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August 8, 2012
Ratchet & Clank Trilogy - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
28/6/2012SonySonyInsomniac (original)
Idol Minds (HD Trilogy)
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Ratchet has been given a nice HD upgrade.
2012 may mark the end of the world on the Mayan calendar, but more importantly to Playstation 3 owners it also marks the ten-year anniversary of Ratchet and Clank's arrival on the Playstation 2. The ten-year anniversary was all the incentive Idol Minds needed to bring the first three Ratchet and Clank games to the PS3, remastered in HD and with 3D support to boot. The Ratchet and Clank games are among the most-loved in Playstation 2 history – does this trilogy do the games justice? The short answer is absolutely, for the longer answer keep reading.

You’d have to have been living under an awfully large rock (or be very young) not to know who Ratchet and Clank are, but for those three of you out there let me tell you a bit about them. Ratchet is a Lombax – they look a bit like a cat that walks around on two legs - he’s also handy with a wrench which makes him a fine mechanic. Clank is his short but smart robotic sidekick who is determined to make the world a safer and better place by eradicating the galaxy of its numerous villains.

Speaking of villains you’re going to meet a few of them over the course of this trilogy. First off there’s Chairman Drek, leader of the Blargian race, who is taking the best parts of various planets (destroying them in the process) in order to make one perfect planet where the Blargs can live. It’s unsurprising that his galaxy-wide genocide raises the ire of Clank, and eventually Ratchet, in the first game of the trilogy. In the third game you’re introduced to Dr Nefarious, a robotic super-villain determined to rid the galaxy of all organic life by turning them into evil robots with his Biobliviator.

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Ratchet & Clank HD Trilogy is out now.
Although Drek and Nefarious are villains, they have a comical side, just like all the characters in the Ratchet and Clank games. You’ll be introduced to a wide range of characters across the three games, though none are as memorable as Captain Qwark. Captain Qwark is a hero in the vein of Futurama’s Zap Brannigan – in other words he’s selfish, deluded, cowardly and self-absorbed. Qwark plays a role across all three games, so you’ll get to know him – whether you want to or not. Abercrombie Fizwidget is another interesting character, one who is prone to inventing new words every time he opens his mouth. You’ll also meet the president, his daughter, a computer technician named Al, and a demented fitness instructor named Helga among others.

Weapons play an important role in all three games, and there is huge range for you to acquire. There isn’t space to list them all but here are a few of the most fun. The suck cannon sucks in small enemies (or environmental objects) and then fires them as bullets. The Chopper fires a series of blades that bounce off walls, cutting enemies to pieces in no time. The miniturret glove lets you place turrets around you, giving you extra firepower when you need it. The lava gun (and later the liquid nitrogen gun) deliver exactly what its name promises, as does the Quack-O-Ray which turns enemies into ducks.

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Visuals in this aging series still impress.
There are stacks of other weapons including rifles, rocket launches and all powerful RYNO (Rip Ya a New One). In the second and third games weapons upgrade through use, making them stronger as you progress through the game. It’s a great system that actively encourages you to use your weapons and play through the games multiple times in order to max them out.

Ratchet and Clank is often described as a gun-toting platformer, but that just scratches the surface of what you’ll be doing in these games. There are hoverboard and hoverbike races, space battles, vehicle combat, a minigame that has you conversing in an alien tongue, puzzles to solve, computers to hack and death-defying obstacle courses to traverse – among other things! Gadgets also play a key role in the games, and they’ll help you in a variety of tricky situations. The Swingshot will allow you to swing over huge gaps between platforms, grindboots let you slide along rails, the thermanator lets you turn water to ice and back again, while the refractor lets you redirect lasers. There are plenty of other gadgets to find and use in the games but I won’t list them all here.

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Ratchet blows away some enemies.
There are also a stack of collectibles to find throughout the games – golden bolts in the first game, platinum bolts in the second, and titanium bolts and character trophies in the third. You’ll find plenty of these collectibles on your first playthrough, but finding them all will undoubtedly require multiple playthroughs. Each game also has thirty skill points to earn (many of these are also trophies), and earning them all will take a huge effort. Trying to complete the hoverboard race in under 1:35 in the first game, collecting all one hundred desert crystals in the second game, and beating the record times in the Qwark Vid Comics in the third game are all going to take a LOT of effort.

Interestingly Ratchet and Clank 3 includes multiplayer, but not the platforming kind. There are 3 primary multiplayer game modes; deathmatch and capture the flag (which are both self-explanatory), and siege. In Siege there are several bases located around the map which must be occupied by either team on your quest to the opposition’s base. These three games can be played either locally (with up to four players in split-screen) or online against up to seven others. It’s worth mentioning that at the moment it can be extremely tough to find a game to play online – perhaps because the game isn’t out in the US yet.

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Time for some skydiving - Ratchet style on PS3.
So far as issues go there aren’t too many to mention here – the port seems almost perfect. Idol Minds deserves a big pat on the back for their efforts in porting the games so well, but one area we’d have loved some improvement is in the sewer sections of the third game. The sewers are populated by amoeboids that split into multiple smaller enemies when they’re killed. In these sewers the slow-down becomes so extreme it’s almost unplayable – this was an issue in the original game though, so we can’t criticize Idol Minds too much. Outside of that the only minor complaint I have is that there’s no way to switch between the games without quitting and reloading.

Visuals have always been a highlight of the Ratchet and Clank games, and despite being as much as ten years old the visuals have held up quite well, with the third game in particular looking great in HD. All three games have a rich, vibrant cartoony look and the characters move fluidly thanks to a high polygon count (ooh, there’s a term we haven’t heard in a while). Level design is excellent throughout, and you’ll be encouraged to come back to many levels to complete areas that were inaccessible your first time through. The games can now be played in 3D, and there are definitely some cool moments this way (including a trippy magnetic boot sequence in the third game, where it’s difficult to tell up from down), but to be honest I was just as happy playing without 3D.

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Ratchet & Clank HD Trilogy is a solid release.
The audio is excellent in the second and third games, but the first game seems a little out of place. Some of the music and effects grated on me in the first game, while character voices, including both Ratchet and Clank, just don’t sound right. The voice-acting in all three games is solid though, and there’s a great sense of humour throughout. The music, like the visuals, has a cartoony flavor, and is cheerful, comically sinister and elevator-appropriate in equal measure. It all suits the game well, and aside from a couple of tunes is easy on the ears. The sound effects are great, especially the many weapons and explosions. The only sound effects that irritated were those in the Hacker’s minigame in Ratchet and Clank 3. Yuck!

When these three Ratchet and Clank games were originally reviewed by Futuregamez they scored 92%, 95% and 96% respectively, and all three games have been perfectly ported here. While they won’t score as well this time around those scores accurately reflect the quality of the titles and how each game improves upon the its predecessors. All three games are great fun, have great variety in gameplay and tons of replayability thanks to the collectibles and ever-improving weapons, not to mention the all-new trophy support. If you’ve never played Ratchet and Clank this trilogy (priced at just $50) is a must-have, and even if you have played them before we recommend this game heartily.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSThe first game looks dated, but by the time you reach the third things are looking pretty good. Plays well in 3D too.
SOUNDThe music is solid, the voice-acting is great and the sound effects are top-notch.
GAMEPLAYThere’s lots of different things to do which keeps the games fresh. That said, the shooting and platforming sections never get boring, so this is a strong point.
VALUEThree games for the price of one (cheapie). You can’t go wrong, especially if you haven’t played them before.
OVERALLRatchet and Clank is probably my favourite PS2 franchise and the port is perfect. Don’t let their age put you off, this trilogy will make a fine addition to your collection.

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