VERSION(S) REVIEWED: PLAYSTATION 4
Ratchet & Clank (2016)
Written & Edited by: Prof. Purble, Eria & A Tomato
Published: 31st, October, 2022
Ratchet & Clank is an action-platformer 2016 reboot of the franchise's eponymous first entry. Released for the PlayStation 4, it can be played up to 4k HDR@30fps or on PlayStation 5 up to 4K HDR@60fps.
After Ratchet and Clanks' last adventure, Insomniac decided it would be a good idea to remake the first game, with a cinematic movie alongside it to expand the lore. The most significant of changes involve old stages and characters being replaced.
The campaign overall took about 12 hours to complete.
Captain Qwark, this universe's superhero and leader of a group known as Galactic Rangers, finds himself captive in a high security prison, with an inmate with whom he narrates his side of the story.
Qwark begins his story with Ratchet, a Lombax who seeks fame and glory beyond his usual lifestyle of being a regular mechanic on planet Veldin. Ratchet dreams of being part of the Galactic Rangers, something which was not feasible due to his history of mischief.
Meanwhile, somewhere else in the system, a malfunction occurs in a factory, producing a small, defective robot. After an attempted escape with a stolen ship, the robot finds himself crash landed on the same planet Ratchet resides on.
Ratchet calls the robot Clank. He agrees to repair him and, in exchange, take him to Planet Kerwan to warn the Galactic Rangers of the two evil masterminds, Chairman Drek and Dr. Nefarious, who plan to destroy planets around the Galactic region in order to create a new home for the blarg species, threatening billions of lives in the process!
Upon arrival at planet Kerwan, Ratchet and Clank noticed the city was already under attack by Drek’s forces! After the duo destroy the army of warbots, they earn themselves a free ticket to become Galactic Rangers. Sporting a new spaceship, they are sent on their way to save the galaxy!
As you begin your journey, Ratchet is taken through the basics of combat and maneuverability. Control wise, Ratchet can strafe, side jump, backflip and in doing so makes it harder for the enemy to lock onto you. Maneuverability is further assisted with the use of Clank strapped to Ratchet's back, allowing the ability to jump higher or leap further in front, and glide to other platforms.
Stages themselves didn't feel too overly long. There are plenty of checkpoints and there are no penalties for dying. Bosses weren't too difficult on normal, except for some near end-game, which were quite the fun challenge to take down!
Nanotech is Ratchet's health system. It can be upgraded over time from enough experience killing enemies, and can be replenished from smashing nanotech crates with a distinctive glowing sphere inside. These, along with ammo crates, will respawn after being destroyed, given enough time.
Bolts can be used to purchase new weapons, replenish ammo and nanotech from a local vendor on any planet and can be obtained from a number of ways, either from killing enemies or smashing the hundreds of generic crates stacked everywhere.
Weapons can level up through general usage and can be further enhanced from the vendor with a special resource known as Raritanium.
There is a healthy selection of weapons to try out here and most felt extremely satisfying to use, from the Fusion Grenades, a Pixeliser gun turning enemies into breakable voxels, a Pyrocitor flamethrower for close range crowd control, and the Warmonger that completely decimates enemies with dozens of flying rockets!
Ratchet can also hit things with his OmniWrench, or throw it like a boomerang, handy for taking care of explosive crates or critters without needlessly consuming ammo.
Gadgets found are toggle-able prompts in the overworld that allow Ratchet access to areas that are normally blocked off to him. These include a swingshot ability, grinding rail boots, a jetpack and much more, which can be found simply by exploring stages.
Clank even has his own dedicated puzzle-oriented stages, assisted throughout by his miniature robot buddies. These can even be reprogrammed to different bot types to handle different situations, such as creating bridges, a spring pad and even powering electric generators.
There are also the hoverboard race events, where the aggressive AI rubber-banding means taking shortcuts is nigh-imperative to succeed. Rounding out the gameplay styles are the Ship battle mini-events, which are sadly short-lived and not replayable. A bit of a shame these were not fleshed out more, considering their prevalence in the franchises’ earlier titles.
Every corner of every map has been given highly detailed treatment, with every character looking better than ever.
Some character voices did rub off the wrong way, such as the vendor being way too repetitive, and the commentary felt a bit too egregious at times with hints on progression.
The music is beautifully crafted with some bopping soundtracks. I caught myself tapping my foot with the beat on a few music pieces and the SFX is extra lovely too, especially with surround sound.
The cutscenes are a mix of in-game engine and pre-rendered scenes from the movie. All the assets from the development team were handed off to the movie studio team for animated
production before being optimized for the game.
There are collectable holocards to gain from killing enemies and finding hidden booster packs throughout levels. Collecting a complete set will increase the drop rate of a specific resource.
R.Y.N.O. holocards are much harder to find, but getting all of them will reward you the R.Y.N.O. - abbreviated from "Rip You a New One." Capable of mowing down even the toughest of enemies. The hundreds of rockets that fire rapidly in tune with a dedicated music track makes for an extremely satisfying and powerful weapon!
There are a total of 28 hidden gold bolts, and obtaining them will unlock various customization features in the Extras menu. These range from screen filters, outfits or even bonus artwork. Collecting nearly all the bolts allows toggleable cheat abilities to have infinite ammo or invincibility. Beating the game grants access to Insomniac's Museum Vault that showcases various props and art assets from prior games in the franchise.
The map-o-matic gadget can be found later on in the adventure, revealing the location of hidden goodies.
There is a harder Challenge mode after beating the game once, letting you keep all collectable goodies and gaining access to purchasing the stronger Omega Weapons, increasing the level cap from 5 to 10, and even grants the bolt multiplier that increases with each successful kill streak, allowing you to collect a crazy amount of bolts in a very short time span!
There are three available difficulties to select from that can be changed at any point during gameplay.
There is an aim assist option that attempts to correct missed shots, as long as the target is close enough to the aiming reticle. Although it's far from perfect, it makes hitting smaller and faster enemies less frustrating to deal with.
You can temporarily switch to a stationary first person view, allowing for better precision aiming, but can leave you vulnerable and it’s situational at best.
Looking around felt a bit sluggish at first, although thankfully adjustable with settings to invert or speed up camera movement.
A high-quality re-imagining of the franchise's first game with most of the fat trimmed off, beautiful visuals, added accessibility and a more fleshed out story. Definite Recommendation!