Everything old is new again
With the release of Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 4, this long time Sony series has amazingly managed to go full circle all the way back to where it started in 2002. Re-visiting the first game – and the origin story for the famous space-adventuring duo – this re-imagining of their debut just so happens to be tied to the imminent release of their very own feature film. So yes, this is a game based on a movie… Er, based on a game.
It doesn’t take long to see that this is less of a remaster and more of a complete overhaul, and while the game follows the storyline of the original pretty closely, it makes a number of noticeable changes that’ll give even the most devoted of fans a few surprises. What’s clear is that whether it’s the level designs, weapons, or mechanics, developer Insomniac Games has treated this release like a greatest hits compilation, pulling elements and ideas from the previous titles in the series, while adding a few new ones to the melting pot as well. earn to die
The story’s narrated by long-time Ratchet & Clank ally Captain Quark, who promises to tell the true tale of the how the partners in destruction became the best of buddies. As you play through the early levels, the Cap’n dynamically references things that you’ll be doing on the screen, and at first it feels like there’s a lot of potential to throw in some twists and turns using an unreliable narrator – especially since he can’t help but spin his narrative in a self-aggrandizing and narcissistic way.
Unfortunately, this is never really used to its full potential, and, as the instances where Captain Quark’s voiceover appears rapidly decline, you’ll completely forget the narrative framing from the opening of the story. Fortunately, Ratchet’s quest to join the Galactic Rangers and save the galaxy provides plenty of opportunity for some signature planet hopping, and you’ll move at such a pace that you won’t have time to get bored of the excellent cocktail of platforming, puzzles, and third-person blasting.
The shooting, thankfully, is as good as ever, and represents a pinnacle for the series – unsurprising considering that there’s been close to fourteen years of iteration and refinement. There are the odd improvements through some minor additions – such as customisable weapon shortcuts on the d-pad – but if you’ve spent time with any of the more recent Ratchet & Clank titles, then you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Games based on movies have a pretty poor reputation on the quality front, however Ratchet & Clank emanates class in so many aspects that even referring to it as a movie tie-in sells it short. If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying this series’ brand of third-person blasting before, then this is the perfect chance to see just why the property has remained popular for over a decade. Meanwhile, if you’re already a fan, then this remake is a truly worthy entry in the franchise, and while it doesn’t do anything particularly new of note, it’s a greatest hits compilation so compelling that.