A Triumphant Return To Former Glory
By: Nicholas Catto – The Ratchet & Clank series has a tumultuous history. In the beginning, the series delivered some of the best games that the PlayStation 2 could offer. Since then, Ratchet has been turned into party games, and just overall poorly designed games, plummeting the once beloved franchise. I’m proud to say that those days have come to an end. The rebooted Ratchet & Clank on PS4 returns the franchise to its former glory. Ratchet & Clank is the culmination of 14 years of experience and learning on the part of Insomniac games. Simply put, it’s everything a hardcore Ratchet fan like myself could ever have dreamt of.
Ratchet & Clank is the most visually stunning video game I’ve ever played. The bold and vibrant colors that are spread across the vistas are a sight to behold. It truly looks as if you’re controlling a Pixar movie. Ratchet and the gang look better than they ever have. They look so good in fact, that you can hardly tell the difference between in-game scenes and cut scenes. Ratchet and Clank truly flexes its graphical muscles with its effects while in combat. When mowing down a horde of enemies, your guns will be sparking, parts of enemy robots will be bouncing around the ground, and bolts will be magnetizing to you in a tornado-like fashion. It’s good to add that while this is all happening, the frame rate doesn’t stutter one bit. Simply put, in my humble opinion, Ratchet & Clank is the best looking game ever created.
Up Your Arsenal
Insomniac has perfected the way any game should handle anything related to guns. The ingenious and wacky designs of the weapons in Ratchet & Clank is unmatched. Whether it’s the Groovatron, which shoots a disco ball that makes your enemies dance around, or the Pixelizer, which blasts your enemies back to the 8-bit past. If you need a clutch sidekick, you could always summon the mighty Mr. Zurkon, who blasts enemies away while spewing out funny one liners. I also love the upgrade system for the weapons. During your adventure, you collect crystal shards called “Raritanium”. You can use them to fill out a grid pattern leveling tree for each weapon. When upgrading the weapon, you unlock special abilities for them. Using Mr. Zurkon as an example, one special ability can increase the distance that Zurkon can detect enemies, making him more useful in combat. You can also level up your weapons by simply using them in combat. This allows you to personalize your arsenal of destruction to suit your play style. I found myself returning to previous worlds to hunt down enemies in areas that I couldn’t previously reach.
After 14 years, Insomniac has perfected the gameplay mechanics of Ratchet. The movement and jumping controls are precise and crisp. Platforming your way through the galaxy is a blast! However, the true gameplay test of any Ratchet & Clank is the shooting mechanics. I’m pleased to say that Insomniac passed this test with flying colors. Like previous installments in the franchise, you can use the left trigger to zoom in strafe side to side for a more precise battle with your enemies, or you can just free shoot, allowing you free mobility to run and gun in whichever direction you choose. Ratchet & Clank also has a clever weapon hot-key system, which makes cycling through your arsenal of guns fast and easy. The fluid movement and precise shooting mechanics combine to make destroying waves of enemies a true joy. Heck, even the spaceship combat is perfect!
Just A Pure Joy!
Playing through Ratchet & Clank was the most fun I’ve had with a video game in years. I had a smile on my face from start to finish. Each planet you visit is completely unique in terms of vibe and quests. You’ll jump from the lava planet of Gasper, collecting brains of plants for a mad scientist to the earth-like, sprawling city of Novalis, sliding down giant sewer pipes with a plumber to fix your crashed spaceship. Without any spoilers, the story of Ratchet & Clank is a fun, quirky adventure, packed with amazing characters, jokes and set pieces that intertwine with each other perfectly. This game makes even the most mundane things fun and interesting.
Ratchet & Clank is simply the best exclusive PlayStation has to offer. It’s graphics and charm are unmatched by any game I’ve played in the last couple of years. Insomniac has outdone themselves and brought back one of the most beloved PlayStation icons. This game is a masterpiece and a must play for all PS4 owners.