By Andrew Street
Social Media Editor
The era of the Mascot 3D platformer genre fell off rather quickly when the sixth generation consoles were replaced by newer hardware. The likes of “Crash Bandicoot,” “Sly Cooper” and “Jak & Daxter,” where players control a protagonist from a third-person perspective, seemed to fade into the past as new trends took center stage. Despite that, Insomniac Games maintained consistency in delivering its hybrid shooter and platformer, “Ratchet and Clank.” The series saw highs and lows, then disappeared toward the end of the PlayStation 3’s lifecycle. Now, after a three-year hiatus, Insomniac has returned to “Ratchet and Clank” with a complete reimagining of the original game.
The game follows Ratchet, a bipedal, humanoid species — or, a lombax — and his newly acquired robot friend, Clank, as they travel the galaxy, fending off evil. Fans of the series will be able to draw similarities to the original title, but this isn’t a beat-for-beat retelling of the famed story. Instead, the story mixes old and new planets and story arcs to create a much deeper space adventure. The narrative here certainly isn’t breaking any barriers, but it offers one of the most clever, charming and laugh-out-loud inducing stories of the year. Both long-time fans and newcomers will be welcomed into the tale of two unlikely friends being thrust into a world of danger and crime fighting.
“Ratchet and Clank’s” gameplay has been refined to the point of perfection. The platforming is smooth, while the gunplay is satisfying and downright fun. Players will amass themselves an arsenal of 15 different weapons throughout the game, each one offering an over-the-top method in which to blow enemies away. From things like the “Groovitron” to the “Sheepinator,” the weapons bring an immense feeling of variety. In addition to the platforming and shooting, there are now spaceship flying segments scattered throughout the game. These portions allow you to freely fly around and take down enemy aircrafts, which adds even more variety to the base gameplay.
If there is one thing that falls short in the gameplay department, it’s the Clank segments. Playing as Clank is novel the first time, but it soon declines into a repetitive cycle. Clank’s puzzles quickly become short and annoying distractions from the oh-so-delightful gameplay. Luckily, there aren’t many of them.
Visually, “Ratchet and Clank” is one of PlayStation 4’s prettiest games. The dynamic lighting, particle effects and art design make this game look like a Pixar movie. The color pallet is gorgeously vibrant and each planet offers a lush landscape filled with colorful enemies. As a longtime fan, seeing my favorite lombax and his galaxy realized in such a visually-stunning manner was amazing.
When it comes down to it, “Ratchet and Clank’s” PlayStation 4 debut is something you don’t want to miss. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer, this game was made to satisfy both without any sacrifices. Shooting, collecting and platforming is just pure, addictive fun. “Ratchet and Clank” has never looked or played this good. It also runs about $20 cheaper than the average AAA release, a classification term for high-quality video games — so do yourself a favor and play this entertaining game.