If you’re like me, and have enjoyed any of the previous core Ratchet and Clank games, this is all you need to know: At $40, this game is a steal, and it beautifully recreates the origin story of the galactic duo while feeling both fresh and nostalgic at the same time. Changing the perspective of the story keeps you on your toes as the encounters have been changed enough that it doesn’t feel like a retread. The upgrade system and advances the series made with the PS3 games, mixing PS4 presentation, and the PS2 freshness the series brought to the genre is a welcome sight in 2016. Buy it and you’ll love it, it’s everything I’d hoped this game to be.
Now, for those who may have skipped the last couple generations of Lombax adventures, you’re in for a treat. The last decade has been most unkind to the majority of mascot 3D platformers. There have been some solid gems out there such as Mario Galaxy, Ratchet and Clank (PS3), and Sly Cooper, but we’ve seen a steep drop off in the plethora of options lately. Honestly, that’s probably one of the many reasons I enjoyed the game so much. Having not played one in so long, it was a real palate cleanser to all of the more highly involved, open world realistic games I’ve been playing lately. Not to mention the humor, tight game play, world variety, awesome weaponry, and absolutely beautiful graphics that make Ratchet and Clank shine.
This title takes the origin story of the first PS2 adventure and tilts it on it’s head by telling it from the outer space version of Don Quixote, Captain Qwark’s, twisted perspective. Like their self referencing advertisements are calling it, “it’s the game, based on the movie, based on the game.” The movie is probably 10 years too late to really capture the audience at it’s peak, however, Insomniac did another great job writing a tongue-in-cheek story with heart and throws in enough self deprecating humor along with some great in-jokes that you’ll quickly forgive them. Story wise, this is a typical “Star Wars” type set up where a young dreamer is swept up into a large scale Good vs Evil space adventure complete with a colorful cast of characters.
UP YOUR ARSENAL
While the game may be titled “Ratchet and Clank” the star of this game once again is the weaponry at your disposal. Insomniac has done an incredible job of mixing old favorites and new flavors at your fingertips to take down the myriad of enemies the game throws at you. The tools of destruction (I’ll do my best to stop with the puns) are just a joy to use and I loved using them all and leveling them up to gain new abilities and filling up the screen with a kaleidoscope of colors and explosions. At one point during an awesome showdown with a large group of enemies I had 4 passive weapons going (Mr. Zurkon, Proton Drum, Groovitron, and Glove of Doom) and then ran around the room blasting enemies with my new favorite, the Pixelizer. A weapon that turns enemies into pixelized versions of themselves and then explode into small blocks. Events like this, where you’re pushed to be creative, quick, and deadly with your weaponry is where this game truly becomes a joy to play.
Upgrading your weapons are done organically through normal use and also done in a RPG lite grid system by purchasing new functionality via Raritanium, another form of currency found throughout the game. You collect Raritanium by defeating enemies and finding small pockets of mines hidden in varying worlds. I loved using this system as it gave my weapons a unique feel and every little bit of customization helps create chaos on screen. There are 16 slots to be filled with items either found via exploration or purchased in the Gadgetron vendors on every world so check every nook and cranny.
To conclude this love fest, it took me right around 14 hours to complete and I took my time exploring the levels for side quests and feeding my addiction for more Bolts and Raritanium. You’ll find a slight let down in Challenge mode which is basically a replaying of the game with a Multiplier system instead of something like the Challenge rooms found in games like the Arkham series. Having said that, this has been my favorite game released thus far in 2016 and it baffles me that Sony hasn’t pushed this game more with advertising. The $40 price tag along with a stellar campaign full of wonderful weapons and sarcastic humor makes this a must buy for Playstation fans and a welcome jumping on point for those that haven’t stepped into Ratchet’s Grind Boots yet.