Ratchet and Clank makes the rest of the current-gen remasters looks lazy, by rebuilding the original game from the ground up and delivering a hilarious adventure full of enormous guns.
In an era of HD remasters, current-gen ports, and remakes of one-year old games, it’s easy for consumers to start turning a blind eye to old franchises that appear to be looking to retread familiar ground rather than deliver a true sequel or new experience. Ratchet and Clank, however, bucks the trend and rebuilds the original game from the ground up in glorious current-gen fashion, standing out as an experience that should not be skipped by any gamer who loves laughs and destructive fun.
The original Ratchet and Clank launched in 2002, during the glory days of the 3D platformer. Although the genre seems to have disappeared from the mainstream in recent years, PS4’s Ratchet and Clank proves to be exactly the kind of game that this generation has been missing. Players take control of Ratchet and his mech buddy Clank and annihilate every enemy in sight for about about 15 glorious hours. The sci-fi romp is jam-packed with explosive battles and hilarious, but beautiful cut scenes.
The game’s core mechanics remain mostly unchanged, although Insomniac does incorporate some improvements that have been ironed out in the last 15 years. Most of the game is spent battling through hordes of enemies on a number of planets that will be familiar to veteran fans. Players build up an arsenal of outlandish high-tech weapons that each feel unique and will be appropriate for different encounters.
The game’s weaponry is one of the most addictive aspects of Ratchet and Clank. Each weapon can be leveled up as players spend more time using it (even in the early levels), so the game rewards each player’s own style. In addition to weapon experience, each piece of gear also has a talent tree that players can use to spend upgrades and increases a weapon’s range, power, or other perks like increased loot drops. These improvements to weapon upgrades are fan favorites from the more recent games, so it is a welcome addition to the original game’s campaign and makes for a much more satisfying experience.
Much like in the LEGO franchise, the game attempts to deliver immediate satisfaction to players by giving them a constant stream of currency to pick up (nuts and bolts, in this case). As players mow down armies of bad guys, the currency flies through the air and is absorbed by the hero. The old school, simple mechanic may not sound like much, but it makes every battle incredibly rewarding and gives players a reason to leave no enemy behind.
Ratchet and Clank’s upgrade system doesn’t punish players for spending currency either. There are plenty of bad guys to destroy on every planet and although players may want to save up for a big ticket item from time to time, there’s no downside to making frequent purchases and trying out new weapons and upgrades.
The game comes at a $40 price point and the 15-hour campaign feels just about perfect for that investment. Some gamers may be disappointed that there isn’t 40 hours of content here, but Ratchet and Clank sticks with quality over quantity and the end result is worth it. There is some replayability, as players unlock weapons that make let them access previously blocked off zones but this completionist task won’t be for everybody. It’s a little disappointing that revisiting old planets feels a little lifeless after their story missions have been finished, but beating up enemies and collecting more nuts and bolts is still a lot of fun.
As the for game’s narrative, it packs an insane amount of humor into the numerous cutscenes (which are worth comparing to the originals). The adventure may feel a little cookie cutter, but that is part of the point, and the game’s narrator and other characters make enough snarky meta references to keep it fresh. The cutscenes look better than ever and prove that a current-gen game doesn’t have to go for photo-realism to achieve impressive graphics. The story will be familiar to everyone who played the original, but the jokes have been updated and there are enough tweaks that it won’t feel too repetitive at all.
For younger gamers who missed this franchise the first time around, Ratchet and Clank is a perfect starting point. By the same token, veteran fans will be equally pleased at the opportunity to return to a familiar environment that doesn’t feel repetitive. With a stellar new game and a movie on the horizon, hopefully this is the first in a new chain of adventures for our favorite Lombax and robot team.
Ratchet and Clank is now available for PS4. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.