Upon receiving my first wage packet from my first full time job I went happily to buy my PS2, I had the small problem of taking my girlfriend with me on my shopping trip, and therefore arose the problem, "how am I going to explain to her that i'm going to be very antisocial and spend all my time on my fancy ass new console?" I mused and mused about this problem and solved it by putting a copy of Jak and Daxter in with my bundle of joy. Never have I made such a wise decision, this game is girlfriend fodder all the way, it made her addicted to gaming in a way never before seen, Jak and Daxter became, after a drunken night out and forgetting names affectionately known as Podgit and Podgeface and she couldn't wait to do a bit more of the game, that's the beauty of platform games, they appeal to small children, girlfriend's and household pets. So when I read previews of Ratchet and Clank I knew what would be number one on the Christmas list for my lady...
So the Story run down first....
Set in a futuristic galaxy, Ratchet and Clank moves from planet to planet across a vast solar system. Ratchet lives on a dirty little planet (reminds me of home!) and dreams of someday becoming an adventurer. On the other side of the galaxy Chairman Drek (an evil yuppy type similar to the villain from biker mice from mars if anyone remembers that cartoon) rules a polluted planet, Orxon, inhabited by some nasty fellas called the Blarg. Tired of his polluted world, Chairman Drek decides to build a new planet using the best parts from many of the other worlds in the galaxy in the style of a hostile takeover. He gets hostile, then takes over and if he can't do it alone the army of robots and Blarg warriors can eliminate any resistance... Nice!...
In one of the factories creating Chairman Drek's evil armies, a computer glitch creates a tiny but smart robot - Clank. Learning about Chairman Drek's plans, Clank flees the factory seeking help, but his ship is shot down over Ratchet's homeworld. Ratchet and Clank blast off from planet to planet through a fantasticly detailed beautifully animated galaxy. R & C meet some really varied characters over the many worlds that they travel and can unlock some fantastic weapons that really do make this game into something else.
Graphically I expected a lot from this game and I wasn't disappointed, the cut scenes were fantastic and I expected a drop in graphical quality when playing in game but there was none, i've never seen such perfectly smooth animations, not one single jagged edge of pixelation, very little clipping and the collision detect is spot on, the characters faces alter depending upon what they are doing, ratchet will grin like a fool when you perform a boost jump with the heli-pac (a clank upgrade.) the weaponry and associated animations of attack are very smoothly done, there are basic moves with ratchets........ ratchet! (i may get confused here so lets call it a spanner, ok?) he can attack with it, do jumping attacks, throw it like a boomerang and also use it to open locked doors by fastening it around screws in the ground and running in a circle around them until they fasten.
Around the levels are crates, these contain nuts and bolts, its not very well explained at first what your doing, your given very little assistance in the tutorial and expected to pick it up yourself, but pick it up you will very easily, I soon found out that you collect nuts and bolts as money, when you defeat enemies they will explode leaving debris which you pick up with your magnetic spanner and can purchase weaponry, and ammo later from shops.
the gameplay lends itself well to the platform format, playing in many ways similar to Jak and Daxter, obvious comparisons must be drawn, although developed by different company's (J&D by Naughty Dog, R&C by Insomniac Games, Creators of Spyro the Dragon Series)the similarities are there. The little buddy sitting on your shoulder the quirky humour, the controls are all but identical and the format is the same, travel from area to area (in this case planet to planet) performing tasks and collecting things to advance through the game. But in R&C your little buddy on your shoulder Clank plays a more active role than Daxter, he can have upgrades purchased for him to turn him into a helicopter amongst other things to help you jump further, higher and also to glide around.
The music and sound is in fitting with your environments, I always think in games like these the best type of music is one you don't notice, it needs to be there but not there if you catch my drift? and the soundtrack on the levels perform this task well.
The variety of planets, is well done, each lending itself to a different style, water world, industrial, highly advanced races, sand planets, shanty towns the list could go on, each planet has its unique style, buildings, enemies music etc... there's been a lot of time spent planning this to relieve boredom and repetitive levels.
The cutscenes are detailed and fit the story, offering you tasks and challenges and your required task lists will grow as you progress. A nice element I think is that you won't be able to perform all the tasks before leaving a planet, you'll need something that's unavailable upon that world meaning you'll need to travel to another environment to collect weapons or equipment and return at a later date to continue your adventure.
Which ties in wonderfully with the weaponry.... OH MY GOD!!!!!!! these weapons are stunning!!! you start with your spanner, then you can buy a flamethrower, a blaster pistol, a spiderman-esque web slinger and the list continues up to and including the Devastator a HHUUGGGEEE rocket launcher featuring in a quirky and funny ad campaign for the game on TV at the moment, the variety of weapons makes this game different and keeps you interested, rather than your standard 3 move attack syndrome.
So to the downside to the game, there isn't one, i try to be objective and i thought i couldn't simply dribble about it so i tried to pick faults and there is nothing that i could find, everything is amazing! it does occasionally suffer from the annoying platform syndrome of being stuck on a certain jump and not being able to get any further but that's why you keep playing games, in the words from a film :
"if it wasn't a challenge it wouldn't be a short cut, it'd just be the way."