The Ratchet and Clank is a series that has been going since 2002, developed by Insomniac Games. The most recent release is a game based on the movie based on the first game from 2002. Being a big fan of the series, I can honestly say that your opinion of the game will be largely dependent on whether you’ve played the original or not.
For those returning fans, I’m pleased to announce that the latest installment plays pretty much identical to the past iterations. For those new to the series, the games play as a third-person shooter and platformer hybrid. In the game you take control of Ratchet, a Lombax with a penchant for fixing things and messing with the space-time continuum. With Ratchets wide array of weapons at his disposal, as well as his trusty wrench, off you go shooting and whacking bad guys to save the galaxy. In addition to Ratchet, there are also segments of the game where you get to play as clank, the little robot sidekick. These segments generally contain the puzzle elements, where you need to use your brain to figure out how to solve some usually pretty easy puzzles, or some really tough ones, depending on how you want to solve them. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever done a complete playthrough of a Ratchet and Clank game without finding some arbitrarily more difficult way of solving some of the Clank puzzles. The Clank puzzles this time consist of throwing around utility robots, which will serve as either: power generator, spring board, or bridge.
At this point is where we have to separate between returning veterans of the series and those new to the games. For the veterans, all the best weapons are back, albeit maybe slightly redesigned (yes, all the groovitrons). Even better, none of the weapons ever felt truly obsolete to me. The upgrade system has been revamped, allowing you to earn exp through individual weapon use, as well as spending raritanium to upgrade stats such as ammo capacity and fire rate. The map-o-matic will now tell you exactly where AND what a hidden or secret item is, which is nice for those 100% completionists out there, and they’ve still kept the witty banter. And the plumber. On the other hand, the game is really short, especially compared to the original that it’s roughly based of off. In just two days I had already gotten the platinum trophy for it.
For those that remember the original, some story elements have been changed, maybe not to your liking, so be aware of that. Some parts of stages have been removed, and other whole stages have been outright excluded, such as Eudora, Orxar, Hoven, Oltanis and Quarks Training Base. For the new players, the game may present a longer play time, as you wouldn’t remember where all the hidden secrets are, especially if they haven’t changed a bunch of them from since 2002. Hoverboard racing is back once again, and it has actually gotten worse, in my opinion. The control scheme for the racing just seems incredibly awkward, jumping portions of the course for the short cuts occasionally results in an arbitrary death, tricks have gotten more difficult to pull off, and occasionally the boost producing rings will randomly decide not to respawn between laps, almost assuring you won’t get the speed trial trophy if you’re unlucky enough for this to happen to you. That being said, the races feel more fluid, and the overall process feels better.
The number of gold bolts has been almost halved from the original forty, and skill points aren’t really a thing anymore, although perhaps you could consider some of the hidden trophies as replacements for them. Overall, the game seems really “dumbed down” in comparison, but that isn’t stopping it from still being either good or enjoyable. My only major gripe with controls is that I couldn’t assign jump to the L1 trigger during strafe mode, which would have felt significantly better to use. The Ratchet and Clank games have always ignited my collector’s souls, with all the weapons, gold bolts, and skill points to be gained. Much to my pleasure, Insomniac has included “holo-cards” this time, which are basically trading cards that you can pick up occasionally from defeated enemies or in random packs scattered throughout the maps. Once you complete a set of three, you are given bonuses, such as increased raritanium drops, or in the case of weapon sets, it allows you to purchase the omega versions for the new game plus runs. If you get duplicates, you can trade five in for a new card you don’t have, provided you have the set at least started. For those with less than stellar luck, like myself, this means you may not be able to complete all the sets until something like the fifth run through the game, at which point the cards would probably be one of the maybe two trophies standing between you and a platinum.
Needless to say, graphics have certainly been upgraded since the PS2 version, and everything looks so much smoother and detailed. Unfortunately, animations feel like they are taken from some sort of stock, instead of each scene being uniquely expressed, and feel more like something you would be more used to seeing in the first dragon age. It feels like a lot of the character is no longer there during some of the interactions. The groovitron has certainly had work put into it, as there are multiple songs it plays, and they are all aggravatingly catchy. If I have any complaint about the music or sound effects, it has to be the new RYNO, as it replaces the music while firing, which isn’t bad at first, but if you unlock the infinite ammo cheat, it gets rather grating rather fast.
While the plot doesn’t follow the original exactly, it still has a solid story line and the humor is still there. While there isn’t a whole lot to particularly complain about, the game will have a different feel between fans of the series and newcomers. Fans will be hit with all of the nostalgic moments wonderfully remastered, while still feeling the excitement of something new. Certain segments may feel lacking, especially considering the removed stages, but what has remained will definitely be what you love and remember from 2002. Personally, as a fan, I felt that the game felt kind of “rushed”, or “incomplete”, like they wanted to have more, but for some reason just couldn’t get it in. For those newbies out there, the game will definitely provided you with a solid, enjoyable experience throughout. All the weapons are enjoyable and fun to use, the combat is fluid, and there are plenty of jokes and gags that are sure to make you laugh, even if the nostalgia won’t help with the impact. Overall, there’s definitely something there for both the new and old players.
Article by Richard