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.
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.