Ratchet & Clank is a remake and a new take on the original 14-year-old game Ratchet & Clank from PS2. It was also developed alongside the animated movie coming out April 29th, 2016.
I wasn’t sure what to think when Ratchet & Clank was first announced at E3 2014. I wanted to be excited about the game, but a re-hashed version of the original based on a movie? That sounds like a terrible idea. Boy, was I wrong! The game is so much more than a simple retelling of the original story. The combat and the excellent writing kept me glued to my seat and left me wanting more! The $39.99 price tag was also easy to swallow, considering the accepted price for new AAA titles.
Story & Gameplay:
Without going into too many spoilers, the game starts in a prison with a character named Shiv Heix being escorted to a wonderful looking jail cell shared by cocky Captain Qwark, a Galactic Ranger from past Ratchet & Clank games who is also a total jerk-face. Shiv Heix is a fan of Captain Quark and is interested in hearing the story of why he is in prison. After this brief scene, the game starts with the Ratchet & Clank story as told by Captain Quark (the narrator of the entire game). The first level starts out on Veldin where Ratchet lives and works, followed by the escape of Clank after being manufactured incorrectly as a warbot in a Blarg facility. Ratchet and Clank eventually meet up and join the Galactic Rangers together to fight the ongoing war. Chairman Drek is looking to destroy any planet he dislikes and tries to make a home for him and his goons, the Blarg. (Chairman Drek is the main villain of this story with a few surprises later on.) It’s totally a good reason to stop a bad guy, right? You proceed as the duo, stopping his invasion of each world.
Ratchet has always been well known for his sick arsenal of crazy guns and his sweet wrench that he uses to bash in the face of evildoers. The game company, Insomniac has always created amazing guns in past Ratchet & Clank games and they added a few new guns to this new installment. Every gun feels unique, scales on damage, and each gun has its own RPG-like leveling system that you can upgrade with crystal shards called Raritanium.
One of my personal favorite guns is called the Pixelizer. It turns enemies into pixelated versions of their former self after they die they burst into pixels with retro sound effects. Ratchet also can be leveled up to extend how many hit points he has to make sure you survive each level as you progress. Clank, on the other hand, has useful upgrades, such as the jetpack or rocket boosts. There are also a few levels where you use just Clank to further the storyline with a bit of puzzle solving and platforming with his abilities. You go through each world fighting bad guys, bosses, collecting bolts to buy upgrades, upgrading weapons, getting new gear, and finding all 28 Gold Bolts. By collecting and upgrading everything you feel like you’re really making a difference to the progression of the end game. Each world you visit feels fresh and unique with new enemies that keep you on your toes.
I don’t have a lot of bad stuff to say about the gameplay other than some clunky controls every once in awhile and possibly the ending fight, as the last boss fight felt a little disconnected from everything else. You have to basically fly around in the Clank jet pack that you literally only use on a couple of levels. So getting the hang of the flight controls can be a little daunting while attacking the last boss. After you beat the game, you have a chance to try your luck at challenge mode which lets you bring in everything you upgraded and earned. Think of it as a New Game Plus mode!
Graphics & Sound:
Ratchet & Clank is visually appealing from the moment you fight your first enemy on Veldin to the final battle on the planet destroying ship. You can really tell the talent behind Insomniac Games, from the Disney Pixar-like worlds to the chaotic mess you cause from shooting everything in the face! Running at 1080p 30fps makes this game run and look great! Ratchet & Clank is one of the best looking first-party games on PS4 in 2016. During my playthrough, I did not notice any frame drops or graphical errors, which is pretty astounding due to how many particle effects there were on the screen while fighting off hordes of enemies. Not to mention the beautiful living backgrounds of each world that seem to interact with the storytelling while you play.
The soundtrack made me feel like I was really on an epic adventure and I enjoyed every bit of the score. The sound effects of the melee attacks, guns and equipment were pretty convincing that you were really saving the universe in science fiction style. I feel like every Ratchet & Clank game gets better with its sound effects, along with keeping the classic and well-known sounds from the past games.
Ratchet & Clank seems like a simple remake of the original, but it’s something much more. Insomniac Games should be proud of this amazing retelling of the story. Whether you’re an old fan of the series or a newcomer that just decided to give it a chance, this game is pure fun and can be enjoyed by everyone.