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Ratchet & Clank (2016) Review: Is Everything Still Nuts and Bolts?

April 21, 2016 / 11:39 AM

By: Akeem Bacchus

rcps4_mainImage Source: Playstation Website

Gaming has seen its fair share of duos since the Mario Brothers. With the likes of fighting game icons Scorpion & Sub-Zero/ Ryu & Ken, to platforming buddies Jak & Daxter  or Banzo & Kazooie, there are no shortages. Among these are Playstation favorites Ratchet & Clank. The duo is back with the “Official game of the movie based on the game.” As the studio often teases, this is the first game reimagined  for a new generation. To coincide with the impending movie release (April  29th) Insomniac games has revisited the origins of this dynamic duo. Is this a mere cash grab, or does this “new” entry stack up to recent efforts such as the Future trilogy?

 

Story

Ratchet & Clank is basically a retelling of the original PS2 game, but brought up to meet the standards of games today. The story is told through the perspective of the always lovable Captain Qwark, who tells the story from a jail cell to a new inmate. While the story is very similar to the original, there is one key difference: the relationship between Ratchet and Clank. In the original game, these two didn’t get along; in fact, Ratchet came off as a jerk to Clank. This really didn’t make much sense considering the title of the franchise, and Insomniac seemed to agree. The reboot/remake shows the duo friendly right from the start, and while the development between the two isn’t shown much because of this, it still pays off in the end.

Gameplay

Source: Playstation Youtube Channel

Controls have been tightened and mechanics from previous Ratchet games have been introduced to give the remake some fresh legs.  One of the newest features is the addition of a Card collecting game. As you play, you will find “holocard packs” which when opened, reveal various collectible cards. These cards can boost stats on weapons giving some extra “oomph.” Speaking of weapons, this wouldn’t be a Ratchet & Clank game without bizarre new ways to annihilate your foes! New to the series is the Pixelator. This weapon gives a nod to gaming roots and turns any enemy into an 8 bit pixel, made up of blocks. This is both hilarious, and impressive from a technical standpoint. The ability to strafe, which was not in the original game, is a welcome addition to the combat.  One of the best aspects that have been added is the RPG like elements to upgrading weapons. Each weapon has a grid of sorts with varying upgrades, each costing “Raritanium” (Premium currency). Things such as fire rate, damage, blast radius etc, can all be upgraded on weapons collected throughout the game. Weapons aren’t the only thing that can be leveled up, as Ratchet also gains levels, as he bursts through enemies. The combat is as chaotic as it has ever been, and I could not help but smile while wrecking havoc as I went through each planet. The most impressive thing I noticed playing during all of the chaos, was the fact that the game never dropped frames, froze, or crashed on me. Insomniac games has gone to great lengths to make this game as polished as possible, and it shows. This is reflected not just in the way the game runs but how visually appealing it is.

Visuals

5_metro_shipImage Source: Official Ratchet & Clank Website

The claim of Ratchet & Clank looking like a Pixar Movie is true now more than ever. From the very moment that I booted up Ratchet & Clank, one thing was obvious, this game is gorgeous.  Insomniac Games put a lot of love into this remake/reboot, and that is clear from the moment you start the game. The world truly pops out at you with its vibrant colors and diversity from planet to planet.  Shadows look defined, and character models are greatly detailed. Whenever there is a close-up of Ratchet, you can see singular hair follicles on his fur and just how detailed it all looks. My only complaint is that for all the pretty visuals, the planets can feel empty sometimes. However, until Uncharted 4 releases, this is hands down the best looking game on PS4.

Music/Sound

The music in ratchet is upbeat as is usually the case, but even more astounding is the sound. Weapons really have a distinct sound, and what can beat the sound of all those nuts and bolts gravitating towards Ratchet as he bashes his enemies? The voice acting is also very well done, and more often than not, I found myself laughing at the events that were unfolding.

 

Final Thoughts

Ratchet & Clank for the PS4 is an absolute love letter to fans of the series. For those who may be new to the series, I would say at a $40 asking price, if you enjoy platforming, or miss the old days of when games were just plain fun, don’t pass on this.

Ratchet and Clank

9.5

Final Thoughts

9.5/10

About the author /


Akeem is currently working on his Bachelor’s in Computer Science. Akeem has been gaming since he first picked up a SNES controller. While his PlayStation is his preferred platform, he loves gaming on all consoles.

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