Ratchet & Clank (PS4) – A Review by Jose Vega
Product provided by Insomniac Games for the sake of this review.
Ratchet & Clank… one of Sony’s many franchises that have had success on PlayStation consoles for almost a decade. Insomniac had plans to bring the franchise to Sony’s next console, the PlayStation 4. How do they do it? They did it by bringing Ratchet & Clank to the big screen as an animated movie. It garnered a mixed reception but Insomniac also brought the movie in the form of Ratchet & Clank for the PS4. A game based on the movie based on the game… does this duo deliver on Sony’s newest console?
The story serves as a reimagining of the original Ratchet & Clank but with some differences. It still centers on the team of Ratchet, a lombax and Clank, a small robot. Together the two head on a journey to save the galaxy from the likes of Chairman Alonzo Drek and Dr. Nefarious.
Ratchet & Clank’s story is enjoyable for what it is. It isn’t the best but it does give us a tale of good and evil in its own way. Not only that but they took liberties in changing things up by bringing villains such as Dr. Nefarious, reimagining many characters that appeared before and in some instances, replacing familiar characters with others not making appearances. Not that all of this is a bad thing. The story is still enjoyable and good.
If you’ve played any game in this franchise, you will feel right at home with this one. The game is a 3rd-person action adventure where you control Ratchet and use him to explore various areas while dealing with anything that’s in his way. Controls play just like any R&C game but Insomniac decides to take it one step further. The controls are overhauled while giving Ratchet access to many new and familiar weapons and gadgets from the series. Health can be upgraded via nanotech while weapons can be leveled up the more they are used. Once they reach V5, it evolves into a stronger weapon. Clank also gets upgrades that improve Ratchet. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it but in a case like this, they simply made it feel familiar and better.
As for travel, Ratchet & Clank travel via space cruiser moving from one planet to the next. The main exploration occurs in the planets they travel in where you go in, defeat enemies, solve puzzles, help people and collect rewards that can be helpful on the journey. Most of the game you will get to play as Ratchet but some parts will have you playing as Clank. Here the Clank sections focus on puzzle solving in order to progress further. They can be head scratching but they aren’t anything too difficult. Some planets have mini games you can do to earn more Bolts and sometimes items. Bolts are the game’s currency and they’re needed to buy new weapons to use or in some cases gadgets. Raritanium also make a return and they’re used to add modifications to weapons. The game has a lot to do and a lot to conquer.
All of this is going to have players be spending quite a while to complete the game. Clocking it at around 8-10 hours if you just simply want to beat it but for completionists, it’s extended by about 2-3 hours. The game also has a Challenge Mode that is unlocked after completing the game. It’s pretty much Hard Mode but with a few advantages such as bolt multiplier and more powerful weapons, extending it’s length even further. Boss fights are there but they can be easy to deal with if you know what your doing. Regardless, you get a lot for your money’s worth and for a single-player game it nails it.
The game excels in its presentation and comparing it from the older games back on PS2 and 3, it’s a huge step up. It is amazing to look at. Each planet offers something different, providing a pleasant experience. The music has this orchestrated feel that does well on all fronts. Voice acting is still just as enjoyable, although some changes were made since not all the voice actors could reprise their roles from the game. But for what they have, it’s still good with many delivering great performances like James Arnold Taylor.
But as much as this game has a lot of positives, there are only two drawbacks. In previous Ratchet & Clank games, players are allowed to go back to previous worlds to grind for bolts and experience. In this instance, it doesn’t happen. When a player returns to a world they explored previously, they can find nothing. Just empty areas. A bit disappointing for those that wishes to take the time to make them stronger. The other negative is that the game has a pre-order bonus, a weapon called the Bouncer. That weapon is impossible to obtain unless you have an unused preorder code. Why Insomniac decided to do that, I’ll never know. But I feel that Insomniac should consider having this weapon as free DLC for those that couldn’t get it when it came out. It would be a good compromise.
In conclusion, Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 4 is a game that pays tribute to the franchise while offering a pleasant experience. Despite it’s negatives, the game is fun. It looks great, it plays great and it feels like you are experiencing the film in game form. Personally the game is the better choice because you won’t feel disappointed in the end. You will feel satisfied that you get to experience the series on the PlayStation 4. Let’s hope that Insomniac Games can give us a sequel to follow things up. It did do well sales-wise so why not.
I give Ratchet & Clank for the PlayStation 4 a solid 9 out of 10. It is worth your money.