My first one hour of play: Ratchet and Clank
Written by: Justin “Mr-J-Nice” L.
Edited by: Daniel Pike
After the day one patch that you expect to get now-a-days, you are ready to play Ratchet and Clank within a few moments. The wonderful soundtrack at the intro helps to lure you in and pumps some motivating rock music that will get you fired up and ready to play. Your only options upon launching the game are New Game and changing some options. The New Game option starts out with a good 2-minute animation that sets the scene for what you’re about to embark on.
I decided to play for 1 hour and see where that would take me. I spent maybe 5 minutes of that time searching for hidden places and finding them. I found 3 hidden areas that gave me special collectable cards that I can use to show off in the galaxy…or at least that is what the game tells me. Finding these hidden areas or ledges is just as exciting as it was when I was 13, when the original of this game released. In 2002 the original Rachet and Clank came out and now, a decade later we are greeted with this re-imagining of the original. The last time I played the original game was over 8 years ago, however I found myself remembering the guns and the witty banter that I looked forward to from the characters in the game.
As you might expect, this game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Within the hour I played, characters broke the 4th wall numerous times. This really adds to the jokes that as a kid I might have missed but now as an adult I can appreciate. The language is fun and the motivation to keep playing is still there. I wanted to play for another hour but being an adult and needing to write this review and maybe sleep, and work got in the way of my fun.
Moving on to fun gameplay, you start out being narrated by Captain Quark, a larger than life space ranger. He explains about why he is where he is, and in doing so, he has to explain Ratchet and Clank’s origins. You find yourself, after the few minute animation, as Ratchet in your garage where you need to finish a couple projects in order to be able to interview to be a Galactic Ranger. The game teaches you how to interact with objects and how to move your camera. You can then leave your hanger and the tutorial teaches you how to fight using frog enemies in your way and the crates that are begging to be smashed. After that, you need to complete a gauntlet of fights in order to qualify as anything close to a Galactic Ranger. In full disclosure, I died once on the course, the jumping mechanics take some getting used to, and I fell to my death crossing moving platforms.
After some initial investment with Ratchet, you will find yourself as Clank, trying to escape the factory that he was created in. You will start by facing Clank and moving him as a third person moving backwards. I was NOT a fan of how that escape works or how all of his running scenarios played out but there were only a couple short ones and as they are just a small facet of the game, I am willing to put up with them. That being said, even on normal, I died 3 times trying to escape these 3rd person runs. The rest of the time playing Clank was spent working on small “puzzles”. By puzzles I mean learning how to pick up a trampoline robot, move him around and then use that robot to jump you up to a ledge. I thought the premise of this was strange, as Clank has turbo jets he uses for the water.
After Ratchet and Clank meet you find yourself on the way to another off-world location. Right away I found a hidden area that took 5 minutes to run though. But in total this world’s starting location killed me 2 times and took me 30 minutes to finish. So 2 stupid deaths on Normal and a few hidden area’s later and I had enough tokens for me to have purchased both the flame thrower and the pulsar gun. The first off world adventure had a lot more enemies close packed and a lot deadlier.
Overall, in the one hour that I spent playing this game, I felt like I had sipped from a nice cool refreshing glass of nostalgia. The only difference I found from Dr. Truths nostalgia is that this one had been modified to meet today’s market. The design was the same, the feel was the same, even the dialog, but what this game had that it’s previous didn’t is what made the difference. The graphics, just like the original, stand out! The ability to strafe did not exist originally and now I can duck and hide and even roll off of cliffs in a whole new way!..no, just me? Regardless, the only complaint that I had were minor things, because really, I feel like I need to have something to balance it out. The graphics on cut scenes sometimes don’t transition smoothly to the game is really my biggest complaint, the sound the map makes when you move is like a repeating sound file that is played on turbo. Neither is really game breaking, but now that I told you, (sorry by the way) you’ll notice.
I love this game so far and it brings back all of the fun I had wasting my summer away as a teenager. As I played and went through the game, my brother stopped to watch and commented how eerily similar this game felt to the original, and yet, it was off-but for the better. Giving this game an initial 1 hour impression rating I would have to give it a 9/10. Nothing in this first hour broke the game, nothing beyond the Clank escape part really got to me except that I DID NOT like the camera angle that I was forced to play from, which for me, takes a point. But that point is all a matter of opinion and yours may vary. Just know this game isn’t a death-match (Dark Souls III). It’s that game you played 10 years ago, brought back not just re-mastered but re-invented with the technology and gameplay we now use to make this game a very modern retelling of a fun and inventive story.. With side strafing, better graphics, draw, better animation and voice overs to match it all, this game is the nostalgia that you remember and I love it for that reason.