The 3D platformer, a genre so iconic that it more or less defined an entire generation of games. Rising from the ashes of their 2 dimensional ancestors, games like Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Banjo Kazooie dominated shelves in homes around the world. Predominantly a kid friendly genre of games, 3D platformers were, for the most part, innocent and accessible to even the youngest gamers. So when the original Ratchet and Clank came out in 2002 featuring large, upgradable guns. Smart writing that consisted of jokes riddled with adult inuendo, super tight controls and some of the best visuals available on any platform at the time, an instant classic was born.
9 Games later and 3 years since the duo’s last major adventure, Ratchet and Clank has been given a fresh coat of paint in what Insomniac are calling a ‘Re-imagining’ of the first game. In reality, this is a game, based on a movie, that is based on a game. Ratchet and Clank: The Movie, was released in April of 2016 and according to both critics and the general public, was a relatively shithouse theatrical experience. So apart from being a surprisingly well polished 3D action platformer, this may also be the only time in existence, where a movie based game was actually better than the movie it was based on.
The script writing is on point and actually had me laugh out loud a few times in my playthrough. However die-hard fans of the Ratchet and Clank series of games may feel like this is more of a ‘greatest-hits album’ than a new release in the series because despite a clever script and slightly different take on events, this is still the original Ratchet and Clank game with a rather familiar array of weapons to boot.
There are 16 weapons available in Ratchet and Clank, 14 of which have appeared in the duo’s previous games. The 2 new weapons, the Pixelisor and the Proton Drum, are probably my 2 favourite weapons in the game. The Pixelisor deserves a special mention due to its jaw dropping design. It acts as a shotgun of sorts, blasting enemies with a green wave of pixelated energy. Enemies caught in this blast zone are pixelised themselves, and can shatter into hundreds of tiny pixel, with one swift swing from Ratchet’s wrench. The effects on all the weapons and this gun especially, are just incredible to watch and Insomniac has actually stated that getting enemies to pixelate after being hit by the Pixelisor was actually one of the hardest things to accomplish in Ratchet and Clank. All the weapons in the game are upgradable but more importantly than that, they’re just a hell of a lot of fun to use. Groovitronning a room full of enemies, then using the Sheepinator to turn half toe room into harmless livestock is something that only a Ratchet and Clank game can offer.
One of the more surprising things about Ratchet and Clank was the visuals. This game looks fantastic. It may even be one of the best looking games on the current generation of consoles. I was legitimately shocked that a modern day 3D platformer could look this good, despite running at a maximum of 30 frames per second. I’ll be honest, usually I notice when a game is locked at 30 fps, but to get around the drop in framerate, the visuals contain a whole lot of motion blur, what this means is, you end up not really noticing the lock in frame rate at all. Plus, I was having far too much fun breaking hundreds of boxes and collecting bolts to further upgrade my weapons, searching for hidden secrets and exploring the beautiful levels to notice.
The average player can clock the game in around 10 hours, which makes it the perfect partner for a weekend fling. If you plan on smashing out a Platinum trophy, then you should be looking to invest around 20-25 hours. Ratchet and Clank isn’t really a difficult game, so don’t go in expecting a challenge, it is however, a much more affordable new release. I managed to pick up a copy for under $50, less than 2 weeks after its Australian Release, when you compare this to the usual $80 – $100 price tag for new release games, Ratchet and Clank offers quite a lot of bang for your buck.
Ultimately Ratchet and Clank probably won’t win any game of the year awards. It’s not going to set your entire world on fire and it’s not going to re-invent any genres either. What it will do, is take you on an incredibly enjoyable 10 hour ride of 3d platforming goodness that plays just as good as it looks.
The Good: An incredible looking game with tight controls and fun weapons makes you yearn for the return of the 3D platformer as a regular genre
The Bad: Playing through, more or less, the same storyline as the original game. Ratchet and Clank: The Movie. Not really a challenge and little replay value.
The Final Word: Ratchet and Clank is a solid 3D platformer. At 10 hours for a single playthrough, this is the perfect game to pick up for cheap and smash it out in a weekend.