Ratchet and Clank (2002) and Ratchet and Clank (2016) were played to full completion prior to this review.
Ratchet and Clank (R&C)is an action adventure game developed by Insomniac Games, and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is a re-make of the first Ratchet and Clank game that was first distributed in 2002. This most recent installment was released on the April 20th, 2016, exclusively for the PlayStation 4 (PS4).
Chairman Drek, the leader of the alien race known as the “Blarg”, is mass producing Warbots for an unknown reason. A defect is created and he manages to escape before he is destroyed, crash landing onto the planet Veldin. It is here that he meets Ratchet, who graces the defect with the name Clank. Clank informs Ratchet of what is happening, and they both set off to hunt down the “Galactic Rangers”, a peacekeeping organisation, in order to request their assistance. This initiates the adventure, in which the two must work together in order to defeat the bad guys and save the day.
The game adheres fairly close to the original, with slight changes to certain aspects. While you will be visiting worlds you have seen before, they now have freshly updated visuals. Some areas are easily recognisable, and you may even remember how to perform certain tasks. Thankfully the developers have catered for the long-time R&C fans, by adjusting just enough to offer a different take on the game, and not leave you with simply the same game with a new coat of paint. You could be exploring somewhere you previously remember, and suddenly encounter a newly constructed area, offering something completely new to explore. The paths to certain objectives have been changed as well, so it’s not the same old, jump here, swing here, kill these enemies. They’ve changed the paths enough so you don’t just know exactly what is going to happen at each point. The developers have included the well-favoured challenge mode, in which, upon completion of the game, players can choose to play it all over again, keeping their earned bolts and weapon upgrades, but considerably raising the difficulty, essentially doubling the play time.
This game is absolutely beautiful. Every landscape, enemy and environment is graphically stunning and full of life. There is minimal difference in the graphical quality of the cutscenes and gameplay, and due to the quick loading screens the transiton between each is seamless. The audio throughout the game is pretty spectacular, with the sound of each weapon, the environmental sounds and even character voices being highly entertaining, which makes watching and listening to this game really enjoyable. The game manages to incorporate some great humour, without reaching the extent of cringe-worthy or tame. Occasionally the game even breaks the fourth wall, not to a point where it becomes over-used and annoying, but whenever you hear or see something that refers to it, you can’t help but chuckle. Each character has great voice talent behind them with a vast amount of difference and uniqueness. Due to this, each character gives a great performance which is always different from any of the other characters. With a great dialogue, witty humour and the occasional deliberately awful pun thrown in, the game is fun to follow and you just won’t want to put down the controller.
Ratchet & Clank is set across multiple planets which the duo must travel to, performing different tasks to help stop Chairman Drek. Each planet is vastly different from each other, creating a great feeling of exploration when travelling around each planet. There is an open choice when it comes to deciding which planet you wish to travel to, as the game is not perfectly linear. Occasionally you will have multiple new planets to travel to and there will be the choice of which one to explore first. Throughout your adventure you will find multiple gadgets which can help you proceed, with each one hiding on a certain planet. You must first perform a variety of tasks in order to obtain them, such as competing in hoverboard races to win a gadget as a prize, or helping someone out with one of their own tasks. The gadgets allow you to progress through the game by adding another layer of puzzle solving such as the “Trespasser”, a device which plugs in and hacks electronics. In order to do so you must engage in a puzzle to change all of the red lights to green by using lasers, and you must determine the correct combination in order to get all lights lit up at the same time.
There are a few different gameplay elements involved which manage to shake things up a bit and allow you to do something different for a little while. You can sometimes pilot your ship, navigating through an area while fighting other ships and performing different objectives. You can also sometimes play as Clank, who can access smaller areas in order to locate items Ratchet would not be able to, or to unlock the way for Ratchet and his friends. There are also the small grind rail and jetpack areas, in which you can travel around an area by grinding along a rail and dodging hazards, and flying around with your jetpack offering a lot more verticality movement to an area and allowing for deeper exploration. All of these different elements allow the player to take a short break from running around and beating enemies up as Ratchet, and have some fun with some other playstyles.
Set in the third person perspective, the combat involves utilising a variety of different weapons in order to defeat your enemies, such as the “Combustor” which is a basic blaster, a flamethrower called the “Pyrocitor”, and the “Predator Launcher”, a weapon which fires multiple homing rockets. There are numerous different weapons to find and upgrade. The deeper you travel into the game, the more outrageous the weapons get, such as the “Groovitron”, a throwable which forces everyone caught in it to dance and drop their guard, making them vulnerable to attack. All of the weapons have great uses and some are better for certain enemies, but none are the types of weapons which you just stick in your inventory and never look at again, as they are all incredibly fun to use. Some are great for taking on a horde of weaker enemies at once, some are preferred for taking on strong enemies and others can simply be activated and allowed to do their thing, like “Mr. Zurkon”, who when summoned, floats next to you and shoots enemies with his laser, all the while insulting the enemy and telling everyone how good at killing he is.
Ratchet and Clank is out on PlayStation 4 for around the 50 AUD mark and is well worth the money. The story isn’t the best story ever told but it does its job. It is a story about two loveable misfits who embark on a journey to save the galaxy and be heroes. Thankfully though it has great dialogue, voice talent, visuals and audio, and everything else it needs to make this re-make as great as it is. Receiving a 9.5/10, this game is a must have for your PlayStation library, and thankfully due to its challenge mode, you can play it all over again once completed.
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