Ratchet: Deadlocked breaks into stores

Fourth annual Ratchet game's arena-based combat puts more emphasis on perforating than platforming.

Today's arrival of the fourth annual installment in the PlayStation 2 Ratchet and Clank platformer series represents a significant departure from the series' roots. Like fellow Sony platform protagonist Jak, Ratchet has relegated his sidekick to the background and has headed off in a new gameplay direction.

Built off the multiplayer mode from last year's Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Ratchet: Deadlocked sees the vaguely feral humanoid Ratchet fitted with an explosive collar and forced to fight in a Running Man-esque galactic television show. To save his own skin and that of his friends, Ratchet must don a full suit of battle armor to cause the kind of chaos that grabs ratings, as his captor won't hesitate to detonate the collar if he "becomes uncooperative, or, worse, boring."

Deadlocked puts a greater emphasis on arena-based run-and-gun action than previous games in the series, which played more like traditional platformers. Developer Insomniac also introduces a few new features in Deadlocked. Gamers can now play through the entire story mode with a friend, take advantage of new squad-based gameplay with allied bots, set up matches for up to 10 players online, race hoverbikes, and more. As always, kicking can and taking names earns Ratchet bolts that can be used to buy new and upgraded weapons.

Ratchet: Deadlocked is rated T for Teen and retails for $39.99. Check back tomorrow for GameSpot's full review.

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