A lombax and a robot walk into a bar to see themselves have a game that’s based on the movie that’s based on the more than a decade old game. While it may sound like a joke this is the state of the new Ratchet and Clank game in 2016. The game has the last laugh though as Ratchet and Clank on PlayStation 4 is one of the best experiences I’ve had this whole generation.
So how did we come to a place when a game that’s foundation is set in 2002 brings with it some of the best gameplay and visuals on PlayStation 4. It all comes down to the incredible developers at Insomniac Games. Not only did they create a template that felt ahead of its time in its original release but have tweaked it to match with contemporary standards.
If you played the original PlayStation 2 version then you will see a lot of familiar locations but with a massive upgrade in visuals. This isn’t a remaster and instead is much more of a remake. Sure you might see familiar layouts and story but the game very much feels like it’s been built from the ground up. From a visual standpoint, Ratchet and Clank is one of the most stunning games I’ve ever seen. From the moment you begin the game, expect to be wowed and left speechless by just about everything about it. It uses colour to bring magic to the scene, excellent animation to bring life, and touches to bring character. This is one universe that draws you and is a consistent treat with every new planet and location you visit.
The 3D action platformer is a bit deceiving. Sure you may jump around 3D environments moving from platform to platform and finding the objective but this is more of a 3rd Person Shooter than it is a platformer. One of Insomniac’s greatest abilities is to create interesting and enjoyable weapons and it’s very clear here in Ratchet and Clank. Rather than strictly stick to the first game’s design, the weapons here are a collection of their best as well as a couple new additions. Like the later games in the series, the weapons can be levelled up and upgraded by collecting a certain type of crystal throughout the environment. The upgrade system is grid-based and offers special bonuses if you upgrade weapons a certain way by surrounding parts marked with question marks.
What makes Ratchet and Clank such a joy to play is simply because it remembers that games are supposed to be fun. Everything from the visuals, to the music, to the gameplay and even the humour all around, it never failed to put a smile on my face. There wasn’t a moment throughout the entire game where I even felt a slight tinge of fatigue. This was a joy from the first second to the last.
As soon as I completed the game I started up the newly unlocked challenge mode in the aim to play through it again and find all the golden screws. Hell, it was incredibly satisfying replaying most sections, especially later on in when there were dozens of enemies in a big room and after a massive firefight walking through the room to see thousands of bolts magnetise towards you. It’s a satisfying game in every aspect.
The game may be a tie-in to the movie, and it also may contain scenes from the movie itself but I was enamoured by the gameplay and the rest just didn’t really matter. It never got in the way and every cut-scene is skippable.
Ratchet and Clank proves the genre has a lot of steam left and the developer are still at the top of their game. There was a time when the genre was everywhere but oversaturation ran the well dry. The springs are rich again with pure fun and let’s hope that developers will start to jump back in again to see what the genre still has to offer this new generation.