Ratchet & Clank: Review

In an era that’s seen plenty of “remastered” editions of games, many expected this one to be precisely that: an upscaled and somewhat tidier version of the previous games.  It would’ve been easy to cash in on that nostalgia and sell people something that they’d already played more than a decade prior, but Insomniac resisted the quick and easy path and delivered a wonderful, gorgeous experience that is a remake instead of a remaster.

This title is part game, part movie tie-in, but completely fun and imaginative.  Fans of the original franchise will feel right at home as the core of the game has remained almost exactly the same: a platforming shoot-em-up that takes place on distant and exotic worlds.  There are some pretty significant and welcome changes to this version, however, so let’s get right into it.

Gameplay


snaggbeastAs I’ve already said, the core of this game is untouched and will welcome back veterans of the series while also still remaining incredibly accessible to newcomers alike.  As Ratchet, you go on a galaxy spanning adventure along with the help of your newly formed friendship from Clank.

 

One of the more significant upgrades to the original base game is the inclusion of the weapon upgrade system from later titles.  As you play, you’ll collect parts that you can use to improve the various weapons in your arsenal.  Things you can improve include fire rate, reload speed and the amount of ammo you’re allowed to carry.  Additionally, there are mystery nodes that only reveal what they are when surrounding nodes are unlocked via purchase.  This allows you to make the weapon incredibly powerful, and upgrades carry over via the New Game + system.

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Everything else?  Well, it’s exactly as you remember it, minus a few changes.  If you were ever a fan of this franchise and enjoyed the gameplay systems at the core of those titles, you’re going to have a blast with this one.

Visuals


It’s basically impossible to discuss or review this game without mentioning the stellar visuals that Insomniac has put into place here.  While the world does have a cartoonish aesthetic, don’t let that trick you into thinking it isn’t an absolute treat for the eyes.  The shear number of things going on on the screen at once during a large fight was pretty amazing, and the weapon effects were enjoyable and added a unique bit of personality to the combat.

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Environments are rendered in very careful detail, with a much more subtle pop and flair visually.  Everything looks as it should, and you can almost detect the artist’s restrained glee at having such a wonderful toolkit with which to work.  There really isn’t much more to say than that, as this game is a visual feast.

Final Thoughts


Given how much this franchise doubtless meant to many of you in the past, this one really is a no-brainer.  While adopting a healthy portion of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, Insomniac also managed to inject precisely enough fresh ideas to make this feel like a brand new experience.

It’s rare that I recommend a game for simply being “fun”, but this will be one of those cases.  And the $40 price tag makes it all the easier.