Ratchet and Clank: PS4 Review
Released by Insomniac Games
There's no denying there's plenty of love for the furry Lombax and his little metal friend.
Certainly, when I first got my hands on a PS2, Ratchet and Clank was the first title I ever played. And simply put, its mix of cartoony family friendly fare and downright fun playability meant I was hooked from the get-go. It stretched to a bit of a mild addiction with even repeatedly playing Up Your Arsenal for fun numerous times after completion.
I suspect I'm not alone.
What this demonstrates the kind of love there is for the title and why, like Crash Bandicoot, there's been a lot of wailing and crying for the series to be brought to the PS4.
Finally then, it's here.
And by goodness, it's been worth the wait.
With a film based on the lovable duo out soon in Europe (not sure if any dates in NZ have been confirmed), the resurgence is on and to tie in, Insomniac Games have retooled the series' debut from 2002 and rebuilt it from the ground up, with a view to ensuring this doesn't feel like a lazy cash in remaster on the next gen console.
The result of that love is obvious - from the beginning titles through to the gameplay itself, this re-telling of the Ratchet and Clank friendship and their ascent into space heroes is packed with as much love, luscious graphics and lunacy as you'd want.
As the duo get involved with Captain Qwark and try to fulfill Ratchet's dream of becoming a Galactic Ranger, there are plenty of planets to explore and plenty of reasons to hurtle that trusty Omniwrench into crates to collect bolts to trade in for weapons.
But Insomniac Games are aware that even the deepest love for R&C and the fact it's on the next gen aren't enough to simply carry it through. And not once do the developers coast on a wave of space nostalgia, instead choosing to add options to upgrade your weapons by progression and collection of raretanium to be traded at Gadgetron boothes. Equally, they've added in a new weapon - The Pixelator- which does exactly what you'd expect - and to cap it all, a card collection game's been thrown in to the mix too, with dispatching baddies and hitting certain goals giving you access to the Hearthstone style game.
There are a few deviations and surprises in the story (and the news a patch is being developed to stop movie spoilers is an interesting one) but it's the gameplay of this much beloved platformer that makes all the difference.
Love pours from the screen; be it in the voice work in the cut scenes, the framing narrative or the background, there's a lot here that suggests Insomniac's desire to start all over again in many ways was creatively the best decision to have ever made.
That said, there were a couple of minor bugs that slightly blighted my pre-release access (which hopefully a full day one patch deployment may remove). Occasionally, some of the crates on the screen in some sequences would simply disappear from view and then re-appear without warning. There's also been some bugs which have seen button prompts atop of Ratchet stay with him long after being used (Tap X being one) that blight the screen's action.
These are only minor bugs, but it's a shame the game has been hit by them in the first place.
Ratchet and Clank on PS4 is nigh on impossible not to love.
It's an ode to platform gaming which both gives you a sense of nostalgia from the series but also rejuvenates the game as it launches on to the next generation. It's a breathless piece of family friendly gaming that revels in fun, drips with love and oozes playability. It's a game that rewards your love by satiating a desire to keep on playing and the developers reward your adoration by creating a crafty retooled remaster that raises the bar for any future franchises looking to simply create another collection or remaster in the market place.
Simply put, it's nothing short of a delight to dive back into the world of the Lombax with Ratchet and Clank on the PS4 - I'd strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible.