Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time Updated Hands-On

We go hands-on with Insomniac's latest entry in the Ratchet & Clank series.

The last time we checked in on Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank, things had gone all Empire Strikes Back for the heroic duo. Clank had been nabbed and taken to parts unknown by a mysterious alien race known as the Zoni, leaving Ratchet to mount a rescue. The upcoming Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time aims to tie up the loose ends left by Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty. We got our hands on a work-in-progress preview version of the game, which let us play a decent chunk of the first few levels. Although the game isn't quite done, there was already a lot to like, and it definitely left us wanting more.

The first thing to call out about the game is its sense of humor, which, while always a staple of the series, is in fine form. The game starts out with some good laughs courtesy of everyone's favorite galactic loser, Captain Qwark. A short video interview with the blowhard runs while the game installs files to your PlayStation 3 and offers a quick run through current events for new players. Once that finishes, a cinematic shows how Clank is faring under the "care" of Dr. Nefarious, who, surprise, hasn't gotten any saner or quieter. True to form, Nefarious double-crosses the Zoni, and Clank makes a hasty escape, which is where you'll get control of the tiny bot. For the most part, Clank handles as he always has: you'll punch to attack enemies and be able to do hovering jumps that you can chain three times now for added distance and altitude. Clank's escape is aided by a robot named Sigmund, who appears via holographic projectors throughout the space station, a massive clockwork installation we've seen before, on his path to freedom. During the escape, there are moments of time weirdness that are obvious signs that things aren't quite right. Unfortunately, the escape run isn't a success, and Clank is caught.

The game then shifts focus to Ratchet, who is tearing through space with Captain Qwark to Clank's location. A mysterious energy surge rocks Ratchet's ship, Aphelion, and Qwark and Ratchet crash-land but survive thanks to a weird time anomaly. The level has you guiding Ratchet, with Qwark following along, as they explore the planet and meet the locals, who are called Fungoids. Along the way the two stomp on some wildlife, and Ratchet shops for some weapons. When the pair does find the locals, they're a needy lot with children to be saved and escorted to the main village. To be fair, their payback is good, and they set Ratchet up with a Zoni container, which is key to harvesting the mysterious creatures that not only repair Aphelion but yield some upgrades. Unfortunately, Nefarious' forces attack and nab Qwark along with some locals--making you wonder if hanging with Ratchet isn't just a really bad idea--and this sends Ratchet on a mini rescue mission into space.

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time looks like one of the best additions to the series. Unlike the space sections in the last game, A Crack in Time's space segments mix up space shooting with planet and moon exploration--with smooth transitions. It looks like each section of space will have a variety of different places to explore, each with something to collect, in addition to waves of fighters to take out. For this first section of space fighting, going after and infiltrating the enemy ship where Qwark is being held is central to the action. After dispatching enemy fighters to clear a path to the ship, the goal is to find Qwark and the natives, which entails exploring the ship's interior and solving puzzles. In addition, we were able to collect the first piece of the holo plan for the R.Y.N.O. V and pick up some additional weapons for Ratchet’s personal arsenal: the newly minted sonic eruptor and Mr. Zurkon, the surly killbot. The rescue is successful and leads to a boss battle against a high-ranking Nefarious henchman named Lord Vorselon. Once all the work was done, the next destination was the Breegus system, which shifted gameplay back to Clank on the space station and introduced us to his time powers.

Helloooo new toy!

The early levels teased quite a bit about the story, which is actually pretty intriguing. The talk about Clank's creator Orvis, the time anomalies, Alister Azimuth, the new mystery Lombax, and the impression given that elements from the previous games are all coming together in A Crack in Time's story definitely keeps things interesting. The dialogue between characters and all the snippets of overheard material give the story a bigger scope.

As far as the visuals go, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time outshines its predecessor thanks to an impressive array of subtle improvements that really make the visuals pop. The game's brighter color palette and new environmental effects really bring the alien worlds we've seen so far to life. Subtle touches, such as character and environmental animation, show an impressive attention to detail that makes the game as fun to watch as it is to play. We also have to call out the sense of scale in the environments, which gives the game an epic, expansive feel that suits the story well. The only blemish we've seen so far is the occasionally quirky camera, which can hitch in certain places, but given the camera work in the previous games, we expect it to be tightened up before release.

The visuals are complemented by the typically strong audio we've come to expect from the serious that's anchored by top-notch voice acting. Ratchet, Clank, Qwark, Nefarious, and newcomer Alister Azimuth all have voices that are easily on par with anything you'll hear in animated or CG movies. The effects for explosions and the various weapons are satisfying as always and suit the onscreen action well. The game's score is also very strong and helps frame the action and story nicely.

They're having a staring contest.

Based on what we've played, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time finds the series in the zone on the PlayStation 3. The core gameplay the series is known for is being tightened up in all the right places, and the new additions to the action have a good feel to them. However, equally important, the game's story and humor are nailing it in these early levels. It's great to see Qwark back and to see that, despite the genuinely funny stuff, there's some character development for both Ratchet and Clank. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is slated to ship in late October for the PlayStation 3. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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Discussion

126 comments
joshboy101
joshboy101

@tigertechie Got one for Christmas...beet this game and was thoroughly impressed.

tigertechie
tigertechie

@joshboy101 Get one. I didn't buy mine for this but I would. Get it. Now.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Looks like I'm gonna have to repeat my comment again. Hey @joshboy101 Get a PS3! If you have a Xbox don't plan on buying a new one when it burns out. If you saw my first comment you should be able to tell that sony is better than microsoft. That's why they are coming out with so many PS3 exclusives. They're learning that the Playstation has a unique and powerful engine. 'Killzone' R&C' 'Uncharted' to name a few cutting edge games.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

@PhysicsLCP I'll be commenting on the uncharted 2 review page. (the one where it says "comment on video" (the pitfall video).) Although I might post more comments here or on updated crack in time pages.

joshboy101
joshboy101

man this the only reason i really wish i had a ps3. This franchise is just amazing.

PaperSkin
PaperSkin

Yeah...I see...Well I think that it'll be a great Ratchet and Clank if it's not going to be the greatest!!

PaperSkin
PaperSkin

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

I suppose if you can't get it it's okay. It basically just leads up to the fact that nefarious is behind everything.

PaperSkin
PaperSkin

@dsbvusdbo thanks for the answer just wanted to know if it was essential to play Quest for Booty to understand the ps3 trillogy (I can't buy quest for booty cause they don't bring it in my country anymore ).By the way I played all the Ratchet and Clank too ,quest for booty is the only exception :( ,so don't worry I'm not missing anything ;)

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Umm... xXcash-_-moneyX why'd you play it if you thought it was so gay and horrible? (And even if you didn't think much of it, stick to criticizing the problems that are actually in the game instead of making up horrible insults.)

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

I see you emailed me paperskin but I don't reply that way so just post questions here. And yes I've played every single Ratchet & Clank game ever made except that mobile cell phone one. Quest for booty is much more of a bridge between games than anything else, of course it wasn't made to attract new fans so as a game for fans who have played the previous game at least it's great! If you haven't played every game ever made you don't know what your missing out on!

raptor400k
raptor400k

Thanks! and sorry for posting 3 times, I'm just a bit impatient with the slow net

xXcash-_-moneyX
xXcash-_-moneyX

@ vasot halo odst is gay & i dont think u were ever 12 years old

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Suddenly it occurs to me that I shouldn't be making comments about how weird other peoples are. mine is just a jumble of keys because I was trying to find one that was available. Sorry.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

As weird as your name is \:-| , I went ahead and gave you a thumbs up. I definintely agree with you. Here is my comment from below. Love Resistance as well! Both Insomniac. Very well made games. (Not just "good for the PS3.") an additude I see a bit too much. I'm sure the Xbox has immpresive games but the Xbox fans need to get off their high hill and admit the PS3 games are actually good. Some of the graphics are better if anything

Babywarrior5
Babywarrior5

I hate the "good for a PS3 game" argument. Gosh, people (Vasot, I'm looking at you) this isn't 2006 anymore. Put aside your fanboy-ism and admit that all consoles have great games. That said, a game isn't automatically good just because it's in "gun metal grey or distobia brown". What makes a game mature isn't the amount of skull fragments flying around the screen, it's about the story and pretense behind it.

Babywarrior5
Babywarrior5

Ahhh! I'm so excited about this! I preorded at Gamestop a few days ago! Anybody who thinks that R&C is a kids game has clearly never played one.

raptor400k
raptor400k

No matter how old I get I just can't get bored of this series. Insomniac, show us your best!! Oh and to whoever said games shouldn't have color and humor, there's something wrong with u, The world ain't all black and white and even the games people consider mature have humor(even though the humor in R&C is mostly slapstick)bieng mature isn't the blood and the gore, but the story and ideas behind a game(Redfaction is as "babyish"as this, just add some color, heck maybe even more, good game though)

raptor400k
raptor400k

No matter how old I get I just can't get bored of this series. Insomniac, show us your best!! Oh and to whoever said games shouldn't have color and humor, there's something wrong with u, The world ain't all black and white and even the games people consider mature have humor(even though the humor in R&C is mostly slapstick)bieng mature isn't the blood and the gore, but the story and ideas behind a game(Redfaction is as "babyish"as this, just add some color, heck maybe even more, good game though)

raptor400k
raptor400k

No matter how old I get I just can't get bored of this series. Insomniac, show us your best!! Oh and to whoever said games shouldn't have color and humor, there's something wrong with u, The world ain't all black and white and even the games people consider mature have humor(even though the humor in R&C is mostly slapstick)bieng mature isn't the blood and the gore, but the story and ideas behind a game(Redfaction is as "babyish"as this, just add some color, heck maybe even more, good game though)

PaperSkin
PaperSkin

@ABDULL VAN A game end when it doesnt have any story to tell(and ratchet and clank still) and just for u'r info it's not the same location and the game play is still evolving

ABDULL_VAN
ABDULL_VAN

its the right time for this game to end same locations same game play every time

PaperSkin
PaperSkin

@ Vasot I forgot something u said that game like this wont surpress 7.5 please go see the score of the trillogy rachet and clank in ps2 and don't limet your self to gamespot.Ratchet and clank tools of destruction got on 1UP.com:A-, Edge:8/10,Electronic Gaming Monthly 9/10,Game Informer:9.25/10,GamePro 5/5 I can continu if u want!!!

PaperSkin
PaperSkin

@ Vasot Hahahaha you are so funny!!! Have u ever play ratchet and clank??It's not a game for babies it's just an exotic and funny game!!Life is not colour full and rainbow and all the blablabla but in the other hand it's not all dark(and by the way ratchet and clank is so not rainbow maybe colour full but not rainbow)!If u want a realistic game buy sims cause I dont think that 'Red Faction: Guerrilla' is a representation of our world...its an image of the future and so is rachet and clank(the time line between the both game arent the same)!Rachet and clank show some of the human stupidity and it's just a representation of the future maybe they use cartoon graphic but I don't see the matter!Adult still read marvel and it's cartoon design!And grow up don't classified cartoon design to children or philosophic books to philosopher because think are not always as they seem !!

insomniac_dog
insomniac_dog

I preoredered this game a few days ago. Ratchet & Clank is my life and I can't wait for ACiT!!

snarl2
snarl2

I hope this game has the same amount of humor as Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal! I personally thought that Ratchet and Clank game was the funniest! :D

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Love Resistance as well! Both Insomniac. Very well made games. (Not just "good for the PS3.") an additude I see a bit too much. I'm sure the Xbox has immpresive games but the Xbox fans need to get off their high hill and admit the PS3 games are actually good. Some of the graphics are better if anything.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Thanks PhysicsLCP. Thumbs up for you too. ;-)

snarl2
snarl2

@Vasot You keep saying your not a 10 year old, and that your a grown adult!?! Well u sure act like 10. Let me guess xbox fanboy right!? Well its pretty imature for someone to go to this gamesite and say I will never play this game, and start making crap about sony and ps3 owners/fanboys. And for u to say games should have no color or humor. That tells a lot about your personallity!!! U must be a pretty violent, and dull person. U have my regards. Anyway, can't wait for this game!! Hope it has trophies and online! U done it again Insomniac!!! :)

Meowmixxvi
Meowmixxvi

someone give me thumbs up! im so cool! ;)

PhysicsLCP
PhysicsLCP

@dsbvusdbo: I gave you a thumbs up :)

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Yea, thanks for the complementary reply vasot. And how do you know everyone here comes to the Xbox articles and makes derisive and spiteful comments like your doing here? I certainly don't. Hmmm... all my comments seem to have gotten one thumbs down. I suspect vasot. (No duh.) Other than that I'm supported.

PhysicsLCP
PhysicsLCP

You've just backed up my previous post by making accusations about me that aren't true. There is no reasoning with you because you clearly have many "angry retort" bullets in your immaturity gun with an itchy trigger finger. Does the fact that I play Gears regularly destroy my faithfulness to my own company who develops PS3 games exclusively, let alone a game that directly competes with our Resistance franchise? I'm having a hard time thinking on your level. Sorry.

Vasot
Vasot

@PsychoLCP you PS3 boys do this all the time to the Xbox articles around here so please spare me from your hypocrisy...

PhysicsLCP
PhysicsLCP

@Vastot. If you are truly mature, then why are you writing a comment for a game you have no intention of playing because it is deemed immature? You actually have to navigate to this article. What compelled you to act, well, contrary to your proclamation that you are too mature for us?

Vasot
Vasot

Childish cr*p for the immature PS3 lovers like dsbvusdbo. I am an adult and not a 12 year old anymore so i am moving on to Modern Warfare 2 and hoping soon for Alan Wake, Mass Effect 2, Halo OSDT and Splinter Cell Convictions to name a few. Forget SONY. Ps3 games are mostly MEH anyway

wars45
wars45

hope this 1 online

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Hey 'blu329'! Get a PS3! If you have a Xbox don't plan on buying a new one when it burns out. If you saw my first comment you should be able to tell that sony is better than microsoft. That's why they are coming out with so many PS3 exclusives. They're learning that the Playstation has a unique and powerful engine. 'Killzone' R&C' 'Uncharted' to name a few cutting edge games.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Whoops. \:-[ I definitely should have reread azuki's comment he didn't say anything about high graphics being bad. X-( Sorry.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Umm... Can you only change your user picture once?

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Whew. Sorry for all the long comments.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

P.S for my last comment. Azuki was talking about how games didn't have to have to be dark, bleak and full of gore with super high graphics. It appears he's pearing up good graphics as a bad thing with gore and stuff. And that R&C has none of those things. That would be the thing I don't agree with him on. High graphics are always nice and this game is definitely a well enginered high graphics game.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

Yea vasot's depressing prattle about life is a miserable gore fest is rather meaningless. I've definitely not had such a bad experience as he has apparently had. Life does have some moments of spontaneus humor if your not to morbid to notice them. The game of course isn't a perfect replica of life by any means but you're just supposed to relax and enjoy it. I hope he has some better experiences and enjoys game like these and real life.

dsbvusdbo
dsbvusdbo

The RYNO is back and holding true to it's name! And the 1812 Overture must make you feel omnipotent, and contrary to what some people seem to think it wouldn't get boring considering you have lots of other weapons and ammo's either rare or expensive so your NOT firing it every other second. (Which is what makes it so sweet when you do fire it.) Did anyone know the PS3 is the only console that can handel R&C's frame rate? Plus with the Xbox 360's constant crashes and failures the only redeeming value it appears to have left is it's superiority online and MAG's coming out for PS3 with of course a special engine to handel that many people and not be a let down. The PS3 definintely has a better engine! Go Sony!