Although over the past few years classic games have been remastered and remade like Square Enix’s reboot of Tomb Raider or a HD Twilight Princess, credit where it’s due, these remakes and revamps are doing relatively well, because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Plus, who doesn’t like a bit of nostalgia.
Ratchet & Clank was one of the PlayStation 2’s most cherished, adventurous and outgoing 3D platformers in the early 2000s. It has been 14 years since Insomniac Games released the first Ratchet and Clank and they have ultimately outdone themselves in this remake – rebuilding the original from the ground up. Although they have reiterated their action-adventure formula with a dozen other Ratchet and Clank main titles and spin-offs from their 2009 release, A Crack in Time to their 2013 release Into The Nexus, this remake is a welcomed nostalgic reminder that the 3D platformer genre is undeniably lacking today.
The title has been released on the PS4 to accompany the upcoming film which hits theatres on April 29 (the game based on the film, based on the game – pretty ironic), however rather than a remastering it’s more of a re-imagining, giving old school fans more of a reason to come back and experience the title in current gen graphics with new twists in arsenal, story arcs and dialogue.
The game tells the story of an unlikely but lovable duo brought together by fate. Ratchet – a dare to be hero resides and works as a mechanic on the planet Veldin, where we find him daydreaming about adventure and ultimately joining the Galactic Rangers. Clank is a defective warbot who escapes the factory of his creation to warn the galaxy about the imminent warbot threat at the hands of Chairman Drek and Doctor Nefarious. The story is narrated by the harmless yet egotistical Captain Qwark, who dictates the story to a new inmate in the confines of a space prison. This interesting change of events reveals Captain Qwark’s betrayal from the get go as opposed to the original where players don’t find out until the end.
The cut scenes throughout are very Pixar-esque, which isn’t too surprising considering the game is meant to tie into the movie. Although the game doesn’t run at 60fps, there are rarely ever any frame drops considering the screen is constantly bursting with hordes of AI, explosions, and my personal favourite the volcanic barrage of nuts and bolts after swiping the area clean to have all the loot magnetized towards you so seamlessly.
Vibrant visuals and lively landscapes throughout the game are some of the most impressive graphical achievements to date on the PS4. Jetting around to familiar planets like Novalis and Pokitaru, I simultaneously felt nostalgic but also a sense of curiosity as some elements of the game were completely new when it came to various plot points, terrains and planets.
Ratchet & Clank’s combat in conjunction with it’s range of Gadgetron weaponry is some of the most addictive and satisfying mechanics in a more recent PS4 title. It seamlessly encourages players to experiment with a whole range of weapons that were not only in the first game but a variety of the games throughout the series. Ratchet’s OmniWrench 8000 is undeniably one of the most deadliest and iconic weapons, coupled with various long ranged firearms that have an intricate progression system and a talent tree in-place, which makes going up against enemy AI a well rounded, rewarding experience. For instance, the Groovitron makes enemies of all kinds, even bosses, have their own unique set of dance moves, whilst a newer edition to Ratchet’s arsenal the Pixelizer, widely praised for its creativity, is a blaster that converts enemies from 3D into pixelated 8-bit designs. A personal favourite of mine is the Glove of Doom which unleashes a frenzy of small kamikaze robots that explode on impact (really useful for attacking hard to reach blargg enemies protected by stationed turrets).