Nostalgia is a powerful thing. We all have fond memories of things from our past that have been coloured and warped by the passage of time. I went in to the Ratchet & Clank remaster making an effort to suppress my memories of the original, not wanting them to skew my impressions. This proved impossible as many of the characters like to remind you that you are, in fact, playing a remaster.
Let us get the obvious things out of the way - the game is utterly gorgeous. Every model, texture, animation and particle effect oozes polish and quality. If I hadn't just finished another game that I shall not name but you can probably guess*, I would happily call this the best looking game on console. But for now at least it is a very close second.
*(Hint: the game I'm talking about is the fourth in its respective franchise).
Graphically the game is almost like playing through a Pixar film. The cutscenes are apparently taken directly from the film (which apparently needed a game to flesh it out and ended up not being that great, oops) but they blend remarkably well with the playable sections of the game. Sound design is crisp and satisfying, same with the music, although I have a feeling these are the least changed things from the original, but that could be my nostalgia gland talking.
So, what is it about? Ratchet, a Lombax, longs for adventure and wishes to join the Galactic Rangers, but is stuck on his backwater world. Out of the night sky an escape pod plummets to the ground. Inside a defective warbot who Ratchet calls Clank is hiding. This little robot was made to take part in an upcoming invasion, but not only was he made diminutive, but he also has a conscience. This led him to escape and now the two of them set off to get word to the Galactic Rangers. Along the way they get into other adventures and even end up taking part in a hoverboarding racing event.
As they go from planet to planet they foil the evil Blarg's dastardly plans one by one and manage to balance comedy with a really well fleshed-out science fiction universe. Part of this universe involves the creation of ridiculous weaponry, which is what the series (and the developer) came to be known for. Each weapon is completely unique. You start off with The Combuster, which is a basic pistol, but before long you end up with something called The Pixellator. This weapon turns your enemies into sprite versions of themselves that explode in a shower of pixels... You may also get a gun called The Sheepinator. I shall leave its effects up to your imagination.
Platforming is another thing that is left mostly unchanged since the original and it shows. There are a number of times when you'll feel like you're fighting the controls, or left scratching your head because a jump didn't go as it should, but for the majority of the game it is more than serviceable even if it could have used further tuning.
My one major complaint has to be levelled at the flying sections. The camera's movement method changes significantly from the main game and it took me a few minutes of fighting it to realise that the axis needed swapping around. Even then, these sections feel cumbersome and at odds with the rest of the game. I would have preferred to be given a fun cut-scene instead of the overlong flight sections.
Before I wrap this up a couple of quick nods to improvements over the original - the weapon upgrade system is rewarding and moulds itself to your playstyle, providing you don't dump your upgrades in to a weapon you only use once. Collectible cards (which i don't remember being in the original) are a nice touch and fit with the tone of the game and, finally, the Hoverboard races are as annoying as ever, but I still can't stop playing them.
Ratchet & Clank
is fun, easy to play platformer/shooter mix that is absolutely gorgeous that I highly recommend to both newcomers to the franchise and those who loved the original. I had thought the Ratchet & Clank
franchise dead in the water, but after this I would welcome further games of this calibre.
+ Easy to pick and enjoy
+ Fun sci-fi action and story
+ One of the best looking games on any platform
+ The Sheepinator...
- Those flying sections.
SPOnG Score: 8/10