The Same Amazing Tale Through The Eyes Of Another.
Insomniac Game’s world renowned duo of the galaxy’s finest heroes have finally made their comeback and to say the very least, they have done so with an inter-galactic bang. Ratchet And Clank (2016) is jam-packed with a combination of the most profound characters from the series to date, oodles of outer-space adventure throughout the now revamped reaches of the the Solana galaxy and sprinkled with the famous Ratchet And Clank humour that fans of the series have grown to love and adore. For those who are yet to indulge in this blast from the past, I will be keeping spoilers under the hat, so don’t fret.
Developer of the series, Insomniac Games have recreated this heroic pair’s first adventure together which players first indulged in upon it’s Playstation 2 release in 2002. This recreation of the first Ratchet And Clank instalment is narrated from the perspective of Captain Quark, famous muscular antagonist, wannabe protagonist of almost each and every game in the series to date. In taking this approach with the games narrative, Insomniac have been able to collectively bring together numerous characters, races and tie in events of quite significant contextual value from the more recent instalments. With this, Ratchet And Clank (2016) is not only nostalgic gold for the die hard fans of the prior games but is also riddled with the very best content from the series as a whole, making it all that more appealing as a new game to first-time players.
Where It All Began
Ratchet And Clank (2016) as mentioned prior is a slightly new take on the very first of Ratchet And Clank’s heroic endeavours. The Lombax and his robotic companion still have the same fateful meet and still spend the duration of the game trying to stop the infamous Blarg, Chairman Drek. The planets from the first Ratchet And Clank make a reappearance, looking as stunning and visually encapsulating as ever. Although initially some would consider it boring playing a recreation of game you’ve played numerous times before, this new addition to the Ratchet And Clank series holds no monotonous or tedious feel whilst playing through it’s beautifully remastered levels. Insomniac did a great job of hurling in some different characters to mix up the general story line, consequently planting seeds of doubt causing you to question how the game would actually meet it’s conclusion. This feeling of unknowing gave the game good drive and definitely maintained the heart of my eagerness as I played.
Ratchet And Clank (2016) plays out almost as a movie, possessing all the typical twists that have been the ebb and flow of the series so far. I also found myself beset by the Ratchet-y humour the series is predominantly renowned for that by no means fell short in this instalment.
Moving On Up
Although the first game in The Ratchet And Clank series (2002) was the pinnacle of the greatness Insomniac Games has tried to maintain throughout the games over the years, it’s potential was far from utilized due to the platform it was made for. Now thanks to the ever-expanding capabilities of Playstation 4, Insomniac has been able to take the blocky, 2D graphics from the original game and transform them into being very smooth and pleasing to the eyes of the player. Vibrant colours and the smooth dynamics of the environment bring the game to life around you, making your playthrough that much more pleasurable. It also entices the more thorough level of exploration Insomniac like to draw out of players when it comes to Ratchet And Clank.
Not only are the planets scattered throughout the Solana galaxy rich with colour and overwhelmed with visual goodness – like seriously, don’t get me started on the water; so pretty, but the level of detail put into each and every character and NPC (non-playable character) in the game is phenomenal. We see these amazing characters that Insomniac has developed oozing with accentuated emotions and expressions, seriously Ratchet looks absolutely adorable. Even during a challenge playthrough I found myself re-watching each and every cut scene, mesmerised by just how great the characters looked. Furthermore, not only do the characters, planets and well EVERYTHING about the game look absolutely on point, they feel great too. Gameplay is joyously smooth and unlike it’s predecessor, Ratchet And Clank (2002) character manoeuvring isn’t at all clumsy and Ratchet will come to a halt when you demand so as opposed to running a marathon at the flick of an analog – I understand that’s some serious over-exaggeration there but back in the day, that was some frustrating stuff right there.
On another extremely positive note, in the time I spent trophy hunting and eventually picking up the platinum for this game I hadn’t encountered a single glitch that had effected my gameplay or that i’ve even noticed to be quite honest. Insomniac were seemingly efficient on tying up any glitchy loose ends as patches were swiftly introduced in order to address any issues other players may have encountered. Good on ‘ya Insomniac.
Out With The Old, In With The…No Wait, keep the old
The beauty of this Ratchet And Clank instalment above all others is Insomniac’s attempt to bring together the series as a whole. As you sift through the many planets of the Solana Galaxy, you come across countless references to various other instalments to date. Whether it be a reference to a seemingly cute, blue, menacing ball of fur (Protopet from Ratchet And Clank 2) or a certain space pirates treasure buried at the bottom of the ocean in a resort (Romulus Slag’s treasure from Ratchet And Clank Future Series). Not only are there physical signs of Insomniac’s attempt to reconcile the series but also in the general game dynamics it becomes evident that there is some means of combination of the weapons from the original trilogy and the graphics and visual style of the future series – I find it hard to believe it was unintentional.
However, Ratchet And Clank (2016) isn’t all just a reiteration of the prior games as there are also some pretty nifty new features that have been added. Although the gold bolts have maintained their position as the prime collectible throughout the game, skill points have sneakily found their way into becoming trophies as opposed to an in game collectible. Do not worry yourselves however as the replacement collectible although not as challenging, is just as fun and also gives you the opportunity to test yourself with a bit of Ratchet And Clank trivia – I’m trying not to spoil it too much here.
We’re Glad You’re Back Ratchet
For me personally, the Ratchet And Clank series has always won me over with it’s prominent sense of humour, fantastically constructed planets and galaxies alike, and indescribably brilliant characters complete with on point voice acting. Insomniac have carefully filtered through and identified the greatest elements of the series as a whole and strung them together in order to successfully make a fan-orientated game that is also a fine addition to any first-time players collection. As a long term fan of the series I would hands-down say Ratchet And Clank (2016) met my expectations and furthermore, it exceeded them.
Insomniac Games of Ratchet And Clank fame has taken a step back from triple-A development it seems, as the project they’ve been teasing, now known as Song of the Deep, is an underwater ‘Metroidvania’ that strangely looks like a small indie game.
One of the weirder, more unexpected announcements of late, check out the reveal trailer here.
I have to say, I’m really digging the simplistic aesthetic; reminiscent of an aquarium. It’s also refreshing to see such a big studio responsible for some huge games take a step back and make a project that is the complete opposite of everything they’ve tried to do in the past.
Here is the press release from their website, which you should definitely check out for more information.
Song of the Deep is a Metroidvania-style action-adventure game following a young girl’s quest into the unknown to find her missing father. Combining discovery, skill, and suspense with an unforgettable narrative, this underwater journey will challenge players to explore, experiment, and skillfully navigate a vast ocean landscape. Song of the Deep launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC this summer, 2016.
The most notable yet somehow absent detail is that the game will be released on a disc, but only through GameStop as an exclusive. Otherwise, you’ll have to suck it up and buy it digitally.
I hope to see other smaller games receiving retail packaging, even if it happens to be exclusive. I refuse to let go of physical media!
Fans of our favourite galactic heroes, Ratchet And Clank, were treated to a second trailer this week at Paris Games Week (PGW). This trailer provided further insight to Ratchet And Clank’s (PS4) plot and also teased us ever so eager fans with a little more gameplay.
Here are the two trailers Insomniac Games (developer of Ratchet And Clank) have taunted us with to date:
With a second trailer unveiling considerably more information about the new Ratchet And Clank game and even the upcoming movie, both due for release in Spring 2016, we are now able to possess a stronger preconception of the intergalactic action we have been anxiously waiting for.
Based On The Movie, Based On The Game
”Based on the movie, based on the game” was the primary insight into Ratchet And Clank’s (PS4) plot provided from the initial trailer. Both the video game and movie trailers featured planetary locations and events from the first game. Consequently, this led many fans to believe that the new Ratchet And Clank would more or less be a reconstruction of the first Ratchet And Clank game from 2002. However, after watching the second trailer it is apparent that this is not the case. In the second trailer we can see that the most profound villain of the series, Dr. Nefarious, once again trying to conquer the galaxy and Ratchet And Clank once again trying to defend the galaxy from his evil endeavors. Despite the plot suffering some confusion over the two trailers, we have a very solid knowledge now of the setting for the game. The Solana galaxy is the setting for Ratchet And Clank (PS4) as from the trailer we can distinguish planets such as Pokitaru, Gaspar and Ratchet’s home planet, Veldin. A final bit of information we can take as insight to the plot is the comical uselessness of Captain Quark who just had to stick his chin in at some point.
The second trailer for Ratchet And Clank (PS4) has offered us more gameplay footage. From the trailer we can see that the Swingshot gadget is back in some shape or form, complete with the nostalgic sound effects, we can see the annoying pufferfish enemies dominating the tropical Holiday resort, Pokitaru, swift swimming with the Hyrdopack and even levels playable as Clank make a comeback (although, who could doubt that). However, it is not just the smaller aspects of the game alone that are overwhelmingly nostalgic, but also the more profound in-game activities such as the ship battle above the Pokitaru holiday resort and the famous BlackWater City hoverboard race are shown in the trailer, each remastered so wonderfully. We just have to hope this game doesn’t cause players to keel over due to overwhelming exposure to nostalgic aspects of Ratchet And Clank.
In spite of the fact Ratchet And Clank (PS4) is not so much a direct reconstruction of the original game, it appears to have tied in aspects from newer installments with the more nostalgic aspects of the first game and although it’s success can’t be judged until it’s co-release with the movie in Spring 2016, we can have a pretty safe assumption that this game will be a hit.
The Galaxy Needs You, Ratchet
The PGW trailer for Ratchet And Clank (PS4) has allowed fans of this truly classic and lovable series to get psyched up that much more about it’s much anticipated release early next year. Now with a considerably clearer preconception of what is to come in Ratchet And Clank’s upcoming adventure on Playstation’s latest console, we have more reason than ever to get excited for this Sony classic making a comeback.
Although the wait will be somewhat difficult, the gameplay provided in this second trailer is enough to ensure us that the wait will in fact be worthwhile in the end.
Nothing makes a game more enthralling than a blessing of a character stealing the spotlight. A game could have mesmerizing visuals, flawless gameplay but without a the appearance of a captivating character a game will never truly get the attention it aspires to have. Over the years, developers have presented us with countless fictitious wonders which leaves us wondering, which are the greatest. Well, here I will try to narrow down that mass of heroes, heroines and villains into a top 10.
10. Spyro The Dragon – Spyro Series (Insomniac Games, Vicarious Visions, Traveller’s Tales etc.)
”Yeah, whatever. You’re not so much of a challenge, I’m sure I can do it again.” – A Hero’s Tail (2004)
Spyro has been a long-loved video game character. Over a number of series there has been significant changes to his personality, none of which causing him to be any less of a lovable character. Spyro initially adopted a more cocky and hard-headed personality, winning players over with his witty and sarcastic sense of humour. However, in the reboot that took to the screens in 2006 , Spyro being portrayed as an orphan revealed a more sensitive side to his character, all the while still possessing his fine sense of humour. All of this made this purple dragon that much more of a great character.
Spyro’s relationship with Sparx, his dragonfly companion has always been a significant factor to the series, even more so in The Legend of Spyro in which the two become brothers upon Spyro’s adoption. The witty relationship between the pair evolved into a more brotherly one in The Legend of Spyro series, making the previous banter between the pair become more like bickering between siblings. This reflects exceptionally well on Spyro, making him appear more down to earth and allowing the players with annoying siblings to at least empathise in some respect – as far as relating to purple dragons go. The Legend of Spyro series really placed considerable focus on Spyro’s relationship with other characters aside from his dragonfly buddy and in doing so, Spyro has won over audiences further by taunting their heart strings.
Spyro has been a diverse character over generations. Whether you’re enjoying his endearing sense of humour in his more retro installments or brimming with sympathy as you play The Legend of Spyro series, the simple fact remains that this 4-legged bundle of joy will never cease to put at least a smirk on the players face and that is why he slots so easily into this top 10.
9. Sly Cooper – Sly Cooper Series (Suckerpunch Productions, Sanzaru Games)
”The name’s Sly. Sly Cooper. And I’m a thief, from a whole line of thieves. In fact, thieving is the family business, and business was good.” – Thieves In Time (2013)
Sly Cooper is what can only be described as the better of two evils throughout this series of games. Technically speaking, Sly is a bad guy, a thief, stealing an array of expensive goodies to profit himself and his gang. However, within the series, his initially selfish intentions always turn to defeating competing thieves with more sinister intentions and in becoming an unlikely – and unintentional hero, Sly manages to attain the love of players and also sneak his way into this top 10.
Straight off the mark players are enlightened as to Sly’s sad past of having his also thieving parents murdered and becoming orphaned as a result. This imposes a fundamental line of sympathy which proceeds to make every crime Sly commits acceptable to the player. Further love for this character is then derived from his loyalty to his two orphaned buddies, Bentley (a brainy tortoise) and Murray (a brawny, pink hippo). The trio began their thieving fellowship at the orphanage in which they all met. From then they had considered themselves family and Sly protects them like they are so. Sly has a killer sense of humour. This usually becomes more prominent to his personality when he is trying his luck with opposing cop Carmelita fox. Despite the obivous attraction between the two, Sly gets a kick out of tormenting her and well just generally making her work-driven lifestyle difficult to say the least. It really shines light on Sly’s winsome and charming personality.
Sly Cooper is a fine example of great development. He is sly as his name states, funny, loyal and truly captivating as a lead character, so much so that we forget in some respects he is actually the bad guy.
8. Vass – Far Cry Series (Ubisoft Montreal)
”Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is?” – Far Cry 3 (2012)
This savage nutter of a villain would be out of place if not in this top 10. Vaas Montenegro dominates the tropical setting (Rook Islands) of Far Cry 3 with his pirate troops. He is a mindless lunatic who doesn’t show the slightest bit of remorse for getting blood on his hands.
Within the first few minutes of gameplay, Vaas brutally murders the brother of protagonist, Jason Brody and in doing so sets the tone for the game, quite gruesomely displaying how barbaric this pirate lord truly is. This lack of guilt or regret for such evil acts makes Vaas a genuinely frightening villain as the reality is he will stop at nothing to get what he wants and as Far Cry 3’s proceedings play out, this becomes increasingly evident. Far Cry’s 3’s setting also contributes in a way which is not immediately noticeable. The Rook Islands are unpredictable and overwhelmed with danger and it really acts as a representation of Vaas’s personality. All in all the player will learn that despite the initial beauty of the vibrant tropical island, that they shouldn’t underestimate it, nor Vaas’s villainy.
Vaas is such a well developed character on Ubisoft’s part. Players will find themselves completely hooked on his sheer nastiness and no matter how many innocent people he slaughters, or shockingly horrid offences he commands, the player will remain just as disturbed each time.
7. Dr Nefarious – Ratchet And Clank Series (Insomniac Games)
”When I’m finished killing you, I think I’ll rewind time so I can do it again, and again, and again!” – Ratchet And Clank: A Crack In Time (2009)
Dr. Nefarious is the most renowned antagonist of the Ratchet And Clank series, he is power-hungry, dastardly and well, pretty comical. Nefarious’s intentions to rid the galaxy of organic life, leaving it to all robots always fall light-years short and leave him looking like a right royal nincompoop.
Dr. Nefarious isn’t a great character because of his evil acts, he is so because he’s absolutely hilarious. On top of all the drastic failure to his poorly planned atrocities, he has nasty habit of freezing and playing particular parts from his favourite films (Holovids). On many occasions he will lock up mid-scream, laugh or sentence and recite ”Oh, Janice”. Furthermore, Nefarious’s right hand man Lawrence is a complete moron and Nefarious rarely tolerates it. The witty master-slave insults are so well written and it truly makes Dr. Nefarious a great character to watch. He is just a lovable moron and the player will almost feel sorry for him despite his evilness.
Dr. Nefarious is a terrible villain. He can’t pull off anything remotely evil but it doesn’t deprive him of of place in this top 10.
6. GLaDOS- Portal Series (Valve Corporation)
”Here we are. The Incinerator Room. Be careful not to trip over any parts of me that didn’t get completely burned when you threw them down here.” – Portal 2 (2011)
GLaDOS is a great robotic video game character with a wickedly sinister sense of humour. She is one of the reasons the Portal series is so thoroughly indulgent.
Portal is driven by what can only be described as a very dark yet humorous story line, this is relfected on GLaDOS’s personality considering she spends the series more or less torturing Chell, the protagonist. As GLaDOS tests, Chell throughout the game within the puzzling chambers it is evident that her sick sense of humour has no boundaries. Within the second installment to the series she pretends to reunite Chell with her family, finding her own misleading lie hilarious. Although funny, her menacing behavior can be disconcerting and uncomfortable. Her ability to generate such feelings with ease is what makes her such a great character. Throughout GLaDOS’s endeavors, it is apparent she is a bit of a nut job and can at times be very scary. Her evil is seemingly unconfined to any boundaries and she has no trace of humanity. Her bad ways have no limits and it is very effective in making her a character to be feared.
Artificial intelligence can be frightening in respect to it possesses most human capabilities, lacking only the key element of emotion and empathy. GLaDOS is an ample example of this and you’ll be grateful it is you being tested as opposed to testing her and her patience.
5. Ratchet – Ratchet And Clank Series (Insomniac Games)
“So, you need me to go on a dangerous mission in another galaxy?” – Ratchet And Clank 2 (2003)
This furry cutie pie without a doubt earns his way into this top 10. Since 2002, this loyal Lombax has been stealing our hearts with his courage, sass and his truly touching friendship with his metal companion, Clank. Initially Ratchet didn’t have much of a back-story, he was simply a galactic citizen eager for a little action and adventure. However, as gaming generations progressed, Insomniac Games began to provide more insight into Ratchet’s origins, mainly in The Future Ratchet And Clank installments. This made Ratchet all the more lovable as it brought his headstrong persona back down to earth and pretty much gave him feelings. He was no longer just reckless, resilient and determined to get the bad guys, he had a purpose, something to fight for.
Ratchet’s relationship with Clank is incredibly significant to what makes him such a lovable protagonist. Not only is the back and forth banter between the pair thoroughly amusing, but the two were truly developed to bounce off of one another, compliment one another and ultimately it puts Ratchet in such a heart-warming light. He is portrayed as such a loyal and protective friend and it makes him such an endearing character that is impossible not to adore. Ratchet simply grows on you.
Heroes don’t have to be overwhelmingly muscular or almost superhuman, they can win us over in any shape, size or form and Ratchet is a fine display of just that.
4. Lightning Farron – Final Fantasy Series (Square Enix)
”You became a l’Cie, so now you’re gonna marry this idiot? And you think I’m gonna buy that. Full points for originality. But, don’t forget. If you really are a l’Cie, it’s my job to deal with you.” – Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
Lightning is a very complex character and she makes the top 10 on account of it. Initially, Lightning appears to be the hardy type and due to a rough childhood and having to raise her sister by herself, she has every reason to be so. However, the beauty in Lightning isn’t just her striking appearance but the fact she is so much more than just a hard-nut and when Final Fantasy’s proceedings pick apart that tough exterior, inside hides a young girl mourning the loss of her parents, just wanting to be loved.
A key element to Lightning’s character is her relationship with her sister, Serah. Due to the death of their parents, Lightning took it upon herself to raise Serah from a young age, a burden no one would wish upon a child so young. This being the case, Lightning often forgets she is her sister and more or less mothers her. This does subsequently affect their relationship a lot of the time, for instance when Snow (another playable character within Final Fantasy) proposes to Serah who agrees, Lightning treats the situation as mother would by forbidding it and deeming it preposterous whereas a sister would be more excited and encourage the relationship between the pair. Lightning is incredibly over protective and it makes her such a lovable character not only because she’d do anything for her little sister but also because the player will grow to pity her on account of the childhood she has missed.
Lightning’s sturdy and emotionless facade deteriorates as the game progresses and the player will grow to love Lightning increasingly as her more sentimental side is revealed.
3. Elizabeth Comstock – Bioshock series (2K Games)
”Time… time rots everything; even hope.” – Bioshock Infinite (2013)
Elizabeth Comstock, one of the leading roles in Bioshock Infinite is a character that will win over players within moments of meeting her. She possesses innocence, power and the player will no doubt be incredibly sympathetic for this very confused young girl.
Elizabeth has spent the entirety of her days confined to a tower, learning only of humanity and civilisation through a means of books. When Booker (protagonist also known as the False Shepard) finally rescues Elizabeth from her solitude in order to wipe away his debt, Elizabeth is introduced to the world for real. Her shock as she’s people dancing to music she hasn’t heard before, citizens of Columbia conversing with one another and the apparent beauty of the world in which she lives, it all contributes into putting into perspective her innocence and how she truly knows so little of the world. Elizabeth is vulnerable and depends on Booker, the player will no doubt grow protective over her and love her character accordingly. In the downloadable content for Bioshock Infinite (Burial At Sea) in which the protagonists revisit the setting of the previous installments to the series, Rapture, we see a different side to Elizabeth altogether. Over the duration of the proceedings of Bioshock Infinite, Elizabeth became stronger, more aware, however, in Burial at see she has developed even further becoming driven, confident and not nearly comparable to the fragile young lady that was rescued at the near beginning of Bioshock Infinite. She is still an amazing character nonetheless and the player will still strive to love her as they did before.
Elizabeth is a wonderful addition to Bioshock Infinite. She is so strong and confident yet oblivious and vulnerable all the same. She is a thoroughly lovely character not only throughout the game itself but also throughout it’s outstanding downloadable content.
2. Joel – The Last Of Us (Naughty Dog)
”I struggled for a long time with survivin’. And you- No matter what, you keep finding something to fight for. Now, I know that’s not what you want to hear right now, but it’s…” – The Last Of Us (2013)
Joel is one of the best male protagonists to date and the player will adore his every action and hand on his every word from the start right to the end of The Last Of Us.
Joel seizes admirers from the very start of the game in which his touching relationship with his daughter Sarah will tug ever so gently at the players heart strings. As events unfold, although at the expense of a few potential tears, Joel gets further admiration in his clutches which only continues to grow as the game plays out. Joel is a great character as it is exceptionally evident throughout that Joel is a gentle giant concealing a mass of emotion with a hard exterior he has had to develop. Joel will earn sympathy as the harshness of the post-apocalyptic setting takes it’s toll on him and even more so as he has to make some tough decisions. The Last Of Us is renowned for it’s focus on the relationship between the two main protagonists, the other being teenager, Ellie. Joel initially looks after Ellie for his own benefit, however as the game continues you watch him grow to care about Ellie and is this transition of feelings is no less than wonderful to witness.
Joel is a fantastically developed character. With Ellie complimenting his every part in the game he will no doubt become every players desired companion given the occurrence of an apocalypse.
1. Lara Croft – Tomb Raider Series (Square Enix)
”A famous explorer once said, that the extraordinary is in what we do, not who we are.” – Tomb Raider (2013)
This top spot is stolen by archaeological wonder, Miss Croft. Over a series consisting of over 10 games our world renowned Tomb Raider has secured a crazy fan base.
Lara Croft has transformed over the series from a sassy, invulnerable treasure hunter in the earlier installments to a young archaeologist attempting to put her name out there in the series reboot of 2013. Lara Croft is such an appealing character in her first installments due to her pure badassitude. Every guy wants to be with her and every girl would love to be her. She is simply incredibly awesome. In the reboot to the series we saw an exceedingly different side to Lara. Set before her prior encounters we saw how she came to be the tomb raiding legend she is to date. From start to near finish she is vulnerable and fragile, the absolute opposite from how we’ve learned to see her. Players then have the pleasure of watching her endure what few could, sculpting her slowly but surely into the hard-headed, driven archaeologist we know her as to date. Having to endure her suffering with her allows players to become emotionally intertwined with Lara. Tomb Raider defies every prejudice against female capabilities and in being so she is almost iconic for women. The reboot has made her character that much more believable and in being so players are captivated by her that bit more.
Tomb Raider possesses everything that is great about a character, she is strong, sassy and thanks to the new reboot she is realistic. Her journeys for ancient artifacts will be ones fans will engross in for time to come.