Ratchet and Clank Review

Ratchet and Clank Reviewed On PS2
Ratchet and Clank is basically a 3D platform game and as anyone knows the 2D platform genre was completely driven into the ground during the 8 and 16 bit era. Now we are starting to see the same thing happen to the 3D platform genre. Most 3D platform games are full of backtracking, bad camera work and loads of coins, rings, stars etc to collect along the way. Thankfully Ratchet and Clank avoids most of the common traps and down falls of the modern platform genre.

Ratchet is an alien creature that looks a bit like a gremlin with element of a cat and a rabbit. He is busy working in his spaceship when a small robot named Clank falls from the sky. Clank replays a tale of a world in peril and on seeing this Ratchet and Clank sets off to save the world from Drek, an evil corporate who is the leader of a dead polluted world. Drek is remedying the situation by ripping apart other cleaner planets and using their resources to build a new home. The game maintains a nice light hearted feel all the way through from start to finish, complete with a colourful cast of well animated characters and a great script.

Each level you play in Ratchet and Clank is a different planet. When you start out you will not know where to go next, new planets will be revealed to you by infobots, small robot storage devices that contain a brief video clip. Some of these videos are intercepted communications between Drek and his army while other are newscasts that talk about the chaos that Drek has unleashed and finally some are adverts for various parts of the universe. These video clips are the initial reason for you to visit a planet, but when you get there you will usually receive other objectives and goals as your explore each world.

Ratchet and Clank is structured in a similar way to most other platform games, but it is much more focused on skilful combat than the usual jumping scenarios of other platformers. Your standard weapon is a large wrench which you can either swing around or throw like a boomerang. You will also start with the bomb glove, one of the games many weapons. Using the bomb glove will let you toss bombs at enemies. All of the enemies in Ratchet and Clank are robots of some sort and when you destroy them they will explode into a shower of nuts and bolts, while moving through the game you will pick up these nuts and bolts as they are used as currency. You can use them to purchase items and ammo for your weapons at various shops.

Ratchet and Clank Reviewed On PS2 @ www.contactmusic.com
Ratchet and Clank Reviewed On PS2 @ www.contactmusic.com
Ratchet and Clank Reviewed On PS2 @ www.contactmusic.com

As you make your way through the game you will find or purchase a lot of new weapons, including a cannon that lets you suck up small enemies and spit them out, a flamethrower, a machine gun, homing and guided rockets and several more. The weapons provide lots of variety when it comes to disposing of the enemies and players with different playing styles will find certain weapons more effective than others. As well as the weapons you have a standard range of attacks and jumps. You can steer Ratchet around with the left stick, but it's actually easier to steer with the right stick which swings the camera around. Other platformers that give you control of the camera let you move it around as much as you like but when you have stopped moving it, the camera will revert back to the default position unless you're in a tight spot. Ratchet and Clanks camera stays in the same position you leave it. You will have a few occasions where you will be surrounded by enemies and you can't see them all, but once you get the hang of things this isn't a problem.

As well as the weapons in Ratchet and Clank you will earn a collection of upgrades and gadgets that are mainly used for puzzle solving and getting from A to B in tricky sections. Through the course of the game you will earn hover upgrades, masks, door openers, water displacement device and a gadget that lets you disguise yourself as a robot in order to infiltrate a robot factory. There are also some sections in the game designed to break up the action along the way, you will ride a hover board in races, fly a spaceship, man gun turrets and you can even control Clank in areas that Ratchet can't get to. These brief areas of the game are not very difficult but they do serve the purpose to break the game up and add variety.

Ratchet and Clank Reviewed On PS2 @ www.contactmusic.com

Most of the levels in Ratchet and Clank will have multiple objectives, so you will have a choice of taking two or three paths at times, all of which branch off from the starting point. Each one will have some sort of pay off, at that point most games would ask you to backtrack through to the beginning of the level and try a different path. Not Ratchet and Clank though, the levels are designed in such a way they you will never have to backtrack through a section you have just completed. Some of the paths loop all the way around to the starting point and other have a teleport or other form of instant transport at the end of the track. Without back-tracking the game moves at a nice rate eliminating frustration usually found in games of this genre.

Ratchet and Clank looks fantastic and the sizes of the levels are really impressive. You will also find yourself fighting a screen full of small enemies in these huge environments and the frame rate doesn't even flinch. The environments are very colourful and feature some really great animated sequences. Facial animations are also great for both Ratchet and Clank during the games cut scenes. You may see a bit of repetition of enemies within any given level, but there is a great range of enemies to be found throughout the game. On top of all this the quality of the textures and animation are terrific.

Ratchet and Clank Reviewed On PS2 @ www.contactmusic.com

Ratchet and Clank also features a great sound track, each level has its own feel thanks to the music which conveys tensions and creepiness without loosing the light hearted tone of the game. Sounds effects are also great although the sound of collecting bolts can get a little irritating over time. The voice acting is good as is the script with great dialogue.

Ratchet and Clank isn't a difficult game to start out so you will be able to cover quite a lot of ground in a short space of time until the difficulty level starts to increase. Ratchet and Clank is never overly difficult of unfair. When, not if, you run out of health you will start at the last check point you passed through, although check points aren't visible there are lot of them so you will never have to go over too much familiar territory. Ratchet and Clank is also quite a long game, much longer than other games in this genre but it never feels artificially long though.

Insomniac have done a fantastic job on Ratchet and Clank, it balances all the various types of combat with standard platforming action while dodging all the pitfalls and failings of most games in this genre. Anyone looking for an excellent lengthy platformer will find a lot to like, as will shoot'em up fans due to the large range of great and outrageous weapons. Ratchet and Clank is definitely a great platformer in every way, it's also one of the best platform games ever made since the genre went 3D.

9.5 out of 10

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