While I love the Ratchet and Clank games as a franchise I have a mixed reception to the games themselves, I’ll admit to seriously hating the original game and therein lay a question in my books. Given my dislike for the original how would a remake or reboot or whatever this game actually is sit? I admit I hoped for the best as I played this and I had a great time but the game suffers from to many limitations and frustrations to ever truly shine.
Admittedly while I hated the game this was based on I don’t actually hate this particular version, it feels familiar yes but changes enough to feel truly refreshing and original. Slight in-jokes are amusing to the game as it explores the series past and Ratchet and Clank features many of the improvements made to the series since its original conception, however it is some of the changes and decisions made with this game that holds it back and makes it forgettable.
The story of Ratchet and Clank may sound familiar and this is because it is, it draws heavily from the original game for understandable reasons. Ratchet is a mechanic living on planet Veldin with dreams of being a hero, soon fate intervenes when Ratchet’s soon to be sidekick Clank escapes the base of the evil chairman Drek. Clank winds up crash landing on Veldin where Ratchet finds him and soon the pair end up on a journey to save the galaxy from Drek’s plans enlisting the help of the galactic rangers.
For this game the story has seen alterations to tie in with the nature of this reboot/remake, for one the story more heavily features Captain Quark and shows more of the Galactic rangers and their goal to save the galaxy. This component has a major purpose in the story in terms of the war and thankfully does not leave us as the lone hero. On the whole though while the story is really nothing special it is enjoyable for the most part and does provide many great moments, at least until a certain point.
Ratchet and Clank is a prime example of how a bad ending can almost ruin an entire game and this is honestly how I felt a good portion of the time. I admit to having fun with the game but that was until I reached the games conclusion, for reasons of spoilers I won’t go into details but part of my problem exists because Insomniac pulls a Legend of Zelda on us towards the games conclusion. This in turn led me to feeling unsatisfied with the game overall and to me because of everything it all just felt forced, this is part of the reason I say the game is forgettable but this is not the issue I had with the game.
The game runs for a steady twelve hours at best and during most of this time the game is an absolute blast, but it was I realized as I was at the games end when things just fell apart. Beyond the games ending the game just felt short to me and certain events felt unfinished, it led me to feel short changed by the events of the story and like they could have done more and offered a more complete experience. Part of this I blame on the games reason for existing the movie, while typically I would not complain about how a movie affects a game for this particular one it is inexcusable. I felt the games ties to the movie really restricted the creative focus and limited the game to being more generic then it should have been further leading to my unsatisfied feeling.
However the game does still have points in its favor such as the series iconic humor, while this game does not hit the high levels of previous games there are still many funny moments and great jokes. A particular highlight for me was an in-joke that reflected upon the games status as a reboot which was amusing, likewise there were many other great jokes throughout such as with the occasional narration and the random characters, Ratchet and Clank are also hilarious themselves which just adds to the overall adventure of the game.
This game is absolutely beautiful, it is clear Insomniac took great care when they developed Ratchet and Clank for the Playstation 4, it is also evident that they rebuilt this adventure from scratch. While I have often drawn similarities between this game and the original it is clear how much work has gone into rebuilding these worlds, the amount of small details that have been developed into familiar location brings joy with every new planet I visited.
Besides this it is just the small details that truly show how well this game shines, from the light that reflects stunningly off the varying surfaces from Clank, to water and even more beautifully off ships. This is also without considering the intense action and destruction of combat sequences as we see robots and other enemies fall apart. These small touches are part of the allure of this game and made it easy for me to lose a good portion of time just panning over the world that lay before me, it can be considered a distraction but one I greatly appreciated and acted as one of the games finest moments.
Ratchet and Clank features some of the best weapons in the game industry, this is something that Insomniac has shown a great ability for many times in the past throughout Sunset Overdrive and of course the Ratchet and Clank series as a whole. This series brings many hilarious and silly weapons that lead to amusing results, it is seriously the signature style that makes these games all the better and Ratchet and Clank does not disappoint.
While the game does bring its handful of generic weaponry it also brings some of the best weapons I have seen in the franchise. A personal favorite weapon of mine was the Groovitron and it is simply because the weapon was extremely funny, when this weapon was used it shot out a disco ball and enemies caught in its radius would begin dancing. You have not lived until you have watched a tank start dancing, and it never got dull the further I progressed into the game as it maintained the same level of hilarity. In addition there is also the Pixeliser, when this weapon is used it turns enemies into a pixelated version of themselves which is even funnier when you smack them with your wrench and they fall apart. Beyond this there were many other great weapons such as the attitude driven Mr Zurkon and the classic of Agents of Doom who were constantly brilliant.
Weapons have become even better in this game however, being able to modify weapons is nothing new to the franchise you just have to look at the original trilogy to acknowledge this. However this particular entry in the Ratchet and Clank franchise takes things a step further that really improved everything. This game takes the advancements of the franchise and pushes them a step further, with every level your weapon acquired you gain more options for modifications which can be purchased at a vendor. Each weapon comes with its own upgrade tree which increases different abilities such as the blast radius of specific weaponry, or the fire rate of a particular weapon. Then there is often more random effects such as higher probability for item drops, all of these add a more personal feeling to the weaponry of the game and allowed me to grow more attached to each gun. The emphasis on the upgrade system is a great part of the game, and really forced me to want to see how I could grow my weapons more with the varying unlockable enhancements.
The game does have further problems that lean further then the story, Ratchet and Clank is a very linear game that features rare instances that encourage you to go back to previous planets. These moments are encouraged when you receive new items that can be used on past planets to attain additional hidden items such as gold bolts, however this extends into two problems one is that the payoff is underwhelming, and two is planets themselves. While there is a certain satisfaction in collecting everything you can, the game offers little incentive and payoff for your hard work which is a little disheartening.
Secondly it is unfortunate to visit planets again, while they initially have a war vibe about them and are drowned in enemies, in revisiting levels this same satisfaction fails to exist. When you return to a planet you are only given the weakest variety of enemies to face and these are rare in themselves, basically all you do in wander through a desolate planet that lacks any real excitement. This is more concerning due to the nature of previous games which allowed you to revisit levels and enemies would all be around ready to fight. In turn this left me feeling disappointed when I attempted to expand my playtime by revisiting past levels, this all contributes to some of my issues with the game and really affected my overall enjoyment.
All things considered this reboot/remake of Ratchet and Clank is a mixed bag, while it features some great ideas and the series staple humor there are other factors that hold it back. This game is really forgettable overall and this falls into place because of the overall poor and generic story and the weakness of the games ending. It may be fun for the most part and really funny but Ratchet and Clank is held back by its story that could have used some work, the games length, and the world itself which felt lacking. I really hoped for the best with Ratchet and Clank but this Playstation 4 debut is underwhelming and I felt like it was weighed down by its movie component. There is fun to be had here and it is seriously better than the game it is based on, but its limitations are noticeable and leave little lasting appeal and replay value.