It feels like a lifetime ago when I sat down in my parents living room and played the original Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 2. Like all fond memories, I remember the game to be excellent in every way imaginable. I remember laughing at the one liners, grinning as I smashed anything and everything, collecting bolts and ammo. The combat was tight and the difficulty of bosses and collecting gold bolts, spot on. So when I fired up my PlayStation 4 and launched into Insomniacs remake of their classic 2002 game, I expected to experience the same sensation and glee. I’m happy to report, it not only met my lofty expectations, but exceeded them as well.
Fans of the series will appreciate the effort Insomniac have put into developing this game from the ground up. Boasting gorgeous in-game and cinematic graphics, even more wacky weaponry and the addition of cards to collect, it’s easy to want to keep playing the game after you beat the final boss.
Now for my personal thoughts and experience with the game.
I set out to play this from start to finish only, I had no intent to collect every card, or find every gold bolt or bother with upgrading all of the many weapons. I expected the game to be fun, but also thought that perhaps the initial explosion of nostalgia would subside and I would be left with a task of completing a game I already finished 14 years ago. 15 minutes … that’s all it took for me to feel the nostalgia leave, only to be replaced with a feeling of excitement as I played through something that somehow retained all the magic of the original series, but improved on it in almost every way imaginable.
I played the game on normal difficulty and found the majority of it to be very easy. I did come across certain sections, like escaping the rising water level on Rilgar, and beating the main boss on Quartu, which required more than a few attempts to best. To be honest, it wasn’t the main story which hooked me, instead it was the smaller aspects of the game. Things like using my Trespasser to solve puzzles, collecting the scattered card packs hidden on each planet and the two hoverboard races on Rilgar and Kalebo. I found these aspects, along with the time spent controlling Clank as perfect breaks between the constant running and gunning. As a creature of habit I tend to not bother with trying every weapon available in a game, so the games weapon upgrade system encouraged me to use each and slowly level them to nab another trophy.
I would hardly call myself a trophy hunter, but like a lot of people, when one of those shiny little suckers are within grasp, I’ll take the leap. The trophy list for Ratchet & Clank will require a bit of time to be invested, including some preparation work as a few are missable. After I finished my first playthrough I decided to mop up the games collectables prior to restarting on Challenge mode. After an hour or so of travelling to each planet I finally had 27/28 gold bolts, I set off to Gaspar to collect the last remaining bolt and with it, eternal glory … well a trophy at least. Using my jet pack I soared across the map, toward the last remaining bolt. You can imagine my frustration to find the bolt floating as expected, but having Ratchet simply pass through it. I had found a glitch which in this case would stop me from collecting an item linked to a trophy. Frustrating to say the least.
Other than a few minor glitches and some frame-rate dropping, during graphically demanding sections, the game is excellent. The story is fun and mixes it up enough to feel fresh. The weapons and upgrade system feel engaging, diverse and its rewarding using and levelling them. Collecting the card packs and trading duplicates to complete sets is a welcome addition. Collecting all the Ryno cards will see you rewarded with a weapon and will get you one step closer to another trophy.
For platformer experts be sure to tackle this game on hard difficulty, anything less will pose little challenge. Anyone looking to enjoy the storyline and collect all the trophies I would recommend skipping easy and instead play on normal difficulty. Trophy hunters take note, there are a few missable ones so be sure to do some research and explore the grind rail in Kalebo to find something which will make locating collectables on the map a easier.
In summary, Insomniac have succeeded in crafting a fantastic reboot for the Ratchet & Clank series. A memorable experience in its own right and a game that in this reviewers opinion, is the best fun you’ll have on the PlayStation 4 to date.
Ratchet & Clank releases April 20 on PS4. This review was completed with a copy supplied by the publisher.