Ratchet and Clank (PS4) Review

Ken McKown

A refined arsenal.

The Ratchet and Clank series has been around for a long time. It has had its ups and downs for sure, more of the latter recently, but the love the series receives is certainly justified. Now it feels like Ratchet is back in the spotlight. This latest game is based on the movie, which is based on the game, and is actually a reboot of the series. As confusing as it sounds, it feels great to have Ratchet and Clank back in the spotlight of gaming.

Ratchet and Clank is a remake of the original game that was released on PlayStation 2 back in 2002. Of course there have been a lot of enhancements to game mechanics since then. This new version streamlines the upgrade system, simplifies the controls, and adds in plenty of new flavor to make it feel fresh. It has been over a decade since the first game hit store shelves, and this new iteration feels just as new and exciting as the original did when it released.

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MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: PS4
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Time to Beat: 9-12 hours

One of the biggest sticking points for the series has been its exceptional writing and characters. When the game launched in 2002 it was reaching for the same standard as a Pixar animated film. It is only fitting that now in 2016 it finally cashes in on that lofty goal. Not only is the game reaching those high levels, but it also has an animated movie accompanying the release.

This new Ratchet is not just a rehash of the original though. More dialogue and sequences have been added to flesh out the already whimsical cast. The best part is, it isn’t fluff. All the cutscenes are well-directed and interesting. The story is entertaining, and although I hate the use of the word, this is likely the most charming game I have played this year. The production values are off the charts.

Game play has also seen many improvements. The upgrade system is more streamlined now. Ratchet has an overall XP meter that increases his health with each increment. Weapons upgrade as they are used, as well as collecting crystals that can be used to apply upgrades via a grid, which include things such as adding more ammo. These upgrades can also unlock secret enhancements when combined, making each one worth investigating.

There are also cards that can be collected. With each complete set Ratchet gains a new buff such as collecting more bolts or cards. Duplicates can also be traded in for missing cards in a set. What seemed like a throwaway addition quickly became an addiction. I was scouring levels looking for cards, because the buffs were worth the effort.

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Probably the most impressive thing about Ratchet and Clank though, is the visuals. This game is gorgeous and it never misses a beat. I was snapping screenshots constantly throughout my playthrough. Every planet is a new visual treat, and there are oftentimes so many things firing off onscreen, any other game would likely buckle under the load, but not Ratchet. The game blazes past all the insane action happening, including screen-filling bosses and hundreds of bolts and particle effects flying around on screen. Screenshots do not do it justice, this game is beautiful.

Ratchet and Clank is a prime example of a genre of game we don’t get too often anymore. Top that off with the fact that it is immaculately constructed and this game is a must own for every PlayStation 4 owner. Insomniac Games continues to prove why their games are always highly anticipated, and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Absolutely gorgeous
  • Refined game play
  • Great collectible system
  • Genuinely funny
  • Superbly crafted

Bad

  • We really need more games like this
9

Excellent

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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