Ratchet And Clank
By: Green Mitama
Ever wish you could have an arsenal of weapons and gadgets at your beck and call while playing a platformer game? Allow me to introduce you to your genie.
Ratchet and Clank, the newest offering from developer Insomniac is about to grant every weapons freak their wish - a platformer right in their own backyard. This game is about saving the universe from an evil plot to destroy it, it’s about the friendship between an unlikely duo, and it’s about having as many weapons as possible to blow up as much stuff as you want. Yes my friends, it’s time to lock and load - platformer style!
Life for Ratchet was rather dull. He was a good mechanic, but stuck on a backwater little planet with no way to get off and see the universe. Then one day a strange thing occurs - a little robot crash lands on his planet. His name is Clank, and he’s running scared for his life. Turns out that there’s this Chairman guy named Drek who rules a very polluted planet named Orxon where an ugly race of slime creatures known as the blarg live. Realizing his planet is a dump, but not wanting to take the time to clean it up, Drek hatches a wicked plan. He’s gonna build a new planet from the best parts of all the other planets. If they won’t give them up freely, well then he’ll send in his robot armies to wipe out the resistance. Unfortunately for Drek, while he’s building his robot armies a problem occurs. It seems one of the robot minions was created with a “glitch” - he small, he’s smart and he doesn’t like Drek’s plan. This little guy is Clank. He flees the factory to get help, but his ship is shot down over Ratchet’s planet. Now the two have joined together to rebuild Clank’s ship and save the universe from Chairman Drek.
There are some very positive features that this game has to offer. First of all, it’s non-linear - definitely my favorite style of gameplay. When you get to each new destination (usually an new planet) you will be given a set of objectives, but you don’t have to complete them all to move on to the next place, and the order you choose to complete the in is mostly up to the player. So you can hop about the universe from planet to planet in the way you want to. I prefer this, as if you are finding that one area is really challenging to you, you can try your hand at another area and then come back to the part you had problems with. Much better than being stuck.
Also this games adds some FPS game play to the platform style. You will actually be able to target enemies and shoot at them with you numerous weapons. So let’s talk about that. This game is chalk full of gadgets and weaponry to buy or win, some will help you get from place to place like a under water breathing apparatus, and some, well, some are just fun weapons. In the demo there was one gadget: a sling shot to get you where you wanna go, and four weapons: a fire blaster, a gun, a missile launcher and my personal fave a weapon called the hand of doom. You have to see this weapon at work. A small ball of energy forms which Ratchet puts on the ground. Out of the ball five little mechanical things come out and do a kamikaze attack on five of your enemies. So if you run into a spot of trouble - you can have some helpers take out some of the heat. Very cool indeed. So for those of you who like weaponry - this will be the platformer for you to buy this year.
You’ll also be able to get upgrades for Clank that will allow for things like flight, long jumps and so on. And from what I heard both Ratchet and Clank will be playable characters, though Clank spends most of his time riding around on Ratchet’s back like a back pack.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a bit about how the game actually plays. Most of your enemies are going to be robots, some dog like, some people like, some in flying ships. You have the opportunity to buy weapons like I mentioned before, but you will always have your default weapons at hand: Ratchet’s handy wrench - good for bashing, slashing and throwing! Killing enemies causes nuts and bolts to fall down. These are your money items. Collect enough and you can go buy that nifty hand of doom item. The nice this is that the nuts and bolts are magnetically drawn to you so you don’t have to walk over all of them, and if some fall of a ledge, standing on the ledge will suck them back up. And of course there are lots of boxes lying around, some full of nuts and bolts, some full of ammunition, and some grant you extra life (in the form of a glowing blue electron globe). Like most games, there are hidden areas and even hidden boxes to find. Definitely makes exploring fun.
Just one last thought here. And this is a bit of speculation on my part, but I’m thinking the load times for this game might be zero. As you all know I’m a fan of no load times. Well from what I saw in the demo, the cut scenes took no time to load which to me is a very positive sign. Of course, this is a demo we’re talking about and the final product could be chock full of load times, but I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed.
Look for this one in the winter. It’s on my list and I think it should be on yours. Get ready to blow up the world.