Impressions, Video Games

Impressions: Ratchet and Clank (2016)

Releasing along side of the Ratchet and Clank movie, Ratchet and Clank is referred to as a re-imagining of the PS2 hit. Can this really be any more than just a remake/reboot? Or does Ratchet and Clank manage to find a new home on the PS4.

Story:

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Much like the PS2 version of the game, this story follows Ratchet, a lombax, and the robot he ends up finding and saving, Clank. The two team up with Qwark’s Galactic Rangers in order to stop Chairman Drek and Dr Nefarious from destroying various planets around the galaxy. It’s a combination of the original plot from the 2002 Ratchet and Clank, but brings in characters and plot lines from the later games, to create a new rebooted story.

Impressions:

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Gameplay is what you know and love from the series. It brings in a combination of platforming features, with a lot of action and guns. The game is fast paced, and is always bringing something new. Ratchet collects various weapons and gadgets in order to help with gameplay. They range from a gun that turns enemies into sheep or one that distracts all enemies with the power of disco, to more standard weapons like grenades. It’s this blend of what we are used to and totally quirky things, that helped to make Ratchet and Clank such a beloved hit in the first place.

Weapons can be upgraded by using them, and then investing points to upgrade trees. Maxing out a weapon makes them more powerful, ammo last longer, and will add other special features. This is nice because it encourages using a blend of weapons, instead of just sticking with one or two favorites. There are still gold bolts to collect, and now cards. Each card comes in a set and unlocking a full set gives bonuses to weapon upgrades, how many bolts you earn, and other various helpful things.

Ratchet and Clank also brings back challenge mode. When you complete the game you can start what is basically new game+ you retain your weapon levels, and play the game again on a more challenging difficulty. The difficulty is ramped up a bit. While you can still choose to play challenge mode in say, easy difficulty, there is a jump up. Easy on challenge, is more like normal.

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Most of the levels are from the original game, but have been updated for the new hardware. They look very similar, and have similar missions, but the new coat of paint serves the game well. It’s a great blend of “wow I remember this place” but with new technology.

The story is a little disappointing. While on the one hand it’s nice that Ratchet is no longer the reluctant hero (and no longer rude to Clank), it also feels a bit lacking. Ratchet’s character doesn’t really need to develop, and there is no real development in his relationship with Clank. While it bothered a lot of people that he could be so mean in the original game, what’s left is just lacking.

Overall though this is a great update. It does work as a re-imagining. Neither exactly a reboot, or a remake, but something rather unique. There is a great blend of nostalgia to be had, but new things as well.

Bottomline:

This isn’t something I would call my game of the year, but it’s darn entertaining. It’s fun, silly, challenging, and enjoyable from start to finish. The story takes a bit of a beating in the update, but otherwise this game is pretty much wonderful. Fans of the PlayStation 2 game will find a lot to love, and new fans can enjoy this as an introduction to the series.

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