You might have heard, Ratchet & Clank is the game based on the movie that is based on the game. If you haven’t heard, boy are you immune to PR shenanigans. The origin story of Ratchet & Clank has been told before, albeit with far less polygons and a slightly milder approach to complete chaos. You would be wrong to dismiss this as yet another remaster though, because in the wake of remasters to hit the PlayStation 4 in recent years, the experience of playing this one should at some point be the prime example of what a remaster should actually be.
We’re not just talking smoother edges and higher resolution as is the case with most remasters these days. Insomniac has poured an immense amount of heart and joy into this re-imagining, and the end product is something to behold. More than anything, it feels like a proper PS4 title, which is hard to say about a lot of other remasters. I’m aware that this sounds like the conclusion of a review, and if you’re familiar with the first game I’ll tell you right away, this is worth getting.
Ratchet & Clank is a mixture of all previous games with the story of the first as its base. Layered on top of this is the strafing, new weapons (including the all new Pixeliser) and a bigger universe to explore. Existing planets have been remade and expanded upon, and new planets have been included to further flesh out the adventure which is intertwined with story beats and footage from the movie. So far so good. If you’re familiar with the series, be assured that you’ll be flying, slingshotting, racing and solving puzzles in every corner of the universe, while occasionally beating bosses as well.
Also new to this release is the inclusion of collectible cards in case gold bolts became too dull (there’s a few more of these too). The cards will provide buffs as you complete sets, like increased Raritanium earnings. Getting a certain set done will also net you a very special weapon. Other than that they are borderline useless, but a nice addition nonetheless if get easily hooked on that sort of thing. After completing the game you’re able to start over again in challenge mode. It’s basically a new game+ where you keep all of your weapons, but you can level them higher up while revisiting the game in a slightly more difficult version.
It’s hard to technically fault Ratchet & Clank for anything. It’s a pretty great looking game, it has a stellar but busy soundtrack, and the voice work is charming and fun, occasionally poking holes in the 4th wall and specially towards this «reboot». Each planet is a sight to behold, bustling with life (but mostly death as the scenery fills up with combat ships, bullets and explosions), and level design that begs to be explored. Bring out your leveled up Zurkon Jr and Doom blades in a busy scene with tons of enemies will cause the kind of havoc that should cause even non-epilectics to flinch for a moment, but the PS4 will prevail. Ironically, the only time I experienced a hiccup was in cut-scenes.
If you weren’t a fan of the hoverboard races though, they are definitely not any more fun this time around. At higher difficulties, managing your temper while battling the controls and unfair speed of your hoverboard can be quite frustrating. You could of course say it’s just me being horrible at it, but other than the fantastic upgrade to the tracks and their surroundings, there’s nothing redeemable about doing them. The fact that one race is mandatory to progress the story is slightly infuriating, but the playing field is way more even on normal and casual difficulties.
Ratchet & Clank is a masterpiece in fun platforming, combat and adventure. It plays great while having a story that is gleefully propelled along by fun writing, charming characters and tons of humor. Whether you played the original or not doesn’t really matter, as this one is in a class of its own and deserves your attention. Unless you hate fun things of course.
This review copy was provided by Sony. The game was played through once on hard, and an additional two hours played in challenge mode.