The Ratchet & Clank series on PlayStation 2 are some of my all-time favourite games and their first PlayStation 3 outing, ‘Tools of Destruction’, was a day one purchase for me. With the added benefits of HD the graphics are utterly gorgeous, showing our heroes once more setting out to save the universe in all their splendour.
However, as I progressed through the game it all seemed rather familiar. Most of the weapons were the same, and although there were grind rails to zoom about and the odd puzzle, it was very much a case of seen it all before.
Ratchet may look cool with this gun, but he might need a bit more variety in weapons.
When ‘A Crack In Time’ was released in November 2009 it barely registered on my gaming radar, as once again Ratchet zips between colourful planets and cities, makes enemies dance with the disco ball and walks up walls with his sticky magnet boots. More of the same? No thanks.
Nevertheless I dropped the game in my rental queue a few weeks ago and it duly arrived and was grudgingly inserted in to my PS3. Colourful planets? Check! A couple of new weapons but mostly the same since day one? Check! Zipping between worlds in a spaceship? Che – oh – wait. New stuff!
Rather than a linear path from planet to planet, A Crack In Time introduces large areas of space which contain multiple worlds. Two or three of the worlds contain the main storyline but the smaller worlds work as spherical challenge rooms. You may be required to eliminate a certain number of enemies or traverse tricky platforming sequences. Complete the task and you will be rewarded with a schematic, a Zoni (used to upgrade your ship), a giant gold bolt or a mod for a weapon.
Clank, now trapped in the Great Clock, has his own puzzle based sections which involve time. Clank can step on pads which will record and replay his movements but as the puzzles are easy to solve they add little to the game.
Revisiting Ratchet & Clank is a bittersweet experience. The characters are as lovable as ever but I can’t help feel I have been playing the same game for the last ten years. In Hollywood it’s become common for a franchise to get a ‘reboot’ – bringing in a new creative team who keep the core elements but change everything else. If the world’s favourite Lombax is to continue on to PlayStation 4 then he may need that creative kick up the bum.