One of the first Metroid-like upgrades you get with Returnal is the Atropian Blade, a sword that gives melee attacks. It can also destroy red force fields that can block paths and often protect enemies from guns. But shortly after encountering a red force field that can be torn with a sword, you will begin to find an orange force field that is blocking the door your sword clearly cannot handle.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fight deep into the Returnal biome to permanently upgrade your sword to break through these force fields. Returnal doesn’t reveal that, but there is a way to knock out an orange force field that doesn’t require you to defeat the boss or unlock the new biome.
How to break the orange door barrier
To address the force field of this second brand, you need a specific artifact called a “balance blade”. Gear-shaped artifacts can be found in random drops from creators, chests, or enemies. Obtaining an upgrade will increase the power of melee attacks, but you can slash them with a sword to destroy the orange force field as well as the red field-in most cases, the orange force. Once cleared, the field will have a room full of health, weapons, or suit upgrades, making certain executions a little easier.
Balance blades are an artifact. This means that if you find it, you will lose it if you die or give up the orchid and return to Helios. That is, you need to look for it when you start a new run. In most cases, it is available from the 4 item manufacturers in each biome’s hub area. The Balance Blade looks like a skippable artifact, but it can open an orange force field, so it’s a pretty good upgrade to prioritize. It usually pays itself for upgrades in a walled room. Remember to hook it, especially if you have already seen an orange force field running in the early biomes.
If the orange force field appears faint in the early biomes, skip this. However, it’s a good idea to keep track of where the balance blades are located, in case you need them.
If you’re looking for a better way to survive in Atropos, check out the rest of the return content, including a large overview of return tips and tricks, and read the return reviews.