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July 30 2007
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
22/5/2007SonySonyHigh Impact Games
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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Ratchet, Clank, Luna and Captain Qwark.
Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank is a series which has millions of fans the world over. After three successful outings on the PS2, and a stunning looking PS3 version due out late this year the two heroes are also bound for Sony's handheld, and what an outing it is. Much like Daxter on the PSP though the original developers haven't worked on the game, but rather handed it over to another developer. In the case of Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters that developer is High Impact Games and much like developers Ready at Dawn for Daxter this is their first title.

The story behind the game is pretty much in the same vein as other games in that the duo must defeat evil. While on a much needed vacation, Ratchet and Clank’s rest and relaxation time is suddenly cut short as they soon find themselves lured into a mysterious quest. Following the trail of a kidnapped girl, Ratchet and Clank rediscover a forgotten race of genius inventors known as the Technomites. They soon uncover a plot more dangerous than they could have imagined.

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Graphically Size Matters game is superb.
If you've ever played a previous Ratchet & Clank title then you'll know what to expect from this title. This third person action title is set across 10 main levels including locations such as Ryllus, Medical Outpost Omega and Quodrona to name a few. Each of the locations has quite a unique look and feel with different backgrounds, and enemies. As with previous games combat can be either hand-to-hand (well, Ratchet is equipped with a Wrench, so it's hand-to-wrench really) as well as a wide variety of weapons including classics such as the Lacerator, Scorcher, Shock Rocket, Acid Bombs, and Concussion Gun among others. Also introduced in this game is upgradeable armor with new types littered throughout the levels, many of which are hidden away.

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Levels can get pretty busy at times.
All-in-all this is a pretty standard length action game however adding to the longevity of this title is the fact that even as you continue through the game a couple of times you will be able to upgrade your weapons further, and certainly find areas or hidden things you missed the first time through. As you play through the levels you can destroy crates, and enemies, to collect bolts. These can then be used to purchase new weapons, and also weapon upgrades. Twenty Titanium Bolts are also hidden around the levels and can be used to purchase new skins for the characters. While they don't add anything to the gameplay, or your abilities, they are nice touch for completists. Yet another gameplay addition are the Clank challenges which, upon completion, reward you with truckloads of bolts to spend in the game. But that's still not all. Throughout the game you can enter hover board races, or collect skill points for completing tasks within levels. It's fair to say, that besides the main game you can be sidetrack for hours completing all the other tasks or unlocking all the bonuses.

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Firing on the enemies ahead.
The good news too is that the streaming technology that was used in the PS2 games has been ported to the PSP so there is no loading at all during the levels - the loading only occurs when traveling from one planet to another. Gamers will be pleased to hear that multi-player is also catered for in Size Matters with support for up to 4-players in either Ad-Hoc or Infrastructure mode. There are four maps to battle in, with Deathmatch and Capture the Flag likely to generate the most interest. It's pretty entertaining and is certain to chew up a couple more hours of your life.

There aren't too many problems with this game, but there are the odd bits that could have been ironed out. First off, if you ignore the side quests and challenges, the game should have been a little longer - it's won't take too long if you rush through the title. The camera provides another big issue, and if affects the gameplay. The camera doesn't automatically pan and track as well as it should leaving the gamer to manually rotate the camera quite often using the L and R buttons, or both together to center the camera behind the character. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters varies wildly in difficulty with lengthy easy sections before hitting one or two hard sections making you go back a fair way before getting back to replay the harder section.

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And the battle continues...
It's amazing that the PSP's graphics are, to put it bluntly, right up there with the PS2 games. Even with a slower CPU clock speed (compared to the PS2) the system manages to look every bit the part with superb detail on the main characters, gorgeous cut-scenes, and a solid frame rate. Animation on the characters - they being Ratchet, Clank, friends and foes - are all simply superb. Levels are varied and are - for the most part - quite colourful although compared to the upcoming Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction on PS3 the levels are quite sparse (and yes, we know that's like comparing bread to a buffet in terms of hardware specifications!).

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Ermm Clank, do something.
Yet another area of the game where I struggle to find fault is the audio. Everything from the speech to the effects and the music are second to none. The speech is not only superbly voice-acted, but the script for the dialogue is witty and often quite humorous, not unlike the PS2 games at all actually. Sound effects are meaty enough with good variety to the weapons, enemies and collecting the bolts while the music is also atmospheric and suits the game perfectly.

Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters really is a brilliant title. It still amazes me just how technically advanced PSP titles are for such a small (and soon to be much smaller!) handheld system. The graphics and audio are superb and the gameplay is just as impressive. Along with Daxter this is another feather in the PSP's cap, and certainly a brilliant start for new development team High Impact Games. Superb.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSGorgeous characters, levels and effects. One of the best on PSP.
SOUNDVoiceovers are great, but music and effects are also solid.
GAMEPLAYIf you've played another R&C title then you know what to expect.
VALUEBesides the main game theres a tonne of extras to get through as well.
OVERALLRatchet & Clank: Size Matters really is another superb title for the PSP. It has everything going for it and is a worthy addition to your PSP library.

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