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Is there space for Ratchet & Clank?

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Hands-on new Ratchet & Clank at PSX

Sometimes websites make you click to the next "page" when reading a long article, or embed things in galleries instead of vertically down a page. This is either anachronistic print hold over or shrewd pageview maximization, but it is always silly, because the internet is endless and all we have is space.

So it's also silly to wonder if we have space for Ratchet & Clank, because there is space for all games, but we are in a generation and a half that has seemed so compressed as to what's viable, doubled down into genre conventions and game styles (MOBA!). And it's not like Ratchet & Clank didn't stem from that kind of hammering into shape, itself a product of the mascot era and 3D action platformer era.

It's just that those things -- often, those characters -- have waned. Spyro just sells other toys. Naughty Dog moved on to cartoon humans (Uncharted) and more somber humans (Last of Us). Ratchet & Clank, meanwhile, just didn't seem to have the oomph on the PS3 that it did on the PS2, even if most of the releases stayed solid and gorgeous. That's what the PS4 origin tale is, too. 

I think one of the issues is that Insomniac (or Sony) kind of lost the thread. There were spin-off attempts to sell the PSP, early PS3 digital-only one-offs, that damn tower defense game that was -- sure, it works, and isn't un-fun, but why? Crack in Time wasn't even a bad attempt at getting back to the story, even if the more Pixar-heavy tone felt different for the fleet-footed Lombax.

And it does come down to story. When I played the Ratchet & Clank HD collection a few years back, I was surprised that the first game still had be chuckling. It's funny! That's rare. So going in a level at random, fighting a boss, was beautiful and familiar and solid. Some of the weapons are still the same. The Groovitron disco ball bomb that makes enemies dance even had the boss spinning on his head and busting a move. There's a Pixelator, too, the latest shotgun that also turns enemies blocky (because they're 3D -- you can wrench the bodies and send cubes flying -- I guess they're voxels).

So it's smooth and beautiful; the real test will be if it's funny and well-written. There's been too much Ratchet to, it seems, steadily decreasing interest. Coupling it with an animated movie feels like a last ditch effort to capitalize on the character and revitalize the series for a younger audience, should it do well. Maybe a fall from Up Your Arsenal's PS2 heights (one of two PS2 games I played online regularly), but not the worst fate, looking at Ratchet & Clank's contemporaries.

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Steven Hansen
Steven HansenContributor   gamer profile

Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more + disclosures


 


 


Also on Destructoid: Ratchet & Clank   (4)   From our database:

  • Review: Ratchet & Clank - Chris Carter
  • Let the inimitable Captain Qwark intro the new-old Ratchet & Clank - Steven Hansen
  • Is there space for Ratchet & Clank? - Steven Hansen
  • Here's how Ratchet met Clank - Brett Makedonski
  • Ratchet & Clank has some great aesthetics, channels its inner Star Fox - Brett Makedonski
  • It's mostly Ratchet and very little Clank at Tokyo Game Show - Brett Makedonski
  • PS4 could use more games like Ratchet & Clank - Jordan Devore
  • First peek at Ratchet & Clank film, remake of original in the works for PS4 - Kyle MacGregor Burleson
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    Filed under... #Action #Insomniac Games #Platform games #Previews #PS4 #Ratchet and Clank

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