I don’t know if any of you got a chance to review my impressions on Assassin’s Creed 2, but I’d like to give some of my thoughts about the latest installment in the Ratchet and Clank series. In this episode, Ratchet must find Clank who is lost somewhere and the story begins with both Ratchet and Clank switching story lines back and forth. This allows you, the player, to experience a few new tricks up both Ratchet’s and Clank’s sleeves.
First the old weapons are pretty much still there, bomb glove, pistol, wrench, groovitron, buzzblades, etc. The new weapons added, and boy are they fun, include the rift generator, a device which accesses another universe to allow a multi-tentacled creature to come through and dispose of your enemies for you, or at least inflict a heck of a lot of damage. Another new weapon is the Dynamo of Doom. This weapon creates a variable sized energy ball that rolls over and through enemies in a given direction for a specific period of time and then dissipates. Once upgraded, this weapon can be very damaging to even a Hydra tank, just make sure to get some upgrades before taking on one of those with that weapon. Another new addition,a gadget not a weapon mind you, are the hover boots. These are a necessary addon for Ratchet though since most of the game is played sans Clank, which means no copter jumping or life saving hover flights without some sort of replacement capability. You do have to earn these goodies though and they’re not exactly cheap, but they are fun to earn.
It’s all about the upgrades
Another thing new in this version of the series is that the sector maps are pretty much gone, and thank goodness. No more watching a ship flying in the same sort of looping sequences over and over each time you travel to another location. Instead, you actually get to fly from place to place, interact with people along the way, perform side quests and gather upgrades in the form of weapon cases or Zoni. I don’t want to give too much away, but the Zoni are much more important in this game than in the previous ones. Your ship is also an upgradable component and there are some pretty cool weapons and components to be had. It makes flying from place to place much more convenient and really works for the whole side questing business.
There is also this idea of arena fighting. This has been done before, but now it’s a lot more challenging and fun. Oh yeah, the wrench has also been upgraded for this game as well, and it’s now possible to use this new wrench to do things remotely, or from a distance at least. One new thing you can use the new wrench for as wells to pick up bombs that different enemies might throw at you to help you defeat them. This capability comes in especially helpful during these arena challenges, but alas, I’ve not found any upgrades for this weapon. I suppose that’s ok, but I was just hoping for some kind of Easter egg.
The new Clank
Not to be left out of the new capability madness, Clank has a couple, but highly effective, new abilities through most of the game. One thing is the time staff weapon, if you can truly call it that. With the staff Clank can hit projectiles back where they were launched from increasing Clank’s capabilities dramatically so he’s not nearly as frail or limited as in previous games. Since Clank has this new gadget/weapon, he also gains the ability to slow time. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll say it can be highly useful throughout the game.
Lastly, once the game is over, Insomniac Games took replay seriously, more so than just being an awesome game or letting you reload an old game, they integrated replay capabilities directly into the story so once you’ve finished the game, you’ll be able to go directly back to other points in the game to finish gathering gold bolts, find Zoni, complete other side quests, etc … all the while, being able to “travel back” to the end of the game. I must say, this is a feature I wasn’t sure about at first, but I can tell you now that I appreciate it very much having beaten the game and wanting to go back and finish the arena’s for example, or get some upgrades I really wanted. There are some side quests I won’t go into too deeply, but I will just say that there are these moons and security satellites that offer their own types of individual challenges depending on the sector you’re in and what gadgets or upgrades you possess. It’s little things like that which make this rendition of Ratchet and Clank one of the most fun games I’ve played in a long time and given much needed revamping to the game play interface of the genre.
My Last Thoughts
So in closing let me just give a huge Thanks to Insomniac … I really, really, loved this game. I can only imagine what’s next for this awesome duo since all of these changes could really change the way we play future Ratchet and Clank games. The only one thing I can complain about is that under the “community” section, there’s no social networking integration like Twitter updates or Facebook posts. I’m not complaining too much, but it would just be cool. I mean, Assassin’s Creed 2 also includes some sort of Social Networking integration, albeit only sponsored by Ubisoft’s own gaming social network, but it’s something and I could post stats to twitter if I so chose by at least doing so manually with a link to the website. And so, for a game as awesome as this new episode of RnC is, this is a relatively small complaint in my opinion, it’s just a nice to have, not a must have. Pick up this latest RnC when you can. I think you’ll be glad you did, and Happy gaming!