RATCHET AND CLANK
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on April 25, 2016
April 2016 sees the return of one of gaming's most beloved duo's; yes, Ratchet and Clank are back! This year, the furry Lombax and his metallic companion are called upon to save the world once again. And of course, the rest of the gang is also here: Captain Qwark, Cora, Chairman Drek, Big Al and, of course, Dr. Nefarious. The game is a broad reimagining of the first Ratchet and Clank and a tie-in with the eponymous movie. So, how good is this game? Well, let's have a look!
As we start our adventure, we witness a prisoner, Shiv Helix, being transported to his cell. His roommate, to Shiv's delight, turns out to be the always over-confident and somewhat dim-witted Captain Qwark. Seeing as how Shiv has always been a great admirer of the Captain, he desperately wants to hear about the Captain's side of the story about how he got imprisoned in the first place. The Captain, never backing away from a chance to talk about himself, starts to tell his tale of woe (and exaggerates the stuff that makes him look good). This is where our game begins...
On the planet Veltin, we meet Ratchet; a young Lombax mechanic whose lifelong dream is to join the Galactic Rangers, lead by the famous Captain Qwark. One day, he gets the chance to prove himself when the Rangers organize Ranger tryouts on his home planet. After surviving the deadly obstacle course, Ratchet is told by Captain Qwark that he just doesn't have what it takes to be a Ranger and is sent away. Disillusioned, he returns home, his dreams shattered. At the same time, in the warbot factory of Chairman Drek on the planet Quartu, a production error occurs, which leads to the manufacturing of a small, defect warbot. The Chairman doesn't take kindly to mistakes and sends his most trusted Warbot, general Victor von Ion, to destroy the defect bot. The small robot, however, manages to escape in a starship, but not before said ship is hit by a blast from Victor von Ion's weapon.
After being rejected, Ratchet doesn't want to return home and sits sulking on a billboard, looking at the starts. All of a sudden, he sees a small craft hurtling towards the earth and crash into the ground over the horizon. He quickly hops on his hover-bike and sets out to investigate. When he arrives at the crash-site, he finds the small (and now even more defect) robot, who tells him he has valuable information that must be delivered to the Galactic Rangers. Alas, as a result of the crash, he has sustained considerable damage and is unable to travel any further. Ratchet then offers to take him home to the garage, fix his broken leg and accompany him on his journey to the Galactic Rangers. Because of the sound the little damaged robot makes while trying to walk, Ratchet names him Clank, and a new partnership is born. The rest, as they say, is history!
It's always fun to see a classic game being remade, especially if it's done right! Ratchet and Clank uses the original gameplay mechanics and is still a action-packed platforming game. Visually though, the difference between 2002's PS2 version and the new PS4 version couldn't be bigger. Brand new character models and environments make Ratchet and Clank look absolutely gorgeous, while at the same time making it handle like a dream. It is everything one might expect from a current-gen title, without losing touch with the original game. You still collect nuts and bolts by destroying objects and enemies, which can be used as currency to buy new weapons.The rare element Raritanium also makes its appearance in this game; it is used to upgrade your weapons from any vendor station you may come across.
To defeat your enemies, Ratchet makes use of a number of weapons; First and foremost, he can use his trusty Omni-Wrench to smash enemies into tiny pieces. He also uses an array of ranged weapons that fire blasts or explosive charges, effectively reducing any enemy to a pile of rubble. My absolute favorite weapon is the Bouncer, a gun that fires fragmentation grenades that split into smaller grenades on impact. Each of these smaller grenades seek out the nearest enemy and explode upon contact. This weapon is ideal for facing large groups of enemies; just fire once and let t he grenades do their thing! As mentioned before, every weapon in your arsenal can be upgraded, using Raritanium. This is done by unlocking tiles around your weapon in the weapon upgrade menu. Each tile represents an attribute of that weapon. So you can extend the blast range, increase damage, increase ammo capacity, on so on, and so on. This gives you the opportunity to make your favorite weapon even stronger than before and make your life a bit easier.
Ratchet and Clank's universe is vast; every planet has its own objectives and side-missions. The environments look fantastic and the characters you meet are nothing short of hilarious at times. The fact that the story is told by Captain Qwark makes things even more fun. This latest entry in the Ratchet and Clank series is certainly the best yet, no matter how you look at it. It looks better, it sounds better, it handles better; what more could you possibly want?! It's true to the original game, but is not afraid of fresh ideas. Because although this is a reimagining of the very first Ratchet and Clank game, the developers at Insomniac Games have chosen to also use elements from later games in the series. Some weapons were never in the original game, but are added for fun. Weapon upgrading, health upgrading and strafing are also added to the game this time around. They even added a brand new weapon to your arsenal: The Pixelator. This weapon does exactly what its name suggests; it turns enemies into 8-bit pixilated versions of themselves. These extra elements give the game a more contemporary feel, without detracting from the original premise. Way to go, Insomniac Games; this is exactly how you make a classic game even better!
Ratchet and Clank is an intergalactic, humor-filled, gun-toting rollercoaster you will definitely not want to miss! Everything we loved about earlier games in the series is there, with the addition of new ideas and fantastic graphics. As far as gameplay is concerned; it's just like slipping into your favorite pair of sneakers (or whatever it is you're wearing these days). And that, my friends, is the great thing about really good games; they never go out of style! So, if there's nothing more that you need from me, I will be off; I've got me a galaxy to save!