Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ratchet and Clank : Game Review (PS4)

‘Ratchet and Clank’ is a game with a serious identity crisis. It is a game, based on a movie, based on a game, which is a reboot of the original game with small nods to the movie. Now that we have that sorted, on with the review.

They story is simple. ‘Captain Quark’ the head of the ‘Galactic Rangers’ is imprisoned and tells the story of how he met ‘Ratchet’. The characters are excellent and their personality and humour help to propel an otherwise lifeless narrative.

The original 'Ratchet and Clank' was released on the Playstation 2 in 2002, and since then there have been 15 games released via mobile, PSP, PS2 and PS3 device. ‘Ratchet and Clank’ on the ‘Playstation 4’ is one of the most beautiful games to grace the console. On occasion I found myself stopping to slowly pan over gorgeously detailed alien vistas. From dark planets teeming with alien fauna, to bustling metropolis’s with aeronautic traffic. The games levels are varied and bustling with life.

Being a reboot, the game will create a strong sense of deja-vu for those of us lucky enough (and old enough) to have experienced the original. Many of the levels follow the same paths, with the same interactions and item locations. There is however a few new worlds thrown in which help modernise the experience, such as the planet ‘Polaris’ where Ratchet can fly freely while battling massive alien beasts for major bolts. Bolts being the currency needed to buy new weapons.

The game contains the strafing style of gunplay which was introduced in the 2nd game and has become a staple for the series since. The game-play is where this game shines, with a large arsenal of weapons to collect for some frantic, over the top battles that fill the screen with all manner of effects and explosions. Classic weapons such as the ‘Sheepinator’ and the ‘Groovitron’ return, so you can turn your enemies into sheep them watch them disco dance to some groovy music and multi-coloured lighting. Of the new weapons, my favourite is the ‘Pixelizer’, which is a shotgun that transforms the enemies into 2D pixelated versions of their 3D models, ready to be smashed into tiny cubes. The weapons even comes complete, with retro arcade sound-effects.

The game contains an experience system which level ups both Ratchet and his arsenal. There is ‘Rareatarium’ to collect to further mod your weapons, and a collection system which gives a nice nod to the entire series in the form of collector cards, which also come with game-play bonuses.

Gun-play is where the game is at its best. Shooting while strafing at multiple enemies, flipping over gunfire and generally wreaking havoc is a lot of fun, but there are also a few clank moments scattered throughout the story with puzzle solving elements that help mix up the game-play. Add to that gadget based mini-games, 2 hover-board races and you have a game with quite a bit of variety despite being a rebooted game from 14 year ago.

'Ratchet and Clank' is one of my favourite gaming series, and this addition does not disappoint. I would rank it as the 2nd best 'Ratchet and Clank' game ever with 'A Crack in Time' on PS3 still holding the top spot. My only gripe would be the strong rubber-banding mechanic in the hover board races, which makes for some frustrating races. Aside from that, this graphically delicious reboot shoots all the marks.


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