I have never played Ratchet and Clank – on any platform. OK, so maybe that’s not the best way to start a review about a game. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not that I don’t like Ratchet and Clank, or that I’m not a fan of the series – I’ve just never really played it. So, with that in mind, this review is going to come from a totally neutral position – the game isn’t going to be compared to any previous editions of the title, and so in that way, we’ll get a totally unbiased score at the end…hopefully.
Insomniac Games latest rendition of the series comes in the form of Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction on the PS3. You play as Ratchet, who has a trusty robotic companion going by the name Clank. Throughout the game, you’ll be put against various robotic and organic enemies, in a humorous and addictive world.
In Tools of Destruction, the story centres around Ratchet, who is fleeing from Emperor Tachyon. This Cragmite is on a hunt for the last few remaining Lombaxes, which is what Ratchet is! So in a desperate attempt to get away, Ratchet and Clank escape to another galaxy, but still somehow manage to run into more trouble in the shape of robotic and organic enemies.
There seems to be a tongue-in-cheek approach to the game, with funny one-liners and hilarious looking enemies, running throughout the title. It’s actually quite a refreshing change to have a bit of humour thrown in here and there.
Ratchet and Clank has always (apparently) showcased plenty of ingenious weapons and gadgets, and Tools of Destruction is no different. Ratchet sports both a hand-held close range weapon, and a long-range shooter. Along with that, there are plenty of “devices” that can be purchased with bolts (we’ll go into that a bit more in a minute), ranging from standard plasma grenades to hilarious disco balls which, when thrown, will flash disco lights and music at your enemy, temporarily distracting them and causing them to get down on the dance floor!
New weapons and devices can be purchased with the galaxy currency: Bolts. Bolts are collected whenever you destroy an enemy, or anything for that matter! There seems to be a similarity between Lego Star Wars and Ratchet; randomly attacking lampposts and boxes will reveal more bolts, which can eventually be used to increase your inventory.
Once you’ve got the perfect inventory of weapons and gadgets, you can upgrade them with crystals. These crystals are a lot harder to find, and are usually stashed within a larger enemy. The whole weapon system works really well, with certain weapons only working against specific enemies, whilst others are too weak against the bigger foes.
The biggest problem with the huge array of weapons and devices, however, is that sometimes it can become a bit of a pain to have to traipse through. With a huge plethora of weapons, it can become somewhat of a hassle to have to constantly be picking through various weapons until you find one that suits your enemy – especially later on in the game when you’ve built up quite a selection.
Tools of Destruction plays really well. As expected of a PS3 title, there is no slow-down at all. The movement and battles are smooth, and the whole feel of the game is addictive and fun to play. The only minor gripe is to do with the AI. A lot of the time, enemies seem to be somewhat stupid. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to playing titles now with clever AI who take cover and avoid making a fool of themselves, but the enemies in Tools of Destruction just seem to stand and shoot, with very little challenge once you’ve worked out what seems to be their scripted movement. That being said though, it somehow doesn’t seem to detract from the fun of the game.
Ratchet and Clank not only plays great, but it looks great too. The title steers towards the cartoon look and feel, but the fact that it’s on the PS3 means that everything is slightly more detailed, and extremely smooth. Although on the surface the graphics may look simple, if you stop and pay close attention, you’ll notice that actually it’s really quite intricate, with plenty of detail going into the characters and the environments. And in high-definition, the bright and colourful world is a joy to behold.
There’s just something about this title that makes me want to go and play it again and again. Maybe it’s the superb weapon selection, the humorous story and characters, or the intuitive game play elements; I can’t quite put my finger on it. Whatever it is, Ratchet & Clank is a great 3D platform title, with plenty to do for all ages. If you loved the previous titles in the series, I can imagine this one being a fantastic addition to the series. If you’ve never played it before, like me, but you’re a secret lover of 3D platform titles, this is by far the best one around.