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Playback: Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time

Timey wimey stuff.

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.
Nevertheless I ploughed through the game and as soon as the PSN only title ‘The Quest For Booty’ was released I grabbed it. However, when it started with Ratchet on a colourful planet with the same weapons and…well I gave up after about twenty minutes. I was actually quite annoyed I had spent my money on what was essentially the same game as the last one.

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.


Looking fierce.
Back in the main game and it’s the usual Ratchet & Clank action; platforming, the odd puzzle and enemies to destroy. Some of the later battles are much tougher than previous games so it’s useful to deploy Mr. Zurkon. As well as attacking enemies, floating robot Mr Zurkon has some amusing one-liners and he is constantly chatting to himself; “I shall let you live little alien…psych! Mr. Zurkon lives only to kill,” and my particular favourite “Killing stuff is so much fun, do da do da, Zurkon kills them all day long, all the do da day!”

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.

13 Comments
  1. mynameisblair
    hisnameisblair
    Since: May 2009

    “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.”

    Erm… All 4 One was exactly that.

    Good read though, but I enjoyed it much more than you; it was the perfect R&C game and forwarded the series brilliantly.

    Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 17:37.
  2. Lorcan
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Oct 2008

    I was so disappointed by a crack in time. I loved Tools, and while it did have a little less variety than the PS2 games, it definitely felt like a lengthy, exciting Ratchet game. Also the story was excellent. Particularly the ending. Quest was a sadly cut down version and wasn’t particularly exciting, but it did continue the story nicely and also ended with a nice twist.
    Crack in Time was rubbish though. There was no excitement or scale to the story, in fact the whole story aspect was only saved by Nefarious’ presence (who is an endlessly fantastic/hilarious villain). The weapon numbers were slashed, a ridiculous number of them exact copies of previous weapons (not just similarly themed variants) and the levels were both smaller in size, and smaller in number. The whole game just felt like a watered down version of every other one. Yes space and clank were both different and fleshed out, but it felt to me like they had just detracted from the game rather than adding to it.

    Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 18:01.
  3. Jakster123x
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    Really enjoyed playing and platnuming this game a while back. I understand what you’re saying about the Ratchet games generally being the same, but I honestly only really want big colourful worlds with big powerful guns in space, and that’s what this game gave me

    Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 18:16.
  4. hypermidget101
    Member
    Since: Feb 2012

    I personally loved all the Ratchet games, just finished going through size matters again on my vita! I find it hard to choose my favourite, though for me it comes down to tools of destruction or crack in time, loved them both!

    Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 18:59.
  5. Jim Hargreaves
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    Wasn’t really into Tools, but Crack In Time is easily one of my current-gen favourites.

    Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 21:00.
    • aerobes
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      Interesting, I’m totally the opposite. Didn’t get along with ACiT to the point where I didn’t finish it but enjoyed ToD so much I recently completed it for the second time.

      Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 21:13.
  6. minerwilly
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    You’ve convinced me to try Tools of Destruction , never played a R&C game and it goes for less than a fiver in my local Blockies or Cash Converters.

    Comment posted on 02/03/2012 at 23:03.
  7. colmshan1990
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    I LOVED Tools of Destruction.
    I’d only played small parts of the PS2 games though.
    Quest for Booty felt just too cut down, but Tools was just great entertainment.

    Comment posted on 03/03/2012 at 00:38.
  8. TROPtastic
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    Personally I *loved* A Crack In Time. It had pretty great platforming and gunplay, fantastic space sections, and an EPIC storyline. Seriously, it was epic.

    Comment posted on 03/03/2012 at 05:46.
  9. A2J7C
    Member
    Since: Dec 2010

    I loved Tools of Destruction, i bought it pre-owned by 9£, and it was my 2nd game for the PS3 (3 years ago…) and i was amazed by the game. Excelent in many ways.
    Then i bought Crack in Time and i was stuck in some part when you travel between planets, i just stressed with the thing and sold the game.
    I regret it :( And for some time now i’ve being trying to find some good deal on a non platinum copy…

    Comment posted on 03/03/2012 at 09:08.
  10. ratkiller75
    Member
    Since: Nov 2010

    Tools of Destruction was definately the better game imo but that didn’t stop me getting almost all of th skill points and all of the Zoni, gold bolts and trophies. I do regret the difficulty settings, reckon I gave myself too easy a time (Pardon the pun). The problem with Crack in Time is that it just felt a bit fragmented and that none of the missions were really substantial enough, Tools of Destructon was much more directed and longer feeling.
    Do think a bit of innovation is needed, although All 4 One isn’t my cup of tea.

    Comment posted on 03/03/2012 at 10:30.

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