Ratchet and Clank (PS4) is a retelling of the original Ratchet and Clank game that was released all the way back in 2002, remember that although it follows the same plot line of the original game this is not an HD remaster. I have never played the original so this review is from an entirely new perspective.
The game follows the same basic formula as previous installments as you take charge of the beloved Lombax and his Robot Lunchbox and shoot and explode your way through the galaxy while saving it from some force of evil. So as long as you are interested in a combination of 3D platforming accompanied by some 3rd person shooting this title may be of some interest to you.
During your time within the colorful world of the Ratchet and Clank universe, the objective will be to travel through around a dozen planets and while at these unique locations our duo will be spending most of their time running, jumping and blasting their way the competition with a vast collection of weaponry.
Weapons you will find Ratchet wields include basic cannon launchers to blast enemies away, simple but effective on most opponents in the game. A disco ball which forces enemies to dance uncontrollably giving you a way to easily dispatch them and the effect is also hilarious to boot. A sheep converter, I assume to appease all the welsh fans out there. And ending with the much talked about new pixel shotgun which transforms the baddies into 8-bit renditions of themselves and deals a rather large amount of damage as well.
The combat system is very basic as your options are to dodge enemy attacks and retaliate by shooting them. However with the unique and amazingly fun arsenal at your disposal, this very simple gameplay which you are forced to use is great fun and never comes anything close to being stagnant. This may also be to do with how the game introduces you with each weapon individually as I found there were only 1 or 2 new ones per level giving you ample time to test each one out and decide whether or not it was for you.
Not only are you permitted to carry such a large arsenal of weaponry but every single one can be upgraded into seemingly new evolved versions of themselves. Take the Pyrocitor for example, as it was my most used close ranged weapon. This particular tool starts out its life a simple flamethrower with predictably poor range. But as I progressed through the game leveled it up with more kills I got with it I upgraded, not only it’s damage and ammo clip but, its range. Meaning that it was becoming an increasingly viable option as I no longer needed to see the whites of their eyes before being able to use it effectively. By the end of my game, my flamethrower had transformed completely into the Lavicator which added the delightful effect of exploding anyone it happened to destroy.
Of course, this is also a platformer so you will be exploring each beautiful environment by running and jumping around them and every feels worthwhile exploring to the maximum. However not only are Ratchet and Clank seasoned walkers in these new lands they, although rarely, get the chance to swim through a tropical sea and fly around specific areas with a trusty new jet-pack of awesomeness. These jet-packing sections are probably the most fun thing to do in the game as flying at a group of enemies and blasting your through without even touching the ground gave me such a rare and enjoyable rush of excitement that the only problem I have with it being in the game is that you are only allowed to use it around 3 times.
Now Ratchet isn’t the only main character here, though. There are a small number of times when Clank must traverse through a part of a level solo, usually through a vent which our friendly Lombax cannot squeeze through himself. Some people may be put off by these sections as Clank has no weapons and so can only melee any opposition he finds. But what these do offer is a nice change of pace to something more puzzle like… these are puzzle levels okay. I enjoy simple puzzles in games as it gives me a chance to relax and think for a moment before being thrust back into fun times. I believe this is just a personal opinion section as I know many players may be frustrated in being forced to slow down.
Finally, this game also offers a variety of mini which I am not fond of. The least irritating are the ship sections which I found basically dull. You move through an oddly small section of space and press the shoot button to attack, and the lock on really makes this too simple to be called entertaining. I also found that the ship’s movement was rather a strange switch between annoyingly slow to uncontrollably fast and having no happy middle ground.
The most egregious mini game is, however, the hoverboard races. Now when I first found the hover board I could barely contain my excitement as I believed being able to travel through levels on one of these could the most fun thing ever. However you are restricted to using them only in races, which in itself is not a bad thing but I cannot stand them. The speed is the main thing again but unlike the ship sections you switch from a snails pace to walking speed. So the adrenaline that I think was meant to be the intent of these sections were lost on me as being too bad to even attempt, you are forced to race twice in the story so there is no escaping it.
I have to admit that this is one of the best looking games I have ever played. The cut scenes are taken straight from the movie so no wonder they look like they are pulled straight from a film because they are. But the game itself is flawless. Wonderful levels filled with lush plant life and water effects that look as perfect as life itself to enemies that each look colorfully unique and individual. The character models themselves perfectly fit the statement which I have heard Ratchet and Clank strives for, “It’s like a Pixar movie you can play!”. If you are one of those people that need games to look perfect then this is what you want. However, unlike most games which follow the perfect aesthetics formula, there is also a game in here as well so for once everyone can be happy.
With a fairly lengthy story and flawless planets to explore at leisure this title should be a must own for any PS4 owner. I personally find very few flaws with the game except for those mini games which are the embodiment to tedium. Fun combat which is simple to play so anyone can have fun but with the number of weapons available offers a complexity which rewards those who learn to use each one to their fullest potential. The icing on the cake for me though is that ever so sought after platforming which I have not felt the joy of since I played Banjo-Kazooie all those years ago. This game is what a game should be, FUN.