Ratchet and Clank was first released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002. It has since emerged as one of the premier 3D platform shooters. Since that time, Insomniac has brought us eight great games spanning over the PS2, the PSP, and the PS3. So with all of this historic achievement already under the massive gun filled arsenal that is Ratchet and Clank, Insomniac had their work cut out for them in their latest installment in the series: Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty.
The game starts off with you as Ratchet, after defeating Emperor Tachyon you immediately begin to look for Clank, who was kidnapped and taken by a mysterious being named Zoni. Along for the mission with you is Talwyn, and you soon realize that Captatin Darkwater, whom you have been looking for to find Clank, is dead. After fighting on a ship, you get shot to Hoolifar Island by Rusty Pete, where you wash up on shore with nothing but your handy wrench. And there the search for Clank begins.
When you first arrive on the island you will notice that the graphics are smooth, well designed and cartoony. It’s not supposed to look drop dead gorgeous because this game is more on the comical cartoony side than anything else. Still, do not mistake cartoony for rough edges and blocky characters. The graphics look real enough to allow you to be amazed at the art, but still cartoonish enough to remind you that this is a cartoon type game and that you are a fictional character. It manages to not take itself too seriously while still having a genuine respect for the surrounding areas and the supporting characters along with the main cast.
Speaking of the main cast, the voice acting is done surprisingly well. At first glance, if you have never played the series, you may look at the character as a knock off Crash Bandicoot or something of the like. When in fact, Ratchet and everyone he comes into contact with have their own personalities. Those personalities start to show themselves early on and it is furthered by the fact that the voice acting is not only good, but believable. At no time am I playing the game where it seemed as if the voice behind the character did not fit.
The part of the voice acting that helped the overall sound of the game was the fact that, just like the graphics, the voice acting does not take itself too seriously. The game is intent on delivering a good story line with a protagonist and an antagonist along with twists and turns, but in conjunction they sill manage to throw in a little comic relief that is corny and yet funny. It is just the type of humor that kids, as well as adults, can laugh to. For example, in one instance you are trying to get a door to open and one of the supporting characters says, “We need to read the words from the book of the dead.” The following lines are then, “I’m a little tea-pot short and stout, here is my handle here is my spout.” And then the door opens. In another instance you must say the secret password to get another door to open, and the password is, “butterscotch, snickerdoodles.” Again, nothing to make you roll on the floor and laugh, but just comical enough to remind you that even though this game is serious and has a respectable story, it is still a cartoon game with a bit of a kid feel too it.
But one thing that is absolutely not simply for kids is the amount of ammo and arsenal at your disposal. In the beginning, when you crash land on the island, you do not have anything other than your wrench. This is so that you can learn the games controls and the ins and outs of some of your gear such as the Omniwrench Millenium 12 and the Swingshot. Once you finish a certain task on the island you begin to slowly accumulate your arsenal of weapons. These can range from the simple, the Magma Combuster which shoots fireballs, to the absurd, the Tornado Launcher, which launches a Tornado that is surprisingly pretty simple to control with the SIXAXIS motion controller. Other gadgets include the Fusion Grenade, which is a thermonuclear hand grenade and the Lightning Ravager, which is a whip with lightning attached to it. There are other gadgets that you accumulate throughout the game as well that were not mentioned. All of these gadgets have the ability to level up and become stronger the more that they are use.
Since Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty is a 3D platformer you would think that there might be problems with the camera. As many hours as I’ve played I couldn’t tell you that there is much of a problem. If anything it is the same problem one might run into on any 3D platformer, and that reason can vary with each individual player. Overall it worked fine, the only thing I would mention as a negative is the inability to press a button, such as R3, and have the camera automatically be behind you. This is just one small nuance that I have been used to having in other platformers, but it is by no means a huge deal.
Gameplay is what you would expect. It can be fast paced, it can be slow, it can be run run run run run, or it can be a patient waiting game. But for the most part it is simply in one word, fun. Whether it be blasting people away with our Magma Combuster or tilting your SIXAXIS controller to control your Tornado Launcher, it’s classic Ratchet and Clank and it’s a fun experience. At first, I thought that (on normal) the game was rather hard since you do not have many points for your health to work with. And then I found out, to my surprise, the game is extremely forgiving, at least in the early stages.
At times I would be doing great in a certain mission or task, and then I’d die. To my surprise when I came back to life, certain doors that I had blown through were still blown through; weapons I had leveled up, were still leveled up; and all in all, through big fights there were a lot of chances to get more health and to get more ammo for my guns and other gadgets that I had. This game really pushes you to succeed (in normal mode) and it is much more fun because of that fact. The one area that most impressed me was the lateral strafing and jumping. Strafing is what you’d expect, move side to side to dodge bullets and enemies. But the fact that I was able to jump side to side as well as I was able to move from side to side was an enormous tactical advantage that I had in a game. This aspect of maneuvering doesn’t require too much thinking as is true with some other parts of the game.
All in all, if you are a fan of the series you will no doubt be impressed with Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty. And you absolutely know what to expect: gadgets and guns are this franchises staple. If you are new to the series this is not a hard game to pick up on. You might be a little confused as to why someone who looks like a cat, or a fox, or whatever you think he might be, is looking for a little robot, but it will all make sense in time. During that time, you should be able to crank out hours of fun in Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty.