That New, Old Feeling – Ratchet and Clank (2016) Review

True to it’s marketing campaign, Ratchet and Clank (PS4) is a game based on the movie based on the original game – Ratchet and Clank (2002). I have not seen the movie, but I am aware that the movie changed many aspects of the Ratchet and Clank origins story, and as such, the game plays like more of a reboot than a graphics remaster.

Major story spoilers follow, Reader discretion is advised.

The game starts the player on planet Veldin, much like the first game. However this time around, Ratchet works in a garage for a man named Grim. Grim pays a very minor role in the story, but here he is anyways. We are informed that Ratchet wants to become a Galactic Ranger, joining the ranks of Captain Qwark, joining the ranks of Cora and Brax, two nobodies who get very little screen time and even less development. This is obviously the first biggest change to the story, as in the original, Ratchet merely sought adventure, and the Galactic Rangers didn’t exist until the third game in the series, Up your arsenal.

The antagonists remain mostly the same, Chairman Drek wishes to create a new planet, and he has Qwark working for him (This time due to his jealousy of Ratchet, rather than to reignite his dwindling flame like in the first game). Something I was surprised about is big change number 2, is the inclusion of an organic Dr Nefarious, who apparently was once a Galactic Ranger (I don’t remember this being mentioned in game, but does explain some later plot details) which ultimately leads to the unexpected betrayal and turning Drek into a sheep. As for Victor Von Ion, Drek’s Warbot bodyguard, he exists purely as a cheap excuse to give Clank a villain.

Speaking of Clank, Rachet and Clank hit it off instantly, long gone is the septical Ratchet of the first game. Albeit the betrayal at the hands of Qwark isn’t quite the same in this game, so the falling out now lacks a catalyst, but it has upset some fans.

The story is actually narrated by Qwark, recounting the adventure to a fellow prisoner post the events of the game. It’s a cool little twist, but don’t expect massive changes to the story, like you may have saw in the Tiny Tina Borderlands 2 DLC.

Ultimately, having to adapt the story from a two hour movie explains the shortcomings of the plot.

Major Story Spoilers over, general game discussion follows

 

The game itself looks gorgeous, with any people comparing it to a Pixar movie, which i can attest to. In fact, the graphical fidelity mixed with the art style took a little getting used to at the start of the game, but my eyes quickly adjusted.

Planets from the original game have either been updated or removed entirely. The game feels a good bit shorter than the original one because of this. Length wise, I put the game as longer than Nexus but shorter than Tools of Destruction. The lack of planets is made up for however, as some planets are now double the size, and some existing planets have been changed entirely, feeling like brand new planets. Each is fun to explore, with one even aping the leviathan hunting from Nexus. It’s a shame that the first arena didn’t appear until the series’ second game, Locked and Loaded, but we can’t have everything.

Possibly the most important part of Ratchet and Clank is the weapons, and there’s a decent amount here, and a good variety. There is two new additions, The Pixeliser, a fun shotgun like weapon that turns enemies into 8 bit blocks and Proton Drum, a fairly standard grenade type weapon. The majority of the weapons come from the franchise’s Future arc of games, with classics like the Groovitron and Mr Zurkon returning. One of the returning weapons was The Bouncer, which was locked behind a pre order bonus. The weapons are all fun but nothing we haven’t used before, which is a shame because the series is renowned for its cool weapons.

The biggest addition to the game come in the form of Holo-Cards, an in game collectable. By killing enemies and finding them in the environment, players can cards. These cards come in sets of three, and feature art of characters, weapons, locations etc from the original continuity. Finding three from a set grants a small bonus, like 5% extra bolts. Finding sets of weapons allows those weapons to be bought in their omega variants in challenge mode, which invites players to explore and progress into the games more difficult mode. Ryno plans also come in this form, collecting all 9 will net the player a Ryno (No spoilers, but sadly it is not a new Ryno, instead a returning version).

What Insomniac plan on doing from this point is anyone’s guess. An in game tease toward Locked and Loaded’s protopets suggest a sequel, a reimagining of the series’ second game, is coming. The game also mentions various locations from the Future series, this may be because these worlds exist now whereas they didn’t during the original release, or maybe the Future games will have an official tie up, maybe even one that explains the reboot. Who knows.

 

CONCLUSION 

For a movie tie in game, it’s pretty good. For a reimagining of the original game, it is also a little good. Sadly these two elements didn’t mesh as well as they could have done. While the experience is there, and the gameplay stellar, the story has it’s hiccups.
IF I HAD TO GIVE IT A RATING – 7.5/10

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