads together to come up with the ultimate guide for defeating Ophion.

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the Abyss. However, there is one challenge left. Ophion is a horrific amalgamation of squid and astronaut who happens to hit like a ton of bricks. When facing this boss preparation is the name of the game; you’ll need a decent kit, a little bit of know-how, and patience in order to defeat this behemoth.

The good news is your good pals here have put together a handy little guide detailing everything you need to do to defeat him. Follow our instructions closely and you’ll soon be able to brag to your mates that you finished Returnal.

Preparation for Ophion

Health

To defeat Ophion you’re going to want to have adequate health, good artefacts, and better weapons. To accrue the appropriate amount of health you’re going to need to farm Resin and Integrity in the first biome of Act 2.

It is crucial you take as little damage as possible during this phase. This is because the game will convert integrity into resin if your health bar is full, which will increase the overall size of your health bar.

Artefacts

In regards to artefacts, you will absolutely want the Astronaut Figurine. If you’ve made it this far into Returnal, you should know that by now. Honestly, you’ll want most of the artefacts that are unlocked through Selene’s home; Blown Nightlight, Spaceship Model, and Two Way Radio.

You’ll also want to purchase any damage increasing Artefacts, however only if they apply to ranged weapons. Using melee attacks against Ophion is not advisable.

REturnal weapons hollowseeker
The Hollowseeker we beat Ophion with

Ophion’ s least favourite weapons

Now let’s talk about guns. I’m a believer that you should use whatever gun you’re most comfortable with. However, I cannot recommend using the Hollowseeker enough. When battling Ophion, before you can deal damage to him, you’ll need to destroy one of the multiple white glowing orbs that spawn near him.

By doing so, the orb emits a bright light that will temporarily reveal Ophion’s targetable weak points for you to attack. You will repeat this process while evading Ophion’s attacks until you’ve defeated him.

The Hollowseeker is ideal for the following reasons. Firstly, it has an attribute that causes its projectiles to guide themselves towards a targetable area as long as your crosshair is close enough to it at the time of firing. This is incredibly useful for your DPS, as Ophion’s weak spots are rather small, and you’ll be manoeuvring incredibly quickly in order to avoid his damage. This means more shots on target and less time wasted.

Secondly, the Serrated attribute will deal damage over time to Ophion, causing him to take damage even when his weak points become untargetable. Finally, the portal beam that randomly spawns when using a Hollowseeker does a ton of damage and looks badass.

If you’re still unsure of what gun to use, I can also recommend the Tachyomatic Carbine. Just make sure whatever gun you choose is capable of dealing consistent damage from a medium-long range. For the love of god, don’t use the Spitmaw Blaster.

Fighting Ophion

So you’ve ventured down through the Abyss and found Ophion’s lair. Good job! Now’s the hard part. Here I’m going to outline each phase of the fight (represented by three health bars you need to drain) as well as the attacks you will encounter.

After all, knowledge is half the battle.

Ophion Phase 1

Ophion will initiate this phase by unleashing hundreds of little green orbs that will slowly float towards you. These are fairly easy to avoid, so immediately start firing at one of the large white orbs that float near him, causing his weak spots to be revealed.

While you’ve started shooting at those, Ophion will begin blasting heaps of orange orbs in a horizontal wave. These move much quicker than the green orbs, so you best be nimble.

Whilst all this is happening you’re going to need to keep an eye on the ground. This is because Ophion fires purple ground lasers. You cannot dash through purple projectiles, so you’ll need to jump over them.

Next Ophion will fire green homing arrows. These are very annoying but easily avoided. Just wait until the last second and dash to the side. If you do it too early, the arrows will correct their course and still hit you.

Finally, Ophion will fire quick rounds of small blue orbs.These are also easy to avoid as long as you’re constantly moving around.

Returnal Ophion boss guide
Green homing arrows

Ophion Phase 2

This phase follows a similar pattern to phase 1, however things are sped up a bit. We also see the inclusion of two new attacks which I’ll cover here.

Firstly, Ophion will start intermittently swiping the arena with an open fist. It’s a fairly quick attack, and due to his camouflaged appearance, can be hard to spot. You’ll need to keep an eye on him and jump over as his hand approaches you – it’s best to do this at the back of the arena as you have a better field of view.

Ophion will also attack you with vertically sweeping purple lasers. These have small gaps in between them, so make sure you are well aligned in that gap when they start descending on you.

Returnal Ophion boss guide
Vertically sweeping purple lasers

Ophion Phase 3

This phase is where things get a little spicy. Ophion’s attacks are quicker and more frequent than prior phases. It’s very bullet-hell, and it’s hard to give exact advice on how to deal with it due to the randomised nature of the projectiles during this phase.

However the more space between you and Ophion, the better. This is because as the projectiles move towards you, more space forms between them, meaning more opportunities to not get hit. Seize these opportunities and don’t be afraid to dash into these openings before retreating back. You’ll see a few examples of this in our video guide below.

Good luck and remember to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge out there. You’ll take Ophion down in no time.