Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time - PS3 Review
For years I have loved the Ratchet & Clank franchise which instills a sense of humour among some of the most visually impressive cartoon style visuals graphics, and brilliant platform/action gameplay. The PS3 saw the release of Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction in 2007 as well as the expansion pack Quest for Booty a year later, and Insomniac Games (who are also the developers of the Resistance titles on PS3) have just released the concluding game of this trilogy with Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time. Given that this game is being released a couple of years after the first game has the series progressed or stagnated?
|Visuals in Crack In Time are sensational.|
While it will help a little to have played the previous games in the series to understand the storyline and character backgrounds A Crack In Time does a good job of ensuring the story is also accessible to newcomers. Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time puts players into the role of both Ratchet and Clank as they attempt to reunite and save the universe. Along the way, both will finally uncover the hidden truth behind their origins and discover their ultimate destinies. As the duo come closer to reuniting, they’ll have to ask themselves the biggest question of all: Do Ratchet and Clank's destinies lie with each other? Or is it finally time for the universe’s greatest duo to separate for good?
|Wait, how many Clanks are there?|
Gameplay in A Crack In Time remains largely unchanged from previous games in the series, and in fact that is also one of the games weakest aspects - but more on that later. As with previous titles the gameplay is fantastic with a wide range of weapons including a couple of new ones such as the Spiral of Death and the Sonic Eruptor, the characters entertaining, the levels well designed and very detailed and colourul, and controls responsive. Credit must also go to Insomniac for getting a great balance between platforming, action sequences, puzzle solving, space flight and boss fights. We have to say though that while crate smashing seems so outdated and out of place in so many games, the need to smash crates through this game to collect the bolts (which are currency to purchase and upgrade weapons) remains as satisfying as ever.
The biggest change to this game comes with the ability to pilot a space craft around regions to visit various locations and worlds or talk to other beings in the universe. This gives the game a bit more of an open structure. Do you plough through the main storyline, or do you spend a bit of time playing all the side missions in order to unlock new goodies.
|The rather mysterious newcomer, Alister Azimuth.|
Another big change to the gameplay is the ability for Clank to record himself, and then play that back while his real self does something else. Confused? Well, OK, say there are two switches in a room, you could record your self running from the start point to the first switch, end the recording, and the start playback and while the 'virtual' Clank hits the first switch, your real self runs over to hit the second switch at the same time. While there was nothing we got overly stuck on, it does take a little thought, but youngsters may need a little help on occasion - we hope you're up to it!
Certainly the biggest disappointment we have with this game is quite simply the lack of multiplayer. Given that Insomniac Games have a very solid online engine as seen in their Resistance titles, and that even Uncharted 2: Among Thieves from Naughty Dog includes solid online modes, the lack of inclusion in this third outing on the PS3 for Ratchet and Clank is a disappointment.
|Ratchet & Clank are back in Crack in Time.|
Other issues? Well I was also disappointed in the lack of new, and exciting weapons in this game. Sure there are a few, but it hardly pushes the franchise along to keep it fresh. Also while we loved tha ability to go anywhere with your spaceship, the space battles became annoying after a while. Finally we encountered a few glitches in the game predominantly with clipping issues, occasionally seeing my character falling to his death. These were infrequent, but present.
Running in 720p with a silky smooth 60fps frame rate this is a visually impressive game. Previously we have suggested that this game, along with Naughty Dog's Jak & Daxter series have a visual style and quality that wouldn't be out of place with Disney and Pixar movies. Again, we can't argue with this thought with some brilliant locations, world detail, character design and animation. The cut-scenes in particular are superb with great dialogue, and character animation.
|Level design is impressive.|
It must be said though that while A Crack In Time is a gorgeous game overall, it doesn't demonstrate the same massive leaps in quality that Naughty Dog showed recently with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Still the first Ratchet and Clank on PS3 still holds up very well today, and this game is also near the top of the pack, but I was hoping that Insomniac would push graphics engine a little further.
Audio in the game is very impressive indeed with the same wonderful cartoony character voiceovers and upbeat music. Indeed if you've ever played other games in this franchise you should know exactly what to expect here with plenty of one liners and witty dialogue prevalent throughout.
|Oh yar, here's a screen with Ratchet!|
Make no mistake about it Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time is a very entertaining title which offers a much more open structure to the gameplay, a wide range of unique locations, and plenty of amusing characters and dialogue. Having said that the game doesn't offer anything too dramatically different or enhanced over previous titles - some online multi-player would have been most welcome - but if you like the franchise this is still well worth picking up as another great PS3 exclusive title.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||The game is busier then ever an looks stunning.||90%|
|SOUND||Similar (brilliant) audio to previous games in the series.||93%|
|GAMEPLAY||Gameplay is as brilliant as previous games, which is perhaps a part of the problem.||90%|
|VALUE||The single player will have you playing for a while but lack of multiplayer is disappoiting these days.||85%|
|OVERALL||This is another fine installment in the R&C series, and the last in the current trilogy. Hopefully Insomniac will freshen it up next time, but fans will still find much to enjoy here.||90%|