Ratchet & Clank Review
Insomniac has created some interesting, beautiful, and down right wacky games over the past 15 plus years, but the company will always be most well known for their Ratchet & Clank series. The series itself has evolved in a positive way over time, with each new game building upon the last. With the release of Ratchet & Clank in April, Insomniac did something that no other company who is re-introducing old games into the current marketplace has done. Insomniac recreated and re-imagined the 2002 classic; they did not simply just port it.* And this makes a huge difference.
The core story of the 2002 release are still set in stone. Ratchet and his robotic friend and partner, Clank, must move throughout the galaxy to thwart the plans of Chairman Drek and the Warbot minions, all while saving the world. Characters that you loved and / or hated from the original are also present here, including Captain Qwark.
What is different this time around, however, is that Insomniac has worked scenes from the upcoming Ratchet and Clank film (April 29th) into the game itself, which ties this PS4 release to the film release. Essentially, as the back of the game case indicates, it’s a game based on a movie, based on a game. Sound confusing? It really isn’t. These clips from the movie don’t drastically impact the story from the 2002 release in any way, but it’s nice to see them tie these two entertainment releases together in a positive way.
It’s Re-imagined, not Rebooted
The greatest achievement – and notable difference from what many other reboots have done – is that Insomniac has brought in the best elements of all the previous games in the series, and they have also used elements from some of their other titles that have worked surprisingly well. It is not just a reboot of Ratchet & Clank using the franchises past titles; rather, they are recreating Ratchet & Clank using the companies entire history.
This is most evident in the weapon upgrading mechanic that, although not apart of the 2002 masterpiece, is evident in other Insomniac games, most recently in Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One. Every weapon has a different characteristic, but Insomniac has give all weapons a purpose.
Each weapon not only changes as it upgrades, but also has an upgrade cap. At some point, your favorite weapon will be maxed out, and any experience gained using that weapon afterwards is, frankly, wasted. Experimenting with different weapons is all part of the upgraded fun in Ratchet & Clank. It worked in past Ratchet & Clank titles, was perfected in Sunset Overdrive, and mastered here.
It will make Pixar and Dreamworks Jealous
Like all game reboots, Ratchet & Clank has also received a shiny coat of polish. Textures are smoother, animations cleaner, and when you lose yourself in some of the short animations, you wonder if perhaps you’ve somehow fallen into a Dreamworks or Pixar feature. It’s that clean, it’s that stunning, and it is a huge improvement over what was offered way back in 2002. The visual updates alone are worth the price of (re)admission. Ratchet & Clank doesn’t bump up against the realism – it is a cartoon afterall – that the PS4 has been promising for years, but it still shows the power of the system. There is no better looking game on PS4, at least not yet.
Improved frame rate is another big improvement in Ratchet & Clank. In reality, as far as I can remember when playing the 2002 original, frame rate really never was an issue. However, with all the new animations, textures, and ‘extra’ additions to each scene – flying robot parts will be a common scene while you play – it is important to note that Insomniac has managed to do it all – exploding robot parts included – with the smoothest, and cleanest animations. No frame rate drops or hiccups during my 15 hour play through!
Insomniac has added other in game options to make the adventure feel fresh, despite minimal changes in the story mode. A jet pack makes getting around areas more accessible and enjoyable, albeit players should keep an eye on that fuel gauge. There are also special boots that can be worn that will allow Ratchet to slide on walls and do other feats of daring.
If I’m being really honest, Insomniac didn’t really need to add anything to make this 2002 favorite playable again on PS4. However, all the changes made within the game – both graphically and mechanically – make this a must buy for any PS4 owner. There is too much Pixaresque charm here to not at least stop by for a few hours. While you wait for that next PS4 release, pick up Ratchet & Clank as soon as possible. There is very little room for disappointment here
- HD to the max – best looking game on PS4?
- Reimagined, not simply rereleased. Tons of new content.
- Leveling system that gets you to use all the games different weapon
- Insomniac really used their company history to create the best game for the developers, ever.
- Great job tying into new movie without ruining the classic story.
*We do understand other companies make tweaks when rereleasing titles, but they are minor. Insomniac rebuilt this from the ground up.