Ratchet and Clank

Ratchet and Clank is not a sequel or a remastering of the original game, it is actually a reimagining that takes inspiration from the first adventure while adding enough new and modern elements to create a whole new experience. This is always a difficult undertaking as there is a need to capture a new audience as well as live up to the expectations of existing fans. Now all that remains is to determine how successful developer Insomniac Games was with this undertaking.

The story is rather run of the mill.

A small defective robot is discovered in a villainous warbot factory and intended to be destroyed. However, the robot manages to escape to the planet Veldin where he explains to a young Lombax by the name of Ratchet that he must get a message to the Galactic Rangers. He needs to inform them about the evil mechanical army that Chairman Alonzo Drek is amassing. Ratchet names the robot Clank and agrees to join him due to his dreams of becoming a member of the Rangers.

I guess run of the mill would be relative to the universe in question.

The plot is narrated by an imprisoned Captain Qwark, who is retelling the most recent adventures of Ratchet and Clank that will make their way into the upcoming video game, to a fellow inmate. This is revisited quite a few times during the campaign as their commentary chimes in providing insight and often humour to the ongoing events.

What can I say about the graphics? They are phenomenal. There was clearly a lot of attention put into every detail. Characters are appealing, colourful and full of expression. Since this is a game that involves flying from planet to planet there is an opportunity to create many different landscapes and flex the creative muscles. Whether the locale is a frozen planet, water covered expanse or cold and callus warship interior it all looks vibrant and appropriately lived in. The upgrade for the PS4 Pro takes it one step further, ensuring that the gameplay remains smooth and with that little extra sheen thanks to the HDR support.

Speaking of smooth, the controls are tight and responsive. There was not a single instance in the game where I blamed a missed jump, untimely death or misused weapon on the controls. They were always human errors and that is exactly how it should be. If I was forced to critique one instance of the controllers it would be during turret and airship combat sections. While they weren’t poorly controlled the combination of bullet travel time and odd hit boxes would often cause me to make a change in the controls that wasn’t necessary.

Mentioning the turrets and ship combat actually brings up another positive in the game, the pacing. There is a wonderful job done in diversifying sections of the game with combat, exploration, platforming or even extracurricular activities like hover races and rail grinds to keep the action constant but not repetitive. While some might find the game to be linear there are multiple linear paths in the levels that can lead to optional areas, hidden collectibles or necessary upgrades to progress on another planet.

The game possesses a healthy amount of collectibles in the form of Holocards and golden bolts without giving the feeling of being overwhelming. In order to find these there will be a necessity to revisit planets you have previously explored once you obtain new gadgets such as the magnet boots or trespasser device. Holocards will provide some passive bonuses or make unlocks available for the challenge mode and the golden bolts will provide access in the extras menu for some cheats as well as appearance changes. This is probably the best way to do it since it doesn’t hinder those that are not interested in collectibles while still providing motivation for others.

Lastly we need to talk about the weapons because as any fan of the series know that is the root of a lot of its individuality. There is no shortage of variety and fun in this entry’s offering. I had a blast using unique guns like the Groovitron and Pixelator for crowd control and high damage as well as a silly and entertaining animation to go along with it. Some of the weapons like the Plasma Striker, which functioned basically like a sniper rifle, lacked creativity but were there to compliment the arsenal and not define it. I was thrilled to see my personal favorite of Mr. Zurkon make a return complete with overconfident boasting and taunting.

The constant flow of nuts and bolts, serving as the games main currency, ensures that you will be able to purchase most of the weapons however upgrading them is a whole other story. The first upgrade method of leveling is done through simple use. Defeating enemies or in some cases just firing a weapon grants it experience. As the levels increase so does the strength of the weapon and the number of slots available on a passive bonus grid allowing for the second method of upgrading. By using a more rare currency, interestingly enough called raritanium, these slots can be purchased to add additional benefits like ammo capacity, range and so on.

If you are in it for killing enemies in interesting and fun ways, this game will be your cup of tea.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this reimagining is a success. Not only is the game appropriate but it’s also fun for all ages. Ratchet and Clank is a wonderful third person action platforming game and I would go as far as to say it is one of my favorites from the last couple of console generations.

~~Sandro Luketic~~

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