Ratchet & Clank (2016) review - A reboot done spectacularly right
It's only natural to be a little worried about the release of a reboot/reimagining of a much-loved game like Ratchet & Clank, considering some of the less-than-ideal franchise reboots we've seen over the past few years. But with original developer Insomniac at the wheel, Ratchet & Clank's modern gaming revival goes above and beyond what anyone expects from a reboot today.
Not playing Ratchet & Clank or its then-rival series Jak and Daxter during the PlayStation 2 era was like avoiding Spyro and Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation -- you just didn't do it, and you were missing out if you did.
The 2016 Ratchet & Clank reboot on the PlayStation 4 brings that style of 3D platformer back with full confidence, and in many ways far surpasses the original game. This is one reboot that really shows the developers both love the franchise they're working on and have grown in scope and skill.
This may be the best example of a video game reboot the past two console generations.
The very first thing anyone can't help but notice about Ratchet & Clank is how gorgeous it is, quickly followed up by how lively everything seems. As soon as you exit the garage in the tutorial, you're met with the cartoony-yet-detailed desert landscape of planet Veldin and a sky bustling with hovercrafts going to and fro. It's almost impossible not to take a screenshot right then and there.
The level of detail and activity seen around Veldin is only the beginning, as each planet Ratchet and Clank find themselves on is similarly packed with cartoon beauty. It's only fitting the game look so good with the tie-in movie coming out on the 29th.
Weapon effects and enemies are similarly detailed and lively, but things get a little too busy at times when swarms of Bolts start flying your way. This ultimately doesn't detract from the game, but does at times cause minor slowdowns.
You won't be disappointed if you're looking for the tight controls the series is known to have: Ratchet & Clank controls like a dream.
Along with the tight controls come an arsenal of weapons not seen in the original game. Rather, the weapons are taken from later games in the series and give a wider range of playstyles than the original game.
Stumbling across each new weapon is a treat to the point that revealing what they are could be considered a spoiler. What isn't a spoiler is that your weapons level up as you use them and can be manually upgraded for additional ammunition, range, rate of fire, and so on as you progress. You really make your favorite weapons your own this time around.
There are three difficulty modes and three control styles to choose from, accommodating most skill levels and gameplay preferences. Normal difficulty may be a little on the easy side for experienced fans but you can swap difficulties and controls at any time. New Game+ and Challenge Mode, which are unlocked on completion, add some additional challenge and goals once you've finished the game your first time around.
Saying the original Ratchet & Clank from 2002 is a good game is an understatement. Saying the 2016 reboot is a good game is doing it an injustice--it's good. Real good.
If developers are put on a reboot project, they should be forced to play the original PlayStation 2 version of this game and then this absolutely magical reimagining as there is literally no better example on the market today.
Ratchet & Clank is expectedly short if you don't intend to hunt down all the Gold Bolts scattered across the galaxy. Most playthroughs will run less than 10 hours. Completionists will get significantly more playtime through seeking every Gold Bolt, upgrading every weapon to max, getting every holo-card, and clearing New Game+ and Challenge Mode.
There is nothing to complain about in Ratchet & Clank, except the fact there hasn't been a reboot of Going Commando announced. Perhaps if this beauty and its tie-in movie do well, we'll get lucky.