Must play, Game of the Year, Masterpiece; these are all terms that get thrown around rather carelessly but in this case, they are definitely not over exaggerations. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart is an amazing PS5 exclusive that should be considered by all gamers. It’s appropriate for children while offering up game play that will keep adults entertained as well.
The likelihood of any descriptions, screenshots or videos of this title being enough to convey just how amazing it looks is zero. Booting this up on a 4k, HDR compatible TV for the first time had my jaw on the floor and there were many instances that had me exclaiming out loud with profanity how much I appreciated the visuals. They absolutely need to be seen to be believed.
Let me give you an example of something that happened a couple of times. The game was playing a cut scene to introduce the player to a new planet that would serve as the next level. At some point the camera would zoom out just a little and the characters would be continuing their conversation but there would be no movement. This is because that pan out was the transition to game play and it still looked so good, I didn’t realize it was my turn to start moving.
Speaking of the planets, there are 9 in total and they will provide an impressive array of locales such as swamp lands, sand covered dunes and mining facilities to name a few. They are all beautifully detailed and make sure that the clearly stunning imagery does not grow stale. However, it is not just about the looks as they also house some variety of activities to break up the standard game play. Combat and story progression are great, we will get to those, but it’s always nice to break them up with some on rails platforming, a ride on the back of a fire breathing dragon or yes even robot pirate karaoke.
Let’s touch on that story. Ratchet and Clank are enjoying a short lived celebration of their past heroic efforts with a parade when Dr. Nefarious, yes that guy again, interrupts the proceedings to steal a dimensional device that was going to be a gift for Ratchet. Rather than being used to find other Lombaxes as intended, the evil doctor, in an attempt to find a place where he sucks less I guess, destroys the dimensional integrity putting all universes at risk.
This allows for the introduction of the new Lombax Rivet and eventually a new robot companion named Kit. The player will spend time bouncing back and forth between the two and different combinations of their companions as their narratives unfold and eventually intertwine. Oddly enough, any upgrades or abilities one obtains will be usable by both even before they ever cross paths, but that’s video games.
Anyone who has ever played a previous Ratchet and Clank game knows what that game play loop entails. A focused, almost linear level filled with combat, light platforming and some branching paths for collectibles and the odd side mission. The absolute highlight of all of this is the unique and creative artillery that resides in each game and this one is no exception. One minute you could be shooting something like rockets, buzz saws or even enemy stunning lightning bolts and the next you are deploying sentient mushrooms that serve as turrets and a sprinkler like weapon that causes growth to crop up and immobilize members of the enemy horde. All of the particle effects and enemy animations responding to different type of ammunition are a joy to watch and in general fun to play. So much so, that I spent way more time than necessary in the optional arena leveling up and upgrading the guns just to get a feel for them all.
The adventure will take a gamer about 10 hours on average to complete if they focus solely on moving the story along, which would not be terrible as it is well paced and handles amazingly but that would be doing themselves a disservice. When a game is done this well, it is worth it to take the time to experience as much of it as possible. Don’t deprive yourself of the fun in finding as many of the optional armor pieces that give passive bonus as possible, scouring every nook and cranky of each planet for the Raritanium needed to upgrade your leveled up weapons or going for a second lap on a different difficulty in the new game plus styled challenge mode. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart is not a perfect gaming experience in the general sense but it is the perfect realization of what this type of game is trying to be and I honestly couldn’t think of any way it could be improved upon. An outstanding, bug free experience that left a smile on my face from boot up to credit roll is a rare thing that needs to be appreciated.