Ratchet & Clank Future

Ratchet & Clank Future - Tools of Destruction

It occurs to me that I’ve spent the last few reflections bitching at perfectly good games for no other reason than that I was weary of the hype surrounding them (or in the case of Metroid, because I had inhumane expectations), luckily I hadn’t read anything about Ratchet & Clank before I played it, neither have I played any other of the Ratchet & Clank games. It also occurs to me that I’ve called several games “the best single-player experience on the system…”, I blame it on the recent generation shift (which makes saying it in the first place pointless), and I won’t say it for Ratchet & Clank since the only other PS3 game I’ve really played is Resistance, in co-op. Ah, who am I kidding, I don’t need to defend my reasoning.

Ratchet & Clank stem from the time when platform games with adventure duos was popular and games like “Banjo Kazooie” and “Jak & Daxter” were taking names (yeah, it wasn’t that many and they were far apart, but that’s what they said at the time – don’t blame me for unimaginative journalists). These were a new breed of platform games developed solely for high-end 3D platforms, which brought them advantages which I’ll get to in a bit.

Ratchet & Clank is all about the gadgets and weapons, not entirely unlike megaman but with more open gameplay and a quirky style that I guess is what we would get if Pixar made a Futurama movie. The anthropomorphic rodent Ratchet and his Robot/backpack Clank unravels a story about an invasion, Ratchet’s unknown origins and a secret superweapon as they travel between planets in said pixar-futurama-ish sci-fi setting. Not much to say about it really.

The duo was created in the PS2 era, as such it never had to deal with the painful transformation from 2D to 3D – and it shows. The game design of Ratchet & Clank is incredibly polished – levels are varied and interesting, for every weapon there is a right and a wrong target, controls work as they should and the parts with “special” gameplay are easy enough to be passable but not so easy that they feel pointless. In short, you’re very seldom frustrated with Ratchet & Clank, for me it only happened during those rare times when savepoints were spaced too far apart – you can’t really invite to exploration and then force the player to replay half the level when s/he tries to jump over a seemingly passable chasm. It’s like you want to mail a copy to everyone in Sonic team as a visual aid – this is how 3D platform games should be done.

It seems funny that the only real gripe I have with Tools of Destruction is the number of bugs. Now, of course I’m a developer and used to looking for them so I might either notice more or be more bothered by them than the average player. However, these aren’t just cosmetic bugs – it has that too – but real showstoppers. At one part, the game simply crashed for me and I had to hard-reboot it, at another I was caught in a dialog that wouldn’t disappear and wouldn’t let me move, and all over the game I kept falling through solid objects. Close to the end of the game, this happened some 2 or 3 times in the same general area – these kinds of bugs wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t know they would be easy to fix.

Still a good game though, and a nice build-up for Mario Galaxy that I’m going to play this weekend.

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Posted on Nov 16/07 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »