Ratchett & Clank are to the PlayStation what Sonic has been for Sega, a major mascot, and like Sonic, shows no signs of going away any time soon. Indeed itʼs not that long ago that I reviewed Playstation Move Heroes where our little furry friend joined forces with other characters to front a party game.
This has a smilar storyline to Move Heroes, so I cannot say itʼs a totally original plot. It starts with our heroes being interviewed by a TV company. They question him as to whether heʼll be a part of some forthcoming event, but he makes it clear that he is just wanting to put his feet up and relax. Heck we can all sympathise with that! However we all know that if that happened we wouldnʼt have a game here at all, and so, as you can guess, a crisis emerges as an alien beast turns up out of the blue and goes on a Godzilla style rampage. This creature is thawed out from suspended animation by none other than Doctor Nefarious, but before Ratchett can deal with him, the beast goes on itʼs rampage.
In the meantime President Qwark is up for re-election so he decides to suit up to garner votes and join the fray. The beast is chased down and dealt with and as the heroes breathe a sigh of relief, a spaceship appears. Nefarious declares that he has nothing to do with it.
Obviously Ratchett is dubious, Qwark is not quite sure of what is going on. (Blessed with brawn but missed the brains queue) But after they are all zapped and wake up onboard the vessel itʼs clear that for once, other forces are at work.
So now the four must work together to escape the situation and get to the bottom of the affair. Any more than that Iʼll leave for you to discover for yourselves.Game:
Whereas Move Heroes was a set of party games, this is back to familiar territory, and we are back to the traditional whipping, shooting and even vacuuming action that we have come to know and love. The traditional weapons are all here, but there are some new devices here that can be upgraded and modified as you progress through the escapades that ensue.
Where this is different is the four player co-op that can be played either online or through the use of controllers in the same living room. So working together youʼll find puzzles to solve and mini games that will help you unlock new skins for online play. Smash boxes and pick up the large golden bolts youʼll discover.
The first mini game involves you guiding a critter through a maze before he falls to his doom. This will award extra bolts so they are worth doing, others I will leave for you to find for yourselves.Controls:
As simple as can be, the layout staying the same as previous titles in the series so veterans donʼt have to worry about learning a new layout. Newcomers should find this title intuitive and so for pick up and playability this rates highly. Itʼs fun to unlock the new gadgets on hand and learn how they work, and with co-operation youʼll soon be unlocking doors and dealing mega damage to the larger enemies that will try and hinder your progress.Graphics:
They are bright and breezy as can be expected of a title that is aimed at a younger audience. Correction itʼs aimed at a family audience and it shows. Itʼs bright and colourful without it looking like a cartoon.
Textures and details on things like rocks and trees are reasonably detailed but the detail that is layered on other games like say, Red Dead Redemption is not needed here. Itʼs visually appealing and satisfactory in itʼs own way and I have no quibbles with it.
The frame rate is smooth, no drop out or pop up in sight. Online play is smooth as well once you get past..no hold on, that I will cover in the cons section, patience dear readers, patience!
Characters run and move very nicely indeed.Voice:
Vocal talent is more than adequate, with lip synching done very nicely as well. Donʼt expect too much in the way of facial animation or expression but what the heck, it doesnʼt matter here. Qwark has the most humourous dialogue and Iʼd lay any money on it that the voice actor is the same guy who voices Deathspank in the Baconing! Indeed the dialogue has the same feel to it so it wouldnʼt be too hard for the guy to play this part. There are similarities but just enough of a difference to make the two distinguishable even though they are cut from the same kind of cloth!
The bickering between Qwark and Nefarious and the attempts of Ratchett and Clank to keep them working as a unit are humourous if not exaxctly roll on the floor laughing funny. There are lines here that will appeal to a more grown up audience but nothing that will make mom and dad ban little Johnny from playing it. Something for everyone here.Physics:
Things blow up very prettily, smoke and flames are nicely represented. Objects react to being hit and shot as can be expected. Enemies wonʼt fly through the air, there is no ragdoll physics here and you wouldnʼt expect it. Enemy AI is fairly basic, but cranking up the difficulty and the larger enemies will toughen up accordingly. All in all a decent physics package (if thatʼs the right words to use here) for this title.Music:
Nothing earth shattering or cinematic here, but the soundtrack suits the mood of the almost party gameplay that is bundled with this title. Pleasing on the ear, if lacking the atmosphere of more grown up titles.Online play:
This is pleasing enough and providing everyone co-operates and someone doesnʼt hog all the bolts that are released from exploding boxes then all is well and good. Helping each other is key here, and is again, intuitive and easy enough to do. If someone fails to jump a gap, then a quick tap of the Triangle button will fire a line that will snag the poor unfortunate and tow him to safety. If someone hogs the bolts then someone will suffer for it and miss out on upgrades. If this happens, donʼt blame the game, blame the guy or gal online responsible.
It should be noted, walking on a pad that replenishes ammo, will restock everyoneʼs ammo so there's no need to start sweating if you are low on grenades, missiles or bullets. Likewise breaking open a crate that replenishes health will heal anyone that has taken a hit or two. Itʼs all good.Pros:
Fun and intuitive to play. Nice and smooth gameplay. Itʼs a fun title that will provide a challenge for the youngsters that it is aimed at but wonʼt cause that much in the way of frustration therefore leading to temper tantrums and thrown controllers. Itʼs colourful and bright, pleasing to the eye and brings a nice feeling of nostalgia to mind as you play through this. It reminded me of the fun I had on platform games played on the Mega Drive, Master System and PS1 all those years ago. (Wipes nostalgic tear from eye)Cons:
There arenʼt all that many to be honest. The conʼs can be attributed to the online experience. If you get a bolt hungry player that can be a nuiscance and it will be frustrating if you are struggling to gain upgrades for the weapons in your arsenal. Thatsʼs not the gameʼs fault, itʼs down to the players mind set, so please older players remember that some of the players in your game may be younger so bear that in mind.
The main problem however is the loading time if as a host, or as a player, the host accepts a newcomer into the game. It takes a while to load so people may become impatient as the screen stays dark except for a message that a new player is coming in.
Hopefully that may be something that can be addressed as we go along. Once all are playing then itʼs all nice and smooth and no lag to interfere in the game. If you have had a bolt hungry player then you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs as they go through various sub menus and options but this is a minor niggle.
It is easy to play, and youngsters will find it challenging, but older players can and will blast through this quite easily and there may not be enough here to offer a replay challenge for them. Youngsters should find this engaging enough to have another go but may not be too fussed over unlocking the skins, etc.Summary:
Family friendly fun that kids and parents can happily play together. Challenging for the young, but maybe too easy for experienced players. Co-op is fun though and providing there is teamwork those pesky robots and other critters should soon fall to your gunfire. Not a bad title, with a very nice nostalgic feel to it, just be aware of the slow loading time if you accept a new player online or if one jumps in. Not a bad effort at all, and quite pleasing but above all else, fun with a capital F.