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8 game series challenge: Ratchet and Clank

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Series: Ratchet & Clank



A friend of mine recommend this series to me, and I pretty much fell in love with it like he did. Everything in this series is just stellar. Although Ratchet and Clank is a series that I think had some real growing pains, but it managed to make the most of the lessons it had. While there isn't much doubt in my mind that the first game is the worst game in the series, even that game showed what potential the series had, and to see all that potential happen in the next game really made me enjoy this series all the more. While it did have some minor hiccups with the PSP and PSN games, they were at least enjoyable to play and it never felt like a chore to go through any of these games. If anything they just proved that Ratchet and Clank was pretty much need on consoles with enough play time to enjoy them fully. †As time grew on the characters, humor, and gameplay constantly grew with it and it never really seemed to miss a beat with growth. Into the Nexus gives a lot of hope for the future as R&C seemed to had an identity crisis with Full Frontal Assault and All 4 One, but Nexus assured us that Insomniac will always know how to make a proper Ratchet and Clank game. Overall this is just an amazing series, and I suggest everyone play these games or at least most of them.

What I want the next game to be like?

Honestly Nexus really want me to have more emotional Ratchet and Clank games like Crack in Time. Insomniac seems to know how blend emotion with humor so well and the while the length of Nexus was a bit annoying I really did enjoy the game a whole bunch. Crack in Time will always be my favorite though because of all the satellite exploring in each galaxy and thatís something that needs to return. So I suppose I just want the next Ratchet and Clank game to be like Crack in Time when it comes down to it. Although a movie tie in game would be pretty great to see to, but I'm worried it won't be great because of how often movie games are rushed.



Series ranked
R&CF: A Crack in Time > R&CF: Tools of Destruction > R&C: Up Your Arsenal > R&C: Into the Nexus > R&C: Going Commando > R&C: All 4 One > Ratchet: Deadlocked > R&CF: Quest for Booty > R&C: Size Matters >= R&C: Full Frontal Assault > Ratchet and Clank

Games Omitted:

Secret Agent Clank: Reason: really seemed like a spin off game in the series compared to others, and I was never able to get a hold of it.

R&C: Going Mobile: It was a cell phone game that didnt look good and I honestly dont think Ill be able to acquire

R&C: Before the Nexus: Its an endless run game on top of a phone game that won't work properly on my phone. When I get a better phone that can run it Ill probably play it, and it does look fun to play.

Individual Thoughts on each game:

Ratchet & Clank: date beat 1/16/13



Thoughts:

Having now played all three of the trio of platforming games for the PS2, Ratchet& Clank, Sly Cooper, and Jax & Daxter, I can safely say that Ratchet & Clank is the weakest of them all. Look, the game itself isnít really bad per say, but there certainly isnít anything grabbing about it. Everything in this game is just almost, but not quite with it. The story is there, but it certainly does have a very formulaic and somewhat forced funny side to it. The combat is there, but itís often sluggish and hard to control. The music is there, but itís mostly drowned out by the SFX noises. †The platforming is there, and well, actually the platforming is probably the best part of Rachet & Clank honestly. Just a lot of Ratchet & Clank felt like they had it going for them, and just kinda dropped the ball somewhere.

Please donít take these comments as such a threat to a series mind you, Iím well aware that it gets better and that its formula works well. Much of the game is still the same kind of platformer I remember growing up with, but with a lot of extra toys that are throw in to help spice up gameplay. You still visit different levels or planets in this case, you still find your main objectives, you still have collectibles, and you still have secrets to unlock while playing the game. Thatís really about it. I suppose the fault I actually have with Ratchet & Clank is that itís just rather average. Save for the weapons you actually get throughout; youíre really just playing another platformer. A lot of the weapons are neat and interesting, but they never really do much to make an impact on the game. I was using my wrench the majority of the time just hitting enemies like I normally do because frankly it was just easier to deal with. The weapons that you get, while more powerful than the wrench, are simply too difficult to really deal with. Aiming simply isnít that easy while being shot at and without a sidestep or strafing it just means I have to take a moment to adjust my view, fire and hope it hits, then dodge. Such work is just too much the majority of the time, and the wrench is simply better at handling most problems youíre dealing with because it doesnít use ammo.

The major thing I have to really complain about though is the constant need to go back and forth between worlds. While I can easily agree with the idea that R&C doesnít make you back track a lot during the missions, I disagree that R&C has †little backtracking. In fact, I say that a lot of the game is devoted to going back and forth between planets just to find new paths because you acquired a new item. Itís not so much that it feels like bad level design or anything of the sort, but itís just a constant thing that happens and it gets annoying seeing the same loading screen, err, ship again and again. I like to just get everything in a level and be done with it and move on, but for the majority part of R&C youíre always coming back to find more stuff if you want to 100% it. Also the music selection in the game is just rather disappointing; from what could have been really good sci-fi action music ends up being just a few notes of bleeps and boops that loop incorrectly. Perhaps the biggest problem I have with the music though is the fact that the boss battles arenít reflected in them. Nothing just really feels big in Rachet & Clank and that just makes me wish there was. Itís a game that could have had it all, but it just fails to build up all the way there, and they had all the tools for it too.

Final Thoughts:

Rachet & Clank is so close to being something really awesome, but it just never quite makes it there. Everything is almost with it, and while itís a decent platformer in its own right, the game itself needs a lot of fixes with combat and atmosphere to make it really stand out. Thankfully this is only the start of a series and not what the series has become, and if this is its starting point, Iím sure it will get better. †

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando: Date Beat 1/23/13



Thoughts:

Having beaten Ratchet and Clank and then playing a little bit of Going Commando I knew for a fact that this game was miles and above better than the first. Everything about the first is improved and made better. The weapons are better, the combat is better, the story is better, everything is just better. I feel like I shouldnít play the 1st game ever again because I know that Going Commando is simply superior. It really just amazes me that Insomniac games was able to make a far better game within a yearsí time. All the problems with the first are nearly fixed and made better, as well Going Commando tends to introduce new variations that make me glad the series kept going. Everything that was also good about the first was also made better in context and overall itís just a really good game. †

Gameplay in Going Commando certainly is more combat focused and less frustrating thanks to the upgrade system and the ability to strife. The weapons you get are often varied enough that each handles differently and anyone can get their own personal favorite because of it, personally a fan of the mr. zurkon bots and mini turrets. The puzzle solving minigames this time can be a bit tedious, but they often provide to be a nice little challenge overall. Although I have to say that the gadgets this time around werenít used as often as I remember from the first game, but I canít really say this is a good or bad thing. Going Commando is simply a different game, and geared more to combat then puzzle solving. But it does seem like gadgets were put aside this time in favor of weapons. The enemies in this game though, especially in the end, really just require too much time to take down then they really should have. I really think this could have been solved easily enough if the player was either given more ammo per weapon, the weapons actually did more damage, or the enemies simply didnít have so much health. The game kinda guides you thru 70% of the game, but once you hit that percent, the game just spikes up in difficulty. It gets really annoying how many enemies can be on screen at once, and you can hit them over and over again only to see them get back up. Course this is countered by having a lot of weapons in your arsenal, which I didnít have the majority of the game because I was foolishly trying to get the Ryno II on my first run.

The atmosphere in the game was far better than its predecessor and a lot of the worlds simply have more personality compared to the last game. The music is actually noticeable this time around too which made for a much more enjoyable experience. My favorite time actually playing through this game though would be going through the ice level and collecting all the moon rocks. Just something about exploring the area with a bunch of enemies felt right and really made me wish that ratchet and clank would focus there levels to be more like that then going from planet A to get to planet B.

Final Thoughts:†
Music, atmosphere, story, combat, weapons, anything Ratchet and Clank did, Going Commando did better. Aside from still sticking to a formulaic design of going from planet to planet, and an enemy difficultly spike near the end of the game; Going Commando proves that some games just need a sequel to truly shiny.

Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters Date beat 1/24/13



Thoughts:

Going into Size Matters I kinda knew it wouldnít be good, itís still a decent game and all, but the early PSP games that received a lot of ďamazingĒ scores were often over-exaggerated because the PSP simply didnít have that many games. Again, itís still a decent game, and frankly I find it to be a bit more fun than the first Ratchet and Clank game, if only slightly. But Size Matters only really considerable selling point that it makes to the R&C series is that itís the ďfirstĒ decent portable R&C game.

Size Matters simply has too many flaws with it to even say itís a good game however, and certainly shouldnít be passed as one. For one, itís pretty dang obvious that the game is not designed for a PSP control scheme. There are just too many buttons that the R&C series uses to make it work on a portable system without giving something up; this causes a lot of problems by mixing and matching buttons that were originally not supposed to work the way they do in Size Matters. Honestly, the camera is the least of the playerís worries because the bigger problem to address is the strafing mechanic. Switching from the D-pad to the Circle pad or vice versa just to strafe is often confusing and annoying. Itís really just a hassle that shouldnít be and pretty much makes the same mistake the first R&C did. Also why they have racing in this game I will never know, the least that can be said for it, it doesnít work. The story too is rather bare bones, it resolves just enough to make it watchable, but it certainly is nowhere near the story telling of the other R&C games. Really it just feels like Sony was grasping at straws here just trying to get the PSP some legs to stand on rather than actually trying to make a good game.

That being said though, Size Matters I donít think is a terrible game, I find it rather decent. Sure the controls are a bundled of mess and the story isnít good, but itís still a portable adventure. The combat is light, the areas are somewhat smaller, and the platforming is even lighter, but just having this mini adventure feels just a bit nice to actually have. As well, a lot of the guns in this game arenít all that bad, and some are rather creative, and in my honest opinion better than the 1st R&C weapons. †The graphics themselves look really nice on the small PSP screen and make all the smaller worlds pop out at least enough to make it enjoyable on the eyes. The areas themselves can often be forgettable, but they at least yield for a small amount of exploration, and atmosphere. All the classic sounds are still here and the music, while somewhat forgettable as well, still stands out.

Final Thoughts:

Itís a shame that Size Matters seemed so rushed out of the door, if given enough time I think it would have made for an excellent addition for the Ratchet and Clank series. However, what we are left with is pretty much a semi decent game with a baffling control scheme and mediocre story. But hey, itís a portable Ratchet and Clank game, at least.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal date beat: 2/4/13



Thoughts:

Having now played a fair share of Ratchet & Clank and hearing praise about up your arsenal, Iím glad to report that it is all that with some chips. While I canít say for sure, Up Your Arsenal may be the best Ratchet & Clank game out there. They finally got the mix of combat and platforming well enough that it produces great results. The game truly felt like Isonomic learned from their mistakes and just made everything better. While Going Commando was a huge improvement on the first game, Up Your Arsenal is a great improvement on Going Commando.

Simply starting out this game just feels great and it really does get quite addicting. All the levels have atmosphere to them, and feel different enough that you never really get bored going to another planet. The weapons this time around are all pretty much useful in some way and are just really interesting. The characters finally play off each other well with already established relationships and great delivery. The story is far more interesting this time around too as it introduces Dr. Nefarious, a great humorous antagonist. All the RPG elements introduce in Going Commando also come back with a huge improvement with the ability to upgrade weapons more throughout the game. They even added a couple of neat little power up boxes that make you invincible or double the amount of bolts you get. Frankly, itís all the little changes that truly make Up Your Arsenal worthwhile. †

Some may not like Up Your Arsenals new features like the tower defense style play, but I personally think itís a wonderful addition to the series. It just makes Ratchet & Clank more focused on combat rather than platforming and with some of the missions you can still explore the area which makes it all the more fun. It really just feels more like a battlefield then some sort of platforming game, and I think thatís where the other two games failed to deliver. Up Your Arsenal just offers more combat goodness then the other Ratchet and Clank games and really thatís where it has always excellence at. Sure this makes the game a far more linear experience compared to the previous two, but I really donít think Ratchet and Clank works well in that regard. And aside from one or two levels that have some bad checkpoint placing, the majority of Up Your Arsenal is very forgiving.

Final Thoughts:

Up Your Arsenal is, perhaps, the defining Ratchet & Clank game. It focuses far more on combat, weapons, and humor then any of the past games did while still having enough platforming to spread it out and thatís what makes it better. With multiplayer to deal with and challenge mode being double the fun as the first run was, makes this great game greater.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One - date beat 2/6/13



Thoughts:

This game was technically the first Ratchet and Clank game I played because my friend wanted me to join him in beating it along with a few other friends. It turned out to be a really fun time, and we decided to keep playing it till we beat it. Aside from a few hiccups and when and where people were able to meet we were finally able to beat it today.

All 4 one is a bit of a long Co-op game, but certainly is entertaining enough to not drag on. The game can be a bit hard at times near the end too, but this point becomes moot once people upgrade the zoni blaster and most importantly, the critter strike. At which point the game becomes laughably easy to manage and there really is no need to use the vast majority of weapons anymore. While the game does have a lot of cool new weapons, along with a few returning ones, there really isnít much of a point to use half of them as they are just rather hard to manage compared to the others. The weapon balancing in this game is simply too broken and only about 5 of the weapons are ever really worth using. As well the individual weapons were a nice addition, but overall just didnít impact the game as much as it probably should have. On top of that, a lot of the puzzles were simply 2 people press buttons at the same time or using each other to launch them to a place where you normally couldnít. Overall it just felt like the Co-op for this game was more so forced in then actually made for it. This is a shame because the game practically sells itself as a Co-op experience; when it could have just been better with a more defined single player experience. By simply taking out or focusing less on Co-op it could have been possible to make the game a lot more about exploration or full engaged combat fields compared to a bunch of players must get from point A to point B to finish the level.

The story itself is also quite entertaining and does have its funny moments throughout, but the majority of the music is really just lost between the louder, more iconic sound effects, and friends shouting at you. The graphics and overall atmosphere in this game is astoundingly pretty, and really lets you see the PS3ís power if you would just pay attention to some of the background or look at some of the cutscenes, but is easily lost through the heat of battle.

Final Thoughts:

All 4 one seemed to sacrifice what could have been a far better single player experience into a rather average Co-op experience, riddled with simple puzzles and an unbalanced weapon arsenal. But not all is lost in transition, and the game still provides for an entertaining story and a somewhat long, but enjoyable co-op run.

Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault ~ Date Beat 3/29/13



Thoughts:

Ratchet and Clank has been through a lot of games, but Full Frontal Assault seems a lot less like their previous adventures together. Sure, a lot of games have been going through this new multiplayer craze and been adding them to all their franchises, Mario, God of War, and even Portal, but Ratchet and Clank has never really felt fitting for the multiplayer experience. Itís nice to have the ability to play against friends and such, but the art of single player is getting lost more and more. And I for one consider Ratchet and Clank to be best in a single player experience. I'm not saying the multiplayer is bad, but it certainly isn't a necessity to sell such a game.

The game plays decently like a tower defense game, with the ability to go out and explore a bit against the enemy or get money for upgrades. Then when the time comes the wave phase happens and you have to defend yourself against it and vice versa for your enemy, hence tower defense. But really it just feels like a tower defense game with Ratchet and Clank characters than a Ratchet and Clank game. The weapons R&C usually have are kinda held back in favor of more defense oriented combat rather than fun combat solutions and really it feels more like a big tease than anything else. Like its probably good as a tower defense game, but its selling itself to the wrong audience. It looks like a duck and talks like a duck, but it aint no R&C game. †

Seriously, we haven't had a good Ratchet and Clank experience in a while and to see a game series I have come to like turn into this saddens me. There are just some problems with this game that I just have with it, like seriously, why was this game tower defense? R&C had some elements of defending areas in their games, but nothing like this, and certainly not to this degree. R&C was all about combat and the unique weapons you got to kill others with. This is just using the same old weapons in a somewhat new way. Really it just saddens me that this is considered a major game in the series. I mean, even the single player is only 5 levels long. Thatís not nearly as half as full of an adventure as the previous R&C were. And while I understand that this game is originally only sold for 20$, why make it a retail release? Why not make it downloadable? Wouldn't that be the wiser option here? Why not just sell it for a little less and not even bother with single player. For all purposes, this is a multiplayer game, and the single player campaign is rather pathetic in terms of what they use to be. Just a lot the single player campaign fell so short in comparison that it really doesnít feel like this was suppose to be a Ratchet and Clank game at all. It just feels like a game made to sell. Also why can't I fight my buddy on the couch? What is happening to all the local multiplayer games? Ya I know I have co-op, but what if I want to fight my friend on the couch? Or what if I want to fight a guy online with a friend on the couch with me? Why do I need to have a friend go to his house, go online, and play with me that way? Just ugh, all this Ratchet and Clank game does is make me mad at how this generation of gaming is screwing my generation of gamingís way. Sure, it might be for the better, but I strongly oppose that Ratchet and Clank is ďone of the games that need to change with itĒ. It was better the way it was, as a single player slug fest of combat and destruction.

Final Thoughts:

I really wish Ratchet and Clank would stick to what they do best, single player. With what full frontal assault offers as a single player campaign is pathetic compared to previous games, and it really just feels like R&C are moving too far away from their formula that full frontal assault doesn't even feel like a Ratchet and Clank game anymore. Certainly a disappointing game for older fans of the series.

Ratchet: Deadlocked ~Date Beaten 3/30/13



Thoughts:

After playing Full Frontal Assault, Deadlocked was like butter to my ears, or some kind of metaphor that means I liked it. Ya, itís not classic Ratchet and Clank, but it at least knows what R & C are good at, combat! I always have liked the premise of heroes having to duke it out because an even eviler villain had them playing by their strings or some jazz like that. But deadlocked, well I honestly think it really missed a lot of opportunity with what it had going on story wise. It played a lot of things off for laughs, and while thatís all good, I think they could have just made the characters more interesting. Really this game feels more like a one-off than actually apart of anything, and overall the series probably doesn't need this game. But still for what it delivers, it does deliver well enough that fans of the series can still enjoy it. †

From what I heard from a friend of mine, this game was quite different from other R&C games, but honestly, itís a bit more of the same then I think most people give it credit. Itís not a bad thing mind you, and frankly I like the way Deadlocked is set up. I actually like it a lot more compared to the past R& C games, as itís a lot more objective ready then the others. It sets up for a lot of cool combat scenarios and a bunch of interesting courses to play through. But because the way deadlocked is set up, it doesnít really give players the chance to explore the areas around you compared to the previous games. Itís not so much about platforming, but fighting to survive. And while I know that R&C was never much one for platforming, over combat, I canít help but feel I miss a part of that R &C mix gameplay that I have come to know and love. I also have to say that getting dread points is an annoying hassle. I don't mind doing side missions to unlock certain things, but having to play the side missions in order to move forward through the story really seems like padding to me, rather than actual good game design.
Which brings me to my next point, this game is pretty dang short. While I personally clocked a little over 3 hrs. on the easiest difficultly I can't help but feel they could have done just a little more to make this game bigger. Short games aren't bad by any means, but going back to my point earlier, this game could have had a lot of potential to be better than it was. This could have been improved by having a better plot line, adding more character development, exploring the areas within the game, or making the challenges a bit longer. I don't know what would have worked, but I do know they could have added a little more than they did. And while itís not a bad game because itís short, it certainly isnít a great game because it missed out on a lot of neat things they could have done to it. Really this game just ends up feeling more like a glorified arena from the previous Ratchet and Clank games than what could have been a really great game.

Final Thoughts:

Deadlocked isn't the black sheep of the R&C series that I thought it would be and for that I'm glad. However, with how short the campaign was, the fact the new characters were pretty bland, and how they missed a lot with the premise they were †dealing with, I can't say deadlocked lived up to its potential. There's a better game in there, but for what it is now, itís just good. †

Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction ~ Date Beat 4/7/13



Thoughts:

All those feelings I had when I play Up Your Ursenal pretty much returned when I started playing Tools of Destruction. Finally playing a game that Ratchet and Clank is suppose to be like after a long string of playing games that modded it in some way really makes you appreciate just returning to formula. It was also a nice surprise to see the little furball in HD without a chibi influence, Ratchet just looks better to me this way compared to Full Frontal Assault. All the characters in this game to are all worthwhile and have enough time to shine within this game. Personally was a fan of all the pirate levels in this game. The story is also the best its ever been, what with Ratchet learning about his past or at least trying to, and Clank dealing with some really weird cosmic stuff with the Zoni. The whole plot really sets itself up pretty well and nothing really feels forced or unwanted. Plus this game's ending has a surprisingly bitter sweet ending to it that just makes me want to play the other future titles.

As mentioned before gameplay stays true to Ratchet and Clank formula that was ever present with the first trilogy. You go planet to planet searching for your objective while also sometimes having a side mission that you can do while you're there. Golden bolts and Gadgetron's secret plans are also hide on various planets so there is usually something to be looking out for too. Some planets even have bigger areas to hunt down big monsters called leviathans and claim their soul so you can trade them for bolts. †You still get a bunch of neat guns, most of them work really well and are different from each other that they provide some sort of use that the others do not. Some of the weapons you get are inspired from past Ratchet and Clank games, but there are plenty of new ones out there to match them. The gadgets on the other hand are a bit more useless this time around, and are mainly there for some one time puzzle solving devices. While some of the devices are a bit more fun than others, the majority of them feel tedious. †In addition to gadgets and weapons, Ratchet also gets a bunch of new devices which are a bit like bomb-esque weapons that have a small supply, but create a big impact on the battlefield. A lot of the devices are rather niche though, and aside from the Groovitron and Mr. Zurkon they are hardly useable in most situations. Leveling up weapons however is a little bit different from previous Ratchet and Clank games as there are two different ways to level up weapons. Either you upgrade them with certain mods or you kill enough enemies to level them up like it previous games. The only real downside to Tools of Destruction is its constant use of the six axis controller. While I understand that this was the time where Sony was trying to justify the six axis controller, the game uses it far too much when a simpler and more enjoyable solution would be just using the joy stick like you usual do. Pretty much anything the six axis uses, the joy stick would be better at. In fact, the only thing the six axis really does is make the puzzles a bit more annoying, and the drops from sky just a little more fun. Which honestly is a rather bad trade off.

As for the way Tools of Destruction presents itself overall. Well, its a much needed improvement. Honestly, this is the first time I could really hear the music over the sound effects and really the soundtrack for tools of destruction is pretty dang awesome. Graphically it looks wonderful, and makes use of the PS3 software much more than All 4 One did, in my opinion. The cutscenes are also well integrated, but †I find it a bit of an annoyance that there are some I can't skip during a challenge mode run. But when it comes down to it, this is the best I have seen Ratchet and Clank be.

Final Thoughts:

While it may suck that Tools of Destruction used too much of the six axis controls, overall everything else is just as good or better than Up Your Arsenal. I especially like the way they went with the story and soundtrack as it was a much needed improvement on the Ratchet and Clank series as a whole. Overall Tools of Destruction is something I want to see more of, and makes me glad to have played this great game.

Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty ~ Date Beat 4/11/13



Thoughts:

When I first looked at Quest for Booty I thought it would be a neat little side venture of the future series that helped explain a few things between Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time. However, this was not the case for Quest for Booty as I left it far more confused than I would be if I didnít play it at all. Having played a good amount of A Crack in Time before writing my thoughts I have to say that much of what happens in Quest for Booty doesn't make much sense. I don't know where that girl that Ratchet was hanging out with went too nor the robots that where with her. The game only lasts about 2 hours and it really just feels more like standalone download content for Tools of Destruction rather than a filler between ToD and A Crack in Time.

The story was resolved far too quickly and pretty much all the characters introduced in it meant nothing. The characters that did reappear had no real change at all either, and overall it was just a meaningless transition from Tools of Destruction to A Crack in Time. Heck, I don't even remember the scene where Crack in Time mentions how Ratchet found out where he was suppose to go. And while the gameplay resembles much of Ratchet and Clank, the formula it was trying to go with just didn't fit with what it was trying to do. Sure Deadlocked was rather short too, but it used a different game style that Ratchet and Clank is still accustomed too. Quest for Booty tries to explain what could be a full fleshed out game in a matter of 2 hours. Really the best way to put Quest for Booty is that its abridged game of what could have been a better one. I really do like the space pirates that were introduced in Tools of Destruction, but the way they hatched their scheme, how fast it fell apart and overall the pace in this game is rushed. Just really the whole thing seemed like a really rushed job meant only to feel a void for a deadline.

Final Thoughts:

As a game, Quest for Booty fails to really be its own, and really just ends up feeling like a copied, short extension of Tools of Destruction. †Its not exactly bad per se, but it fails to deliver anything different to Ratchet and Clank, nor provide the extended adventure it has come to be known for. Its just bare and minimum, and honestly makes no sense within the future series.

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time~ Date Beat 4/14/13




Thoughts:

It really does feel like everything that the Ratchet and Clank series has done has led up to this. In both story and gameplay, A Crack in Time just combines everything that was great in the past games. I'd go as far as to say that this is the defining Ratchet and Clank game. Aside from a few flaws, like incorrect music looping and not being able to skip certain cutscenes. Crack in Time delivers the finest in characters, challenge, exploration, story, and gameplay Ratchet and Clank have ever seen.

The way the story sets itself up is wonderful and basically ties up any loose ends in the Ratchet and Clank universe. Both the origins of Clank and Ratchet are found, and both have other characters that help them find out who they truly are. The way each character plays off each other is wonderful as well, and I really got teary eyed in the end of it all. Its amazing how Isonamic can tug my heartstrings while also hitting my funny bone. Pacing in this game is great as well as it never really feels like anything is being rushed or being put in for filler, it has everything hit at the right moment.
Gameplay is also at its finest as both Ratchet and Clank get different playstyles added to them that make it even better than ever before. Clank gets a bunch of new, rather unique, time mechanics added in for puzzle solving and it really can leave any player itching their head at what to do. Ratchet, on the other hand, is added a full space field to ride along in his spaceship to both explore and fight in. Space battling this time around is rather simple with just shooting and dodging mechanics. You are also given a bunch of smaller satellites to explore that just make Crack in Time all the more enjoyable. These new Satellites make for a nice change of pace between each major level and often have goodies for players exploring them. As for the rest of the gameplay, its pretty much kept exactly the same. Point your given weapon and shoot to make the bad guys dead. Weapons upgrade the more enemies you kill, and minor puzzle solving is abound. And you still go exploring to collect bolts, Ryno plans, and this time, Zoni. The more stuff you get the stronger you are and the more stuff you unlock the easier it is to play, and really thatís what is so wonderful about this game. It sticks to its guns, and delivers the same amount of stuff fans have come to know and love while adding a little twist to the formula.

This game is also very beautiful from both cutscenes to just in-game combat. Colors are vibrate, graphics are crisp, and ascetically each planet just looks wonderful. The soundtrack however, is the better attraction of the two, and really it just blows other Ratchet and Clank games away. Each track just has such a sci-fi vibe to it, and brings a lot of cheery, eerie wonderfulness to it. And it doesn't just have music either, while traveling in your spaceship you can also use the radio that works almost exactly like the radios in Grand Theft Auto, where each station has there †own bit of dialogue to listen to along with great music. Overall this is just the best Ratchet and Clank has ever been to your ears and eyes.

Final Thoughts:

A Crack in Time is ultimately what the Ratchet and Clank series as led up to. It combines everything that made Ratchet and Clank did right, and adds space exploration and time solving puzzles to help improve on what was already a great formula into something even better. The music is perhaps the best its ever, the game looks wonderful, the characters will still have you laughing, and it can even be a bit emotional. A Crack in Time is truly the defining experience for the Ratchet and Clank series. † † †

Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus ~ Date beat 11/16/13



Thoughts:

For a lot of people that started this series long before me, Nexus is practically a God sent for all the past Ratchet and Clank games we have been getting, but for me it's a friendly reminder why I love this series despite only knowing about it within a year. While the phrase, ďlike the old Ratchet and Clank games, but shortĒ was certainly scary to hear at first as having another disappointing Quest for Booty type game would suck; Into the Nexus is far from that DLC blunder. Into the Nexus certainly is shorter than the majority of Ratchet and Clank games, but given the amount of content they usual give and the quality of this game, I have to say I wouldn't mind more of these Ĺ of a R&C sized adventures. Admittedly I did get a bit peeved that my time ended so fast or that there wasn't that much screen time for certain characters, but in the long run, this was R&C at its purest form without any of that filler mess that tends to happen. You are only given about 4 worlds to go exploring through, but these worlds are fairly massive, and so well design that its often better than the majority of worlds you would've found in the older PS2 games. Granted, of course, that this game doesn't really top ToD or CiT, but they are close to that quality. Speaking of which, Into the Nexus goes right back to the mix of comedic and dramatic storytelling that the Future series was known for. Opting out instead this time for a tragic villain team, rather than a funny one like nefarious.
As for the new gameplay elements, well, Clank gets a whole new play mechanic to work with, but this time it †deals with gravity rather than time. †Clank is sent to the Nexus, where he must use gravity powers to move around and find a nexus creature to lure back to the exit so it can destroy an obstacle in the way. Clank controls fairly simple in this mode as you only need to use the control stick and L1 button from time to time in order to direct Clank and his means of puzzle solving. †While the objective is fairly redundant each time, the actual mechanics are very fun to mess around in, and honestly wish they give this more game time as its a very neat idea with a lot of potential. †As for the weapons, they are all pretty inventive and fun to use, but the leveling system was hindered a bit for a more favorable, or at least I'd say favorable, form of upgrading. Instead of simply grinding constantly with a weapon, weapons are now upgraded through skill tree-esque system that requires you to purchase the upgrades with raretanium ores that can be found among the levels and enemies. This new form of upgrade helps give the tedious moments of grinding your weapon a more effective approach to suit players needs.

However there are also some slight changes and hiccups I still had with Into the Nexus. The entire removal of space travel was a downer considering how well Crack in Time had that going for it; instead opting out for a more simplistic cartoon map. As well, the game appears to be fairly wonky despite being patch the first week, and having the game installed. Often my game would freeze on the weapon dealers screen simply because I was trying a weapon or wanted to hear dialogue. There were a few other glitches here or there with the arena or during fighting, but these were mostly fixable and a minor problem. But perhaps the biggest trouble I had with this game was the sound itself. I don't know why, but this game just wasn't build for sound. Often when having a lot of items that made sound effects on screen I have the actual game audio lag about 4-5 seconds. Sometimes even cutting out the world's music completely less I activated something. Honestly this really gave me the impression that this game was a bit rushed, but at the very least it wasn't game breaking. Some of the character development, and usage of them in Into the Nexus was also a bit, well to put it in one word, missed. The potential for the two new villains certainly was high, having them fairly dark and menacing for a series that has always been so upbeat and lighthearted seemed like something that could have worked rather well, but they just were kinda pushed to the side for just something less. When you first play this game it really gets you going when you first meet these two villains, but it just kind falls apart after playing through the game, and its not that they are bad characters, but rather the set up for them being villains is loose. Perhaps it wouldn't feel so cheap if we actually had more time with characters, but we simply don't get it, and it really would have made the game a much more emotional and great ride. As well, the returning characters, for the most part, just aren't used very well. It's such a shame too because the game really has you going in the beginning, but you just don't really get to see them for too long. Again its just the way characters are utilized that get me mad about how this game could have come out differently, and while I like the dynamic of Ratchet and Clank's friendship shown throughout, you really see it shine when they are around these other characters, but they just don't get that much time with them.

Final Thoughts:

Despite the game's audio faults, the occasional freeze, or shortened story; Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus really does deliver what fans have been wanting for a while now, getting back to the roots of what makes Ratchet and Clank, Ratchet and Clank. With a lot of good music,graphics, heartfelt stories, great new characters, weapons, and Clank solving mechanics; Into the Nexus is a great game and great addition to the Ratchet and Clank series.
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About lostleaderone of us since 1:07 PM on 02.08.2011

Xbox LIVE:lostleader8
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