The Ratchet & Clank series holds a special place in my heart. I played the first game in the series on Christmas 2002 on Playstation 2. I wasn’t really into platformers but this series had a unique spin. It featured a “cutesy” hero and his even more “cutesy” companion strapped to his back but they also carried a serious arsenal. For the next three years after, the Ratchet & Clank series released more iterations in the series. Then the series took a break when the Playstation 3 was released but quickly returned with the Ratchet & Clank Future series. That series finally came to an end around the time of the release of the Playstation 4. But there was news that the series was getting a computer animated movie based on the first game and then there was the announcement of a “reboot/reimagining” of the first game as well.
Playing the latest entry in the series, it was very much deja vu. I recognized many of the levels and what I was supposed to do. However there were enough new things so that things never became too familiar. The series drastically changed with the second entry in the series and really found its stride with the third entry. This game helps to make that game gel with the others in the series. There are also more character touches. When the series first started, Ratchet was more of a jerk and Captain Qwark was an outright villain. As the series continued, these touches were toned down and when playing the game released in 2002, it was a little jarring. So this game helps to smooth out those edges and align more with the characters, we all know and love. The gameplay also matches more with the later entries in the series as combat is smooth. It can get chaotic but never overwhelming. The controls are also always top notch.
The graphics in the game are gorgeous. There is a unique shine to the game that makes it pop. Though gameplay and cutscenes are segregated, there is never too much of a disparity of them. I think the only reason that they are separate is because these are clips from the movie. This does bring out a bigger problem as the story is familiar to those who played the original but there is a jarring effect. The story makes certain jumps as if there is something featured in the movie that they couldn’t put into the game and so characters could be in one place one scene and the next they are in a different setting completely. That is my one overall complaint with the game but it is a small complaint.
Insomniac Games, the developers of the series, show once again while Ratchet & Clank is one of the most beloved franchise in video games. There is drama, comedy, suspense all mixed in a cartoony world that embraces the outlandish. The biggest accomplishment of all is how it all works together. This may be the developers swan song in the series. If it is, they went out on a high note and gave the franchise a beautiful goodbye.