Our favourite Lobax-robot duo is back, this time on the PlayStation 4. Ratchet & Clank tells the story of how the Lombax and little robot became a team, and hopefully ushers in a new era for 3D platformers.
by Thijs Kaagman
The story of this new Ratchet & Clank game requires some explanation, because it's a game, based on a movie, based on a game. Wait what?
At the same time the game hits the stores, a Ratchet & Clank movie will appear in theaters. That movie is based on the origin stories of Ratchet and Clank. In a way it's just the story of the very first game from 2002, but smoothed out a little. A few characters were added, the story takes a few shortcuts, you know the drill.
The movie is pretty funny, by the way. Me and Linda visited an early screening and even though it's heavily marketed at kids and had Dutch voice-acting (something adults usually hate in The Netherlands) there were some genuinely enjoyable moments in there. It's also a very nice introduction to the characters, story and universe of the videogames.
And that's exactly the point, because as I said the new Ratchet & Clank videogame is based on this movie. In some ways, this is a brilliant move. The game looks so good, for example, that they are able to use scenes from the movie as cutscenes in the game. But at certain points, the game seems to take some shortcuts in the story, relying on the movie to fill in the gaps. Even though it sounds like a paradox; knowing exactly where the story is going made it a bit confusing at certain points.
In other parts of the story, the game does the opposite. There's entire planets with sub-plots and characters that don't appear in the movie. So in the end the whole movie vs game idea does balance out. Sort of.
Back to the game itself then, which is brilliant in all other aspects. First of all; it looks amazing. Even when you're in a city or an industrial area, the world is full of colours, bright neon lights, lush environments and crazy monsters. The PS4's increased power is used to draw an impressive amount of different objects on your screen, with loads of stuff happening in the background as well.
The gameplay itself is smooth and the controls work great. One moment you're jumping across floating platforms (it's a platformer, after all), next you're smashing robots into a big pile of nuts and bolts (the game's currency) and before you know it you're dashing across a futuristic racetrack on a hoverboard. There's also loads of over-the-top guns, my favourite being a gun that turns enemies into 8bit pixel sprites.
We can only hope Ratchet & Clank ushers in a new era of 3D platformers. Seeing how well this game works on a next-gen console, I'm really excited to see what Naughty Dog can do with a new Jak & Daxter, for example.
Ratchet & Clank is now available through the PlayStation Store for €34,99 (£29,99).