Reviews// Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

Posted 29 Oct 2007 00:01 by
Question: what do you get when you cross Star Wars, Sonic the Hedgehog, a Disney Pixar movie and a high-tech backpack that talks?

Answer: Ratchet and Clank ? that?s what or who...

Insomniac Games' cuddly platform-action-shooter is finally set for its next-gen release, marking the developer?s second outing for the PlayStation 3 (the first being the controversial Resistance: Fall of Man). Enter plenty of running, jumping, shooting, cartoony fun; the occasional outraged string of expletives not suitable for the younger audience it's aimed at abound. From the player, that is, not the game. Or the children it's aimed at. We hope.

Ratchet and Clank, if you're not familiar with the series, stars a Lovable Lombax (Ratchet) and his robot sidekick (Clank). The series is marked by colourful 3D platforming, a bizarre and entertaining array of weapons/ways to kill things and a twisting plot littered with kid-friendly cut-scenes.

The good news for Ratchet and Clank veterans is that the classic elements are all still in Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction. ALL OF THEM. Your kids are going to love it. If you have an inner child lurking somewhere beneath the cynical undergrowth of your shoot-'em-up-fed subconscious, you'll probably love it too.

This time the action's personal: Ratchet, alas, is something of an orphan to this universe. Like a certain superhero rocketed from his dying planet, Ratchet has no biological family to call his own, nor does he know from whence he came. Not even the little robot that constantly hangs out on his back can ease that kind of loneliness, apparently (although when I finally get my robot buddy I intend never to be without a drinking pal. Robots can still get drunk, can't they? And loneliness is the absence of someone to get drunk with, isn't it?)

If that wasn't bad enough, a nasty sort going by the name of Emperor Percival Tachyon has a bit of a hard mad-on for the Lombax history too. In fact, he's out to destroy the universe's last remaining Lombax. That's you, Ratchet. Tachyon also reckons that an ancient weapon dubbed the ?Lombax Secret? might have a good chance of doing him some harm, and he ain't happy.

So, as you might expect, a nefarious horde of nasties are on the case. You don't get to call yourself 'Emperor' without having an army of ugly bastards at your disposal, after all.

It's been somewhere in the region of a year since I last picked up a controller to play a Ratchet and Clank game on the PlayStation 2. But within all of about 30 seconds I was comfortably handling the long-eared Lombax like I'd never been away. Make of that what you will, but personally I found the familiarity comforting. Like a warm blanket and a bottle of a generic flavoured-milk drink (not one from a Swiss-based manufacturer) topped up with Maker's Mark.
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