by Chris Scott
reviewed on PS3
How does it play, then?
Of course looking and sounding great and having a great story are strong ingredients to an excellent narrative experience but Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is a game and if a game doesn't play well then it is not a good game regardless of the intangibles. Fortunately, A Crack in Time's gameplay matches everything else Insomniac stuffed into the game.
Players will be tasked with guiding Ratchet through planetary levels as he searches for clues on Clank's whereabouts. These levels are filled with plenty of intense combat that Ratchet can engage in with either his trusty wrench or a selection from his extensive arsenal of weaponry amassed by collecting the game's currency, bolts. Most of this is entirely familiar to gamers who have played the series before, as most of the trappings of previous games have returned: weapons gain experience and upgrades, plenty of jumping puzzles and large arena battles.
While Ratchet's on-planet experience may be virtually the same as in previous iterations, albeit with new weapons and gadgets, the game really changes when the story moves off-planet. Ratchet pilots a fighter ship to travel from planet to planet. Ratchet can actually explore the sectors he is in, including space combat events and multiple moons that can be landed on. Once landed on a moon Ratchet can explore it for collectibles to upgrade Ratchet's equipment, including his ship.
What makes these exploration based levels so different though is the way they are structured. Anyone who has played Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy will quickly sense the inspiration behind these moon levels being as they are small and spherical in nature. Not every moon can be approached the same way either - each one requires varying tactics.
While Ratchet is off getting into dogfights and landing on moons filled with dangerous creatures, Clank is off doing his own thing. In past games Clank's gameplay always seemed a little tacked on but A Crack in Time delivers a big role for Clank to play that is just as involving as his furry friend's. Most of Clank's gameplay involves time based gameplay puzzles and a mini game involving spinning a globe and destroying temporal vortexes. The time based puzzles are by far the most interesting of Clank's gameplay, requiring gamers to figure out how to open up doors using recorded versions of Clank.
Best on PS3
The new additions to the tried and true gameplay formula add quite a bit to the overall game, spicing it up enough that the game feels fresh but also keeping enough of the mainstays intact to satisfy series veterans. The story is fantastic, with just the right amount of humor and revelations to keep gamers intrigued throughout the entire run. The inclusion of trophies will keep gamers playing this game for quite some time. Overall, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is Insomniac's best entry into the series to date and one of the best Playstation 3 games to be released this year.
Beautiful visuals, humorous and touching story, excellent voice acting and some of the best gameplay in a platformer.
Some of the gameplay feels like we've been there before.