Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: 04/12/2016
Available Exclusively On
Ratchet & Clank was a series I never got into growing up. My youngest sister was a diehard R&C fan and played every game as they came out, but they seemed “kiddie” for me at the time. While I knew they were good they seemed too easy and straightforward. Fast forward nearly twenty years later and I wish I had played them. R&C is a complete “from the ground up” a remake of the first game with fancy next-generation visuals and polish. If you didn’t know anything about the series you would think this was a brand new series. I say brand new as this isn’t just a 1:1 remake, but a complete redo of the first game. Characters were added and taken away, Quark’s story is redone, and so is the entire story. A couple of enemies are missing and even a couple of levels. However, what’s left looks amazing and is still a blast to play.
You play as Ratchet and Clank. Ratchet is a Lombax obsessed with glory and Clank is a defective robot that escapes Dr. Nefarious’ factory. Together you gather weapons and explore planets to help the Galactic Rangers and Quark take down Chairman Drek and Dr. Nefarious’ planet-killing device. The story is simple and not very memorable, but the characters are and they were iconic staples back in the day. Quark is a dimwitted superhero and all the other characters have sharp and witty writing. You will definitely chuckle a few times throughout. The character and enemies are well designed with fun animations and lots of variety on each planet. Most of the game is mostly just completing objectives in linear levels and then moving to the next one. There are a few planets with optional objectives such as a trading card collecting game, collecting 90 brains, and exploring certain parts of levels. These will award the player with new gadgets, weapons, and of course, trophies.
Shooting in the game is fun and one of the series’ unique mainstays. The weapons are what make R&C so unique and stand out among other shooters outside of the tame presentation. The Groovitron is a weapon that shoots disco balls and makes the enemies dance so you can get some breathing room. The Pixelater (my favorite weapon) turns the enemies into 8-bit sprites for a short time and acts as a shotgun. Mr. Zurkon is a shield and satellite weapon, the Glove of Doom releases a bunch of angry robots, and the Photon Drum is a bomb that pulses and causes damage. While the weapons are cool I did find them unbalanced. I felt there were too many of them and a lot just never saw any use such as the Sheepinator and various others. I wanted more weapons that shot projectiles that weren’t just missiles, maybe more rapid fire, and more close-quarter weapons. While these weapons are cool and unique I just didn’t find many uses for many of them.
You can buy new weapons as the Gadgetron vendors and upgrade weapons with Raritanium. Upgrading is a must for getting max damage, more ammo, and extra bonuses. I recommend you upgrade all the weapons you mainly use first as one play-through will let you upgrade maybe 2-3 weapons to 100%. Outside of weapons, there are a few passive gadgets that let you progress through levels such as the Trespasser which involves solving puzzles that can get rather tricky. There are a few hoverboard race sections, and of course, you need to acquire bolts in the game by smashing boxes, defeating enemies, and completing objectives. I do want to mention one aspect of R&C that’s fun and unique is seeing hundreds of bolts on screen fly around as enemies explode and boxes blow up and going around and collecting all of these. It’s something in the game I’ve always thought was fun.
Despite the simple design of the game it never gets boring. Each planet is beautifully crafted and a huge graphical upgrade over the first game. There’s just so much more detail two console generations later that couldn’t be done before. Each level is completely different and all have great pacing. You will never get bored or tired of playing at all. If you really want to keep going you can collect all 28 gold bolts and all the trading cards in the game. Don’t worry, towards the end of the game you can get a Map-O-Matic that displays all collectibles on every level. It can add a good 5 more hours of fun if you want.
Overall, Ratchet & Clank is a fine remake of the first game, and only diehard fans will notice the changes to the story and characters and missing levels. The game is unique and helped define the PS2 and has that PlayStation DNA that stands up today. It’s a fantastic series and I hope future games get remade in the same fashion in the future. The game is a bit on the easy side and only offers a challenge during the boss fights, but it’s a fun dozen hours that you can’t get on any other system.