Review: Ratchet and Clank

Ratchet and Clank review for PlayStation 4.

Ratchet and Clank is a franchise that has always held a special place in my heart. When Insomniac first announced that they would be releasing a movie I was excited about the concept of getting to see my favorite PlayStation duo saving the Solana galaxy from Chairman Drek, then the company announced that they would reboot the series, my anticipation grew. What Ratchet and Clank became for me was a fantastic new look on a classic game with new characters, as well as old favorites, new levels and weapons, and a classic narrative retold through the galaxy’s favorite hero, Captain Qwark.

A Qwarktasic storyline

What makes Ratchet and Clank more than a reboot of the original game is that the entire narrative is told through the perspective of Captain Qwark and focuses on his transition from galactic hero to bumbling idiot. This narrative perspective sets the game up for an array of different jokes, especially in the tutorial stage when he is blatantly calling Ratchet a “hapless Lombax” and accusing him of being a disrespectful thief. This device is also integrated seamlessly throughout the storyline and provides a new perspective on the original narrative of Ratchet’s rise to hero of the galaxy. This plot device allows Captain Qwark to justify why he betrayed the galaxy and decided to work for Chairman Drek.

I think I’m having Deja Vu

Throughout my experience in the Solana galaxy I found myself surrounded by a plethora of familiar faces that were in previous Ratchet and Clank games, as well as new faces that were a welcome change to the lore. Many favorites such as the plumber, Dr. Nefarious, and Skid McMarx come back and play their roles from the original trilogy, but the characters that set this game apart from the original are the galactic rangers. These elite protectors become Ratchet’s mentors and show him the way to becoming a true hero. Through sending him out on missions and providing him with better equipment throughout the game, Ratchet and Clank receives a sense of direction throughout the narrative, as opposed to the original story where their main goal was to find Captain Qwark. Another new character that changes the narrative is Grim, a garage owner on Veldin. While in previous titles Ratchet’s origins are unknown, Grim gives him a father figure to look up to and somebody who provides encouragement to him. This also explains why Ratchet is a great mechanic and why the Omniwrench is his weapon of choice.

When the old meets the new

Ratchet and Clank manages to create a new world while using familiar locales. Diehard fans will get nostalgic when they visit Novalis or Kerwan, because the stages have been largely untouched. Outside of the familiar territories the game offers more than an overwhelming need to return to their childhood. What the developers have done with this world is truly amazing, considering they omitted planets and changed the venue of where iconic moments of the original game take place. One instance that stands out is the battle with the Blargian Snagglebeast, this fight originally took place on Captain Qwark’s personal training course, but now takes place on Nebula G34.

Up your arsenal

Unique weaponry is a major staple of the Ratchet and Clank series, from the Ryno to the Sheepinator, this is a franchise that is dedicated to creating an insane arsenal for the player to control and this is no exception. The new arsenal includes the Groovitron, which forces enemies to dance, and my new favorite, the Pixelator, a shotgun that turns enemies into 8-bit sprites. These additions spice up the gameplay and add to already wild armaments that Ratchet has used over the years. Classic weapons are still in the mix, the Pyrocitor and the Glove of Doom come back and still hold up against the new array of unlockable firearms. While there are not as many weapons in this reimagining, there is plenty of leveling up and customization that can be done throughout the game, players can upgrade ammo, damage, and rate of fire using Raritanium that is scattered throughout the world. Players can also unlock high caliber versions of weapons, known as Omega variants, in challenge mode if they managed to collect the correct holo card sets.

The final say-so

At the end of the day Ratchet and Clank is a wonderful tribute and back to basics game that realizes the spirit of the duo’s origin story and repackages for a new audience, as well as those who fondly remember the franchise in its hay day. Without a doubt this is the most creative reboot I have played through in recent memory and shows that Insomniac did not just create a game to make quick cash grab before the movie hits the box office. I highly recommend this game not just for the nostalgia, but for all that this game offers for the price of $39.99. If you don’t have a PlayStation 4, I would recommend seeing the movie, because this is one experience no one should miss.

Score: 5/5

Ratchet and Clank was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a retail purchased copy

Publisher Developer Reviewed On Release Date
Sony Interactive Insomniac PlayStation 4 April 12, 2016

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