Returnal Biome 5 Fractured Wastes [Walkthrough]

The freezing depths of Fractured Wastes hide the best rewards in Returnal.

After defeating Hyperion, who is the fourth main boss in Returnal, players will arrive at Biome 5 in the game. As was the case with Echoing Ruins which was an alternate version of Overgrown Ruins. Players will revisit Crimson Wastes again but now it is known as Fractured Wastes with a completely different environment. Needless to say, there is a lot that players need to do here.

Key Takeaways
  • Biome 5 is known as Fractured Wastes and it is an alternate version of the Crimson Wastes that we visited in the first half of Returnal.
  • There is no boss fight in the biome which makes it quite different from every other biome in the game.
  • Your main objective will be to open up the Hadal Vault in the main hub area of Fractured Wastes.
  • You will need to obtain three Hadal Keys present at the end of the three main paths that branch off from the main hub area.
  • Inside the Hadal Vault, you will find the Hadal Ballast which is a suit upgrade for Selene that will allow her to move underwater.
  • There is an additional suit upgrade located in the fourth locked door in the main hub area of Fractured Wastes. It is the Promethean Insulators that will allow Selene to move on the red damaging floors in the game.
Important: Fractured Wastes is just an endurance test where you’ll fight mini-bosses in groups to unlock a vault in order to get permanent xenotech upgrades for Selene.

Fractured Wastes In Returnal

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Main Hub In Fractured Wastes

Fractured Wastes is a cold biome and it is additionally the second last biome that you’ll visit in the entire. So when you make your way here after beating Hyperion, you will be in the end-game of Returnal. This whole zone is quite different from any other biome in the game as well. There is no boss fight waiting for Selene at the end of the zone like in previous biomes.

Instead, the player will arrive in a main hub area at the very beginning from where three different main paths will branch out. The main goal here will be to open up the Hadal Vault which requires you to obtain three Hadal Keys in the game. Selene will basically get a lot of Suit Upgrades in this location.

Finding Hadal Keys

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Frost-Severed Enemies In Fractured Wastes

There are three total Hadal Keys and each is located at the end of the three main branching paths from the main hub area. You will have to go through each main path one by one and face tough enemies in procedurally generated rooms.

The only enemies that will give you trouble are the Frost Severed and Malformed Severed. You should be really careful when fighting these enemies as they have the potential of ending your run. Once you reach the final room at the end of each path, a Hadal Key will be waiting for you. There will also be a translocator in the same room which you can utilize to go back to the hub area again.

The Challenge Room

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The Challenge Room In Fractured Wastes

One of the three main paths will make you go through a special challenge room which is the toughest section of the entire biome additionally. Do not enter this room without proper equipment. You will have to face three waves of enemies and two of these will make you go against the Frost Severed enemies.

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Fighting Enemies Inside The Challenge Room

Depending upon the RNG that you get, the number of enemies the game spawns may also increase. You should make use of your weapon’s ALT fire the most here to quickly stagger tough enemies. Additionally, there are many grapple points in this room as well which you can use again and again to quickly dodge or run away from the enemies. After completing the challenge room, you will get a Hadal Vault Key.

Opening The Hadal Vault

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Inside The Hadal Vault

Once you obtain all three of the keys, you can open the Hadal Vault in the main hub area of Fractured Wastes. Waiting inside will be a permanent xenotech upgrade for Selene known as the Hadal Ballast. The Hadal Ballast is a really important upgrade and it is required to enter the sixth and final biome in the game. This upgrade basically allows Selene to walk or traverse inside water.

Obtaining Promethean Insulators

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A Fourth Locked Door In Fractured Wastes

There is an additional fourth locked door in the main hub area of Biome 5 in Returnal and you will need an Atropian Key to unlock it. The Atropian Key can be found as random loot while exploring and you will probably already have one on yourself when you arrive in the biome.

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Inside The Locked Door

Players might not give this fourth room enough attention and will probably forget to unlock it. However, you should definitely unlock the room as there is another important upgrade waiting for Selene inside. At the end of the room inside, you will get your hands on the Promethean Insulators which will allow you to walk in the damaging red floors as shown in the image above. 

Entering The Next Biome

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Entrance To Abyssal Scar

After you’re done obtaining all of the upgrades available in Fractured Wastes, you can now jump inside the big pool of water located in the middle of the hub area of the biome. This will take Selene to the depths of the ocean where the sixth and final biome known as the Abyssal Scar will begin.

Tips And Tricks For Fractured Wastes

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The Fabricator In The Main Hub Area

The best tip that we can give regarding tackling the Fractured Wastes biome is that you should utilize the Fabricator present in the hub area. Every time you clear out a main path and get a Hadal Key, use the fabricator to craft healing items and buffs before venturing onto the next main path in order to get the next Hadal Key. If you utilize the fabricator, you might even end up obtaining all of the Hadal Keys in a single run. 


Returnal is one of the best Playstation Exclusive games that has finally made its way to PC. The game offers one of the most distinct and stunning roguelike experiences. With great enemy and boss variety, mesmerizing biomes to explore, and a plethora of weapons to play around with, Returnal offers hours of content. Once you unlock all of the shortcuts, replaying the game gets even more fun especially after you get the Hookshot.

This concludes our guide on Biome 5 known as Fractured Wastes in Returnal. We have entailed a complete walkthrough of the entire zone explaining everything that you need to do here. We hope that the guide was helpful in completing the whole biome. Let us know what you think about Returnal and if you’ve tried playing the PC port in the comments below.


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Muhammad Haris Umer

Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can find out more about his gaming experience by looking through his PSN and Steam profiles. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Masters In Computer Science || Previously Worked as a Freelance Writer || Published 150+ Guides 

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