Bundles of Joy: Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank was always a strong franchise for PlayStation. Following on from Insomniac’s successful Spyro platformers on the original PlayStation, they put a new spin on the platforming genre by mixing it with a third person shooter; retaining all of the fun of a 3D platformer, along with the explosive nature of Ratchet’s arsenal of weapons and the prospect of different planets and space itself.

Tools of Destruction hit shelves a year after Resistance – Insomniac had succeeded with their gritty and sublime diversion into the shooter genre and returned to their comfort zone. As the American subtitle suggests, this was the future; a grand new story arc over two retail games and a downloadable title for Ratchet & Clank fans to enjoy, keeping all of the elements that made the main three previous instalments so delightful.

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[drop2]And it was a joy to play. Tools of Destruction retained, no – it improved the humour, platforming action and destructive weapons to create a well-rounded Ratchet & Clank game. The new upgrades and mods for weapons, along with devices such as the Groovitron made it all the more satisfying to play through. The Starfox-esque space combat sections were fun and provided some variety from being stuck on the ground. The story, with the menacing threat destroying cities and your only hope lying in a lost wormhole inducing helmet, originally crafted by the Lombaxes, adds a lot more to the canon and tells us why Ratchet is the only one left.

Or so we think, until A Crack in Time: Alister Azimuth is introduced, another Lombax, and through this even more back story is revealed. ACiT also sees the return of the nefarious Dr. Nefarious, Ratchet’s nemesis. These two things alone pave the way for, arguably, the best game in the series – although some may not appreciate it at first; it was only during my second playthrough that I realised just how good it actually was.

With the added ability to explore space freely and even visit small, Super Mario Galaxy style moons, it feels more like an open space game than any of the previous titles. This less linear approach allows for more content and a longer playtime, with many secrets hidden over the various planets. Time plays a big role, in fact; Ratchet is able to slow down time with his Chronosceptor and Clank’s time-based puzzles which involve recording himself to have multiple, holographic, Clank’s helping you solve them are extremely complex – Insomniac’s brilliance really shines through with these.

That’s not all, though: A Crack in Time features customisable weapons, extremely refined gameplay – the platforming, shooting and boss battles are especially great and the level design is top-notch. It’s a great conclusion to the Future arc and perhaps the best medley of shooting and platforming that you’ll ever play.

Start with Tools of Destruction and you’ll feel pure joy as you jump, blast and swing through the levels, upgrading your tools of destruction as you go, then move on to A Crack in Time and you’ll be rewarded with an excellent platformer with some genius weapon ideas, which feels like a massive improvement on its great predecessor. What are you waiting for? There’s no time to lose.

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24 Comments

  1. havn’t played the latest RaC games… stopped after the third one since that was the last RaC game on the PS2 i think…
    i should really have continued playing the games in the series now that i see how fun everyone say they are… *sadface*

    • Well the bundle is perfect for you :)

      • i got quest for booty on my PS3 will i miss alot in the storyline if i start playing that game??
        and besides i dont thinki got the time playing the games (and hunt for plats!) with Dead island, BF3 and Skyrim coming soon… and i have some games i havn’t finished hunting on (dead nation, Dragon Age 2, L.A Noire, MAG)
        soooo time is the thing i got least of ATM… =)

      • You absolutely must buy it!
        Tools of Destruction could be my favourite PS3 game of all time.
        The story across them is phenomenal, particularly in ToD so I would avoid QfB until you finish that one. The platinum in ACiT isn’t too bothersome to get also which is a plus if that floats your boat.
        But seriously, get it.

      • You need to make time for these games if you’re a fan, really. Quest for Booty will spoil the ending of Tools of Destructions, but it has some nice mechanics. Basically a watered down version of ToD, with some extra stuff. You’re better playing them in order when you get a chance!

      • ok just had a look and ACiT is the only one with a platinum… maybe can find me some time and just play through the story… in wich order is the games in??
        first its ToD right?? and then…

      • Then Quest, then ACiT.

      • holy shit then theres just 3 games to play through!! i thought it was like 5 of then i have missed!!!
        should find some time to play through then…
        but my mind will fail me this time again surly!!! :P

  2. I nearly have the plat on A Crack In Time. It is such a polished game, really fun.

  3. These are great fun.

  4. Fun fact: the original R&C was my first game on PS2, Tools of Destruction was my first game on PS3 and A Crack in Time was my first game on my PS3 Slim.

  5. I’ve been trying to track down a collectors edition of ACiT for ages now, for once even eBay has been failing me.

    Reading this I guess I will have to pick up ToD first, I was gonna leave it due to the lack of a platinum but if the story requires it played then that’s fine.

    Thanks Blair, good article. You might have succeeded into spurring me into getting these now :)

  6. Although Jak &Daxter led the pack, R&C brought it to a whole new level with the combat. All thoroughly enjoyable games with plenty of challenge and great humour thrroughout.

    • Love to see a J&D HD remake, with trophy support of course!

  7. Wasn’t huge on ToD or QfB, but A Crack In Time was absolutely brilliant, one of my all time PS3-favs.

    • Really? I though ACiT felt like a lesser version of ToD. The levels were fewer and smaller, the weapons were mostly recycled and the story didn’t quite have the epic feel or emotional punch of ToD either.
      I still loved it, but overall I just couldn’t help but feel it was a step down from the previous games.

      • I’m with you here! I loved TOD, thought QfB was pretty good & CiT was a bit crap! Gave up on it in the end – think the space shooting bit was piss poor padding to extend the game life!

  8. Ratchet and Clank was my favourite series after Crash Bandicoot, and the PS3 games are easily, for me, some of the best games we’ve have this generation. I wish I could afford a PS2 (or still had my PS3 Phat) so I could play the original 3 again. Wasn’t that keen on Ratchet: Gladiator, to be fair.

  9. All of them have been EXCELLENT! :P I can’t wait for the new one to;)

  10. I must find time to complete ACiT. Tools was great and QfB was a good filler, but I’m not a big fan of the spaceship shooting parts, I hated Starfox on the GC for the same reason. Well I hated Starfox for lots of reasons, still can’t beat the final boss.

    • Starfox Adventures is the only Starfox game I ever appreciated. Nintendo did so much right with the Gamecube and then failed with the Wii :c.

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