Remasters of classic games from past generations has become all the rage in gaming. As fun as it is to revisit them on current-gen hardware it can sometimes be just a fresh coat of paint.
Ratchet & Clank bucks the trend with the reimagining of the PS2 classic.
I’ve only played one Ratchet & Clank game which was Going Commando on PS2, way back in 2003. I was more of a Jak & Daxter kid during that time (Another excellent Sony platformer). Not that I didn’t like it. I never went out of my way to dig into the series.
Billed as “the game based on the movie which is based on the game” (a mouthful, I know). Ratchet & Clank on PS4 is a new jumping-on point for newcomers as it reboots the series and it re-tells the first game’s story where Ratchet, a plucky Lombax who wants to be a galactic ranger, meets a robot called Clank and they travel the galaxy to stop Drek, an evil chairman.
Right off the bat, the visuals look incredible. This game feels like a Pixar film come to life. Each game in the series came closer and closer to that and Insomniac reached their goal thanks to the PS4’s more advanced graphical horsepower. The lighting gives each planet in the game it’s own personality and the character models are such a far cry from the PS2 days, You can count the hairs on Ratchet’s ears.
The gameplay is fantastic. It’s a blend of run ‘n’ gun combat and platforming, which is what drew me into it initially. What’s new here is over-the-shoulder aiming and it gave the already solid gunplay the precision only suited to first-person shooters. The weapons are so funny and creative. The Pixelizer is my favorite weapon. You can reduce enemies to old-school pixels. Mr. Zurkon who spews these 80’s action hero one-liners while providing back-up. You can upgrade and level up your weapons with an RPG-like progression system which begs plenty of replay value (that’s what New Game + is for).
Clank can get upgrades throughout the game, including a jetpack!
Another new addition is card collection where it can give you added perks such as more bolts (to buy weapons), more raritarium (to upgrade weapons) and Omega variants of weapons and each card set provides backstory on the lore from each game which is very cool. The level design is very Metroidvania in a sense. There are hidden secrets that encourage you to explore the worlds even more and to take in some awesome eye candy while you’re at it.
The voice acting is charmingly hilarious. James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye reprise their roles of Ratchet and Clank. There’s also some Hollywood players such as John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, Paul Giamatti and Sylvester Stallone. Let’s not forget that it’s a Ratchet & Clank game first, a movie tie-in second.
My only gripe is that revisiting worlds can feel rather lonely when you’re grinding to level up weapons. There’s little cannon fodder in each world after doing all the secondary objectives.
Ultimately, this is more than just a simple remastering. This is a distillation of what made the series great from it’s excellent weapon system to it’s charming, hilarious story and wonderful and unique worlds. Looking this good on the PS4 is just the icing on the cake. It’s a big galaxy, so get out there and explore it!