Released at the same time as the first cinematic adaption of the series, Ratchet and Clank fares much better than its big-screen companion. Insomniac’s remake of the original Ratchet and Clank is a visually stunning, well-functioning and replayable adventure.
It seems difficult to epitomise the context that Ratchet and Clank finds itself in. It’s best to see the game as somewhere between a reboot and remake of the original game. It’s been three years since Into the Nexus was released and the world of Ratchet and his metallic friend make a welcome return.
The game is told through the narrative guise of Captain Qwark, who is imprisoned; the captain narrates the game as it progresses. The narrative is an intergalactic tussle between a space ranger unit, that Ratchet and Clank become a part of, and an evil corporation headed by Doctor Nefarious.
It’s best to see the game as somewhere between a reboot and remake of the original game.
The story is standard individual vs. greedy corporation, sci-fi schlock and isn’t particularly engaging, but it’s safe. Although the script is well-intentioned, it falls short of genuine humour in most places, and only really serves the progress of the gameplay. It’s missing a fundamental warmth of the previous games. Also, the frequent transitions between cinematics from the film and gameplay are often awkward and ruin the flow of the narrative.
However, the story is almost forgiven due to the sheer level of enjoyment that the campaign boasts. Gameplay revolves around shooting mechanics, use of gadgets and platforming.
The sections involving the player taking control of Clank are more based on puzzle-solving as opposed to combat. The Clank sections are appealing for their slower pace, but they’re just not as exciting as the bulk of the campaign.
Aside from a couple of generic weapons, the shooting mechanics are fluid and fun. Insomniac include weapons such as the Goatinator – that aptly turns enemies into goats – and a spinning disco ball that transforms enemies into a Los Angeles flash mob.
The levels involve navigating Ratchet and his companion underwater, through cities and space stations. The levels are consistently well-designed and belong in a brilliantly-crafted world.
It’s missing a fundamental warmth of the previous games. Also, the frequent transitions between cinematics from the film and gameplay are often awkward and ruin the flow of the narrative.
Although the campaign is not long, it doesn’t feel too short either. The different types of collectibles also allow exploration which adds to the time of the campaign.
Most of the enemies are cartoonish and never reach the grotesque monster design of other games. But they feel fun to engage in combat with and show good personality. The scattered boss fights, however, are underwhelming and do not have a substantial depth to them which is disappointing.
Ratchet and Clank is an impressively pretty game. As mentioned, the level design is superb and each one is rendered wonderfully. The tone and art style of each level is cohesive yet varied enough to feel fresh as the game progress.
From rolling blue waves to snowy fortresses to stations on the outer limits of space, each level is a mixed colour palette of vibrancy.
Insomniac include weapons such as the Goatinator – that aptly turns enemies into goats – and a spinning disco ball that transforms enemies into a Los Angeles flash mob.
The game just never feels bland. It’s textures are fresh, character models are expressive and its technical performance is superb. A mightily impressive visual feast that performs very well.
Ratchet and Clank also boasts a wonderful score. It is reminiscence of Star Wars – not in a derivative way (although any comparison to John Williams is surely positive), but in a way that invokes adventure.
The sound design of the game is not necessarily impressive solely because of its orchestration but how the music promotes exploration within the levels.
‘Challenge Mode’ is unlocked after beating the game on any difficulty. Essentially, Challenge Mode is a new game + option. It allows the player to keep all their weapons and begin the game again at a higher difficulty. The game introduces a bolt multiplier to upgrade weapons even further and to achieve collectibles that were missed the first time around.
The weapon upgrade systems is varied enough to warrant bolt and card collection again. The collection of bolts in particular is immensely satisfying and addictive. The rewards of upgrades and new weapons is a just reason for searching everywhere for them.
A fresh and exciting addition to the series – Ratchet and Clank is an absorbing, incredibly fun adventure let down only by an underwhelming story and short play length. It arrives in 2016 in the form of a reboot that mirrors the film adaption but fortunately never feels like a tie-in.
- Storyline – 60%
- Gameplay – 80%
- Graphics – 85%
- Sound – 75%
- Replayability – 70%
Final verdict – 80%