Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: 10/23/2007
Available Exclusively On
The dynamic duo that debuted on the PS2 nine years ago is now back in next-generation action with new weapons, updated graphics, and the same awesome stories and dialog you would expect from the series. Future sees the duo fighting an ancient race known as the Cragmites that Ratchet’s lombax ancestors supposedly destroyed. Ratchet learns more about his ancestor’s dark past and must stop the evil Emperor Tachyon before he annihilates the last of the lombax race: Ratchet.
The game hasn’t changed in the past nine years and this is both good and bad. The tried and true action platforming formula that revolutionized the platforming genre is still intact here, but with no upgrades. Ratchet can jump around, hover, glide, fly, roll, and shoot his way through hordes of enemies. The game is also a third-person shooter that allows strafing from side to side and a first-person mode. You have to go around worlds finding certain gadgets and weapons to kill bigger badder enemies and unlock areas. Gadgets range from the classic Slingshot and Gravity/Grind Boots to the new Geo-Laser (that uses the SixAxis to guide it), the Hover Wings (also uses SixAxis), and more. Weapons include the Combuster, Shard Repeater, Tornado Launcher (that uses SixAxis to guide the tornadoes), Death Springs, Predator Missile, and more. There are some defensive weapons like the awesome Grovatron which shoot out the disco ball and make the enemies dance. The Morph gun turns enemies into penguins while the Gelenator uses a green jello goop that lets you jump to higher areas in certain levels. All the weapons are original, creative, and really fun to use. Some enemies are weaker than other weapons which make weapons gained at the beginning useless towards the end so there are balancing issues.
Weapons can be upgraded automatically from the use or you can do it yourself by collecting Raritanium and upgrading at weapon stations. You can also buy new weapons as well as armor, and gadgets like Leech Bombs. Buying items in the game require nuts and bolts that are collected from killing enemies or breaking open boxes. There are also some ammo boxes spread throughout the level so keep an eye out for those. There are also life boxes that you can collect, but these tend to be rare thanks to the game’s high difficulty. Yeah, the game is really hard because not only are the bosses hard but later on, in the game, few hits will kill you even if your health is past the 200 range. I found this very frustrating plus no matter how much you upgrade your weapons you never feel like they’re powerful enough which leads to ammo issues. This is a huge downfall in the game, and I hope the new game fixes this problem.
If you really love just killing enemies you can go into the infamous gladiator stages and earn yourself some serious bolts by beating waves of enemies with certain instructions. These can range from only using your wrench, weapons switching automatically, to even boss fight tag teams. Some people are probably wondering about Clank. Well, he gets his own upgraded and improved levels using the mysterious Zoni as his helpers instead of the little robot Clanks. You can levitate across gaps, order them to repair things, and the newest addition is slowing downtime. Clank’s sections haven’t been updated too much, but it’s enough to keep you from getting bored. You can also collect gold bolts and unlock skill points to buy some costumes in the extras menu, but they aren’t that great so only hardcore fans should indulge.
Another side note that I have to mention is that the game uses the SixAxis really well from diving from the sky to use the weapons, to even shaking your booty in a pirate dancing mini-game…yeah only in Ratchet & Clank. One of my favorite mini-games is the new “tilt-the-ball” type hacking game which has a spark running from circuits and you have to tilt the controller to guide a metal ball to connect the gaps so the spark can reach its node. The game throws a lot of new stuff at you at a good rate so this keeps you from getting bored. I just wish that the game wasn’t so hard so it could be more enjoyable. What makes the game even harder is the checkpoints are far and few in between. You can finish half a level than have to start over from the beginning: Not good.
If you think Future suffers from a lot of problems it does. The huge difficulty problem, poor balancing, and not-so-next-gen graphics make you really consider this for purchase, but with a super funny story, loveable characters, and great weapons it makes up for all those shortcomings. The Groovitron alone is worth the play-through.