Release Date: August 28, 2012
Originally released in 2002, the “Ratchet and Clank” series holds a very special place in my heart. This was my “Mario”, my “Legend of Zelda”, this was the franchise that made me love gaming; this was the series that made me excited to get a next-gen console in order to play the next installment. These were the games I played to remind myself how to be happy when I needed it. But, now I am 22 years old and not the child I once was, and these games are ten years old or more are the landscape of gaming has changed considerably, so is my love for the lombax and his mechanical side-kick just a symptom of nostalgia, or does the series still hold up?
In the first of the three games, the Supreme Executive Chairmen Drek plans on replacing his overly polluted home world by destroying others and using the best parts of each to Frankenstein himself and his people a new planet. In the second game the bumbling Corporate President Abercrombie Fizzwidget enlist your aid to retrieve a stole “protopet”, a genetically engineered pet with a few…minor….flaws. And in the third game, the evil Doctor Nefarious declares war on all organic life.
Yes, the stories for each game are big, silly affairs that are (thankfully) far, far away from anything even closely resembling “dark” or “gritty”. These are games that are meant to be both fun and funny. Unfortunately I didn’t find myself laughing as much as I did when I was twelve years old, but the stories and their endearing silliness managed to keep me smiling. I kind of wish that latter games would have had some kind of message like the first one did (it’s not blatant, but the first game clearly has an environmentalist message to it).
This is where the review gets a bit tricky. A lot of my issues with the game play come from the fact that I played each game back to back. If all you want to know is “does it play good?” then, yes, yes it does. But for those who may have played the three included games before and might be considering picking this up, there are a few things you should know.
If the series as a whole has an issue, I would say that it suffers from what I call “Nintendo syndrome” were each game feels more like the same experience but with minor tweaks throughout the series. And that is were my first game play issue is. In the second game, strafing is introduced to the action/platformer mix. Naturally, if you bought the games as they were coming out you couldn’t expect to put the first game back into the console and expect it to have the new features introduced in later entries. But, here the games are all together and it has been 12 years since the first game came out, so why not add in the ability to strafe when it’s known that it improves the overall game? As I am not a game developer I don’t know how much extra work that would have added, but it would have been nice to see.
Another big issue with the game as a collection is that you have to quite the entire game in order to change witch game you want to play. Why any one would think that this is a good idea, I will never be able to understand.
Going back to issues I wish were fixed, the checkpoint system in each game can be some what infuriating. At it’s worst the checkpoint system still isn’t the worst i’ve ever seen, but it is never fun going back to the beginning of a level and having do each battle over again with all the ammo you used gone as well (however, all the XP and bolts, the games money, you keep as well).
So, the game play isn’t as great as I remembered from my childhood, but again, with the story, I was almost always enjoying myself. The wide verity of guns and enemies to shoot them at ever got old. The platforming, while not as in depth as a game like “portal” almost always felt like a refreshing break from the action.
Game play: 8/10
Lip syncing is noticeably off, but the voice cast still does a wonderful job. Standouts have to go to the leads and mainstays of Ratchet, Clank and Captain Quark. These three are in every game and hearing their voices always brings a smile to my face. Each gun sound great as well, even if a bit cartoonish. The sound of braking boxes, enemies grunts after being shot and the sweet, sweet sound of collecting massive amounts of bolts are all wonderful no matter how often you hear them (and you will hear them a lot).
Who is this game for:
If you ever played Mario and thought to yourself “I wish there was more combat or a better story.” then this will be right up your ally. If you ever finished playing whatever generic “realistic” military shooter you’ve chosen and thought “i kinda miss having fun” this is for you. If you are sick to death of dark, gritty games and just want to enjoy yourself, this is a game you should checkout.
Overall score: 8.6