Hands-On Preview: Ratchet and Clank

This might be a reboot/re-imagining I can genuinely get behind. The first Ratchet and Clank is still a beloved game, but will be 14 years old by the time the new Ratchet & Clank releases. The game is a tie in to the movie, which itself is based on the original game, something Insomniac is well aware of as evidenced by the recent trailer’s title. Thankfully, both the humor and variety of weapons are intact, and both are presented in a very impressive graphics engine.

Ratchet and Clank share a much more friendly relationship than the original, as Ratchet is not a jerk to Clank the way he was in the first game. They appear to be good pals already, although I don’t have a good indicator of how far in story the two demo levels took place. Qwark will return, although it appears his nasty intentions from the original carry over into this one, as Ratchet is thrown unprepared into a boss encounter by his “captain.” The voice acting sounds different, although all the voice actors return to reprise their roles.

Also returning is Insomniac’s penchant for crafting a unique and varied arsenal of weapons for players to use. Some such weapons used in the demo was the Groovatron, which deploys a disco ball causing an area of effect dance to occur, leaving enemies open to attack. Another is a robot companion who shouts insults as he shoots enemies. The Pixelizer will turn enemies into 8-bit versions of themselves, who are open for one hit kills when transformed. It continues the trend of enemy transformation that was first seen with the Morph-o-ray. The Neutron Bomb can lock onto enemies or be thrown and split into smaller bombs after the initial explosion. Other standard weapons include energy pistol, rocket launcher, and flamethrower.

The first demo had Ratchet and Clank in Metropolis, attempting to stop a bomb from going off in the Hall of Heroes. You fight metal dogs, Blargians, and airships, though none prove to be much of a challenge for your arsenal. Difficulty isn’t something Ratchet and Clank attempts though, and instead focuses on being fun and colorful, which it easily achieves. Ratchet’s humor returns, mostly in the cutscenes, and Clank didn’t have many lines, unfortunately.

The second demo was a boss battle against a Blargian Snagglebeast, who is much larger and more intimidating this tie around. He also took quite a beating before being taken down, allowing me to try out all my available weapons on him and the small minions that would appear every so often.

Everything I played felt finalized, although they were just two small sections of what will most likely be much larger adventures. The puzzle aspect didn’t appear sadly, and I hope they bring back the strong emphasis on gadgets and puzzle solving that the original also featured. It won’t be out until early next year when the movie is released, which is a little disheartening since everything else is also releasing early 2016. Despite that, I’m very much looking forward to the final version of Ratchet and Clank.

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Steven Santana

Born in Queens, raised in Vegas, living in Vancouver. 25, loves dogs, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and long form video critiques.

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