Ratchet And Clank (2016) Review

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What Makes The Perfect Post-Apocalyptic Game?

Apocalyptic

Games orientated around a post-apocalyptic story are becoming a superior genre of game. With next-generation capabilities, we see these games brought to life in development that makes the game feel so realistic that it almost makes the player feel as if they themselves are being bombarded by infected, or scavenging for goods in what remains of civilization. The demand for such games has become increasingly potent since the release of The Last Of Us especially, the post-apocalyptic wonder that snapped up at least 200 Game Of The Year Awards. With a mass of games slotting into this genre it is hard to determine what exactly are the key elements in making them so enjoyable and memorable. Well let’s look into that.

Frightening Foes 

Obvious, I agree but it is a fact that the success of a post apocalyptic game is partially derived from an array of terrifying enemies to war with. It wouldn’t be as thrilling or exciting being thrown up against a score of infected bunny rabbits. Over the years we’ve seen the opposition come in all shapes and sizes, whether it be a mutated mole rat or an infected human splattered in blood. Alarming enemies generate an initial and fundamental line of fear within post-apocalyptic games and a good enemy will make your blood-curdle and your spine tingle as you consider confronting them.

Dying Light (Techland) is plentiful in a span of such enemies. Although, sluggish zombies linger in the streets throughout the day, after sunset, players are left to deal with the agile terrors of the night, Hostiles.

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These terrifying goons are brilliant for upping the fear factor within the game. As you flee before them you can hear them huffing and puffing behind you as they close in. It’s really effective for generating the intensity that makes a great foe.

Furthermore, enemies can possess the scare-factor for an array of reasons. Taking the Fallout series as an accurate example, the games are set after the occurrence of a nuclear apocalypse, causing various creatures and humans to become mutated due to being consumed by high levels of radiation. Subsequently, enemies are larger and more frightening in terms of their alarming and unusual appearance. I mean, I’m not particularly fond of being harassed by a mob of Giant Scorpions or the misfortune of bumping into a Deathclaw. The enemies are out of character and creatures who’d usually not bat an eyelid at your presence become enemies. This unpredictability generates fear as a result.

What Makes A Perfect Post-Apocalyptic Game Fallout 2

 Scrounging

Nothing says ‘post-apocalypse’ like a lack of resources. Having to search every nook and cranny in the remains of what once a thriving civilisation, really provokes a sense of desperation, amplifying the whole ”survival” feel to a post-apocalyptic game. In resources being scarce players must use their noggin to tackle specific situations within such games as wisely as possible in order to conserve resources and to keep pushing forward. An admirable example of such a game is none other than Naughty Dogs own, The Last Of Us. The vast majority of situations throughout the duration of this absolutely fantastic game, can be tackled with stealth and a little patience, allowing the player to save resources for more hands on encounters. As the difficultly levels of the game increases ammo and food become increasingly rare to come by, having the player then assess each situation so thoroughly as not to draw attention, or a gun. Although a subtle aspect of the game, this style of gameplay is effective for deriving a sense of realism from The Last Of Us and it’s level of effectiveness is all to evident in it’s overall, mind-blowing success.

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Urgency And Desperation 

Post-apocalyptic related games are commonly orientated around survival of the fittest, the desperation of fending for yourself in order to stay alive above all others. Post-apocalyptic wonders to date would not be nearly as successful had we been handed the key to survival on a silver platter, relieving us of all means of urgency and panic. Instead, these games are successful as we have to fight for the gift of life.

A very underrated example of such attention to detail is indie game, Lone Survivor (Superflat Games/ Curve Studios). Although the 2D- retro styled graphics may not exactly cause you to jump or scare easy, this game compensates with every other post-apocalyptic aspect being no less than perfectly-executed, complete with and eerie original soundtrack and the most effect sense of urgency and desperation. Throughout the game players must consume food and drink regularly in order to avoid falling unconscious and then awaking in your bedroom situated in the first initial area of the game. This may not sound like any particular reason to worry but with save points or in this case mirrors being so far apart, it is vital to avoid starvation.

Another post-apocalyptic game that has a very effective way of making the player remain on their toes is The Walking Dead Game (Telltale Games), but this is however for a very different reason. The Walking Dead Game is an interactive drama featuring various button sequences and decisions the player should make. The beauty in this game is it generates the post-apocalyptic panic by limiting times in which players can make decisions. In a matter of seconds a player must decide who to save between two people on the basis of who will benefit them most, what way a team of survivors should tackle a specific situation, all the while bearing in mind every decision has a consequent effect on the rest of the game, meaning a bad decision could have a detrimental outcome.

What Makes A Perfect Post-Apocalyptic Game The Walking Dead Game

Superb Settings 

Post-apocalyptic games thrive in success thanks to finely developed settings. Not only are these hypothetical post-apocalyptic settings great for allowing the mind of the player to indulge in how the aftermath of an apocalypse could look on some realistic level, but it is also ups gameplay standards by giving the player so much to explore and do. Well-developed settings can also be very effective in adding pressure on the story of the game itself, reeling in players emotions by making the characters within the game look extremely hard done by. Again, Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is a very prominent example of this. Set in a post-apocalyptic USA, we see the only means of safety being the scattered quarantine zones. As soon as the protagonists leave the safety of these areas, then having to navigate unstable skyscrapers and office buildings, flooded underpasses and booby-trapped places of refuge, we see a lot of pressure piled onto the story. Ultimately all of this makes the story unpredictable and as vaguely mentioned prior, it draws in players emotions, all of which is obviously effective in reflection to the outstanding success of The Last Of Us.

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Sensational Stories

A jaw-dropping story is such a key aspect to driving post-apocalyptic games to their success. Although it seems an obvious aspect it truly is vital. An enthralling story will give a hypothetical game a sense of realism, making it seem much less far fetched. Post-apocalyptic games are much more enjoyable when they are believable. The Walking Dead Game (Telltale Games) is driven by it’s story telling, giving the player total control, almost making it as though they are the one surviving. The game is realistic and ditches the traditional idea of taking refuge in a shopping center with the rest of the survivors in your town and city. The Last Of Us (Naughty Dog) is hands down one of the best post-apocalyptic tales to date, purely because it is realistic and everything that happens within the game could happen given an infectious outbreak. It is always a winner to give the player the chance to feel like they themselves are within the game, especially within post-apocalyptic based games.

Even A Bit Of Originality 

Living happily, outbreak of zombies occurs, survive. This is a traditional timeline of the chain of events within post-apocalyptic games. This being the case, it is a breath of fresh-air when a game of the same genre is released that is a little different. In this case we are going to refer to Tokyo Jungle (Sony Computer Entertainment/ Japan Studio) a game based on survival of the fittest, but in regards to the animal kingdom as mankind has strangely disappeared. In a post-apocalyptic setting you play as animals, fighting to survive long enough for the player to discover the reasoning behind the disappearance to humans. Initially this game is just hilarious, playing as animals such as Pomeranians (cute fluffy dogs), Lions and even some prehistoric creatures. However, the games success as a downloadable game was due to it’s originality and the fact it was developed from a totally different perspective on a post-apocalyptic world.

What Makes A Perfect Post-Apocalyptic Game Tokyo Jungle

Games based on the aftermath of an apocalypse are becoming a particularly popular genre of game. With some great games already taking the gaming market by storm and with player demand for more of the genre I think it is only fair to say we can expect even greater releases from developers in this genre in time to come, all of which harnessing these very vital ingredients to the perfect post-apocalyptic game.