Friday, November 15, 2013

Ratchet & Clank Into the NEXUS : Game Review (PS3)

Recent entries in the Ratchet & Clank universe (“All 4 One” and “Full Frontal Assault”) have floundered in the fun stakes by straying from the tried and true formula of the original PlayStation 2 trilogy. I am happy to say that “Ratchet & Clank NEXUS” is a return to form for the series. For the first time since “A Crack in Time” (2009) you play as Ratchet, travelling from planet to planet, upgrading weapons, discovering new gadgets, bashing crates for bolts (currency), solving puzzles, partaking in clank mini-games, and laughing along with an absorbing narrative. It’s a formula that’s been done many times in the Ratchet series of games, but it’s one that works well. It’s this “kitchen sink” type of game-play that makes these games rarely feel tiresome or overdone.

Nexus is a mini adventure, and only about half the size of other Ratchet games. However, there is still a lot to keep you busy. With multiple missions on each planet, an arena to earn bolts and prizes, gold bolts to find, hidden holographic parts to assemble the ultimate weapon, and even a small slew of side missions. The story is great, and due to the games brevity moves along at a brisk pace. The game introduces some great new characters, along with moments of hilarity and heartbreak.

The game contains around eleven weapons, and it’s the outrageous nature of these weapons and the explosive combat that make NEXUS shine. Weapons are upgraded the more you use them, bringing more destruction and more distinct powers. For example, leveling up the “Temporal Repulsor”, a shotgun type weapon, will eventually include a time warp mod which places the enemies in slow motion while being flung through the air. There is also the “Winterizer” which plays an up-beat Christmas melody whist turning your enemies into immobile snowmen. For defense you can purchase armor to better protect yourself, and increase your overall health by gaining experience.

The Repulsor: 10% more repulsing than a Kardashian 

The art direction has always been a plus with this series, and Nexus does not disappoint. Every planet is individually themed and beautifully portrayed. Once or twice I had to stop and rotate the camera just to enjoy the view, something a game rarely entices me to do. However, these gorgeous graphics do come at a cost. Every so often while blasting away hordes of enemies I noticed the frame rate would drop drastically. Usually this would not be a hindrance, but it would get to the point where I could not decipher if I was being shot at before it was too late. This was never an issue in previous games, and it’s the only scar in an otherwise brilliant game.

“Ratchet & Clank NEXUS” is a brilliant entry to the series, and a fine swan song for the Playstation 3, if only a little more polish had gone into the game to help with frame rate dips. "Ratchet & Clank Into the NEXUS" scores a respectable 4/5.



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