Secret Agent Clank Updated Hands-On - Boltaire Museum

In this first installment of a three-part series, we take a look at the opening level of Clank's solo debut.

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We previously covered Secret Agent Clank after a pair of encounters with the game at last year's Tokyo Game Show and, more recently, this year's Game Developers Conference. Now that we've got our hands on a preview build, we can add to that coverage with some updated impressions of the first three levels from Clank's solo debut. In this preview, we'll start with the introductory level, which adds some crafty espionage work to the series' trademark jump-and-blast formula.

High Impact Games has utilized a friendly auto-targeting system that will spare you from cursing the PSP analog stick.

The beginning of Secret Agent Clank lays out the story that will guide the events of the rest of the game. We see Clank sneaking about on the roof of Boltaire Museum, an artificial history museum dedicated to all things robot. He demonstrates some of his newfound spy skills by using a fancy gizmo to silently cut a hole in the glass ceiling. Before he can lower himself in, Clank sees what appears to be Ratchet being whisked away by guards as an alarm blares obnoxiously.

A short while later, we're shown a news broadcast running footage of Ratchet proclaiming his surprising lack of remorse, followed by an anchor wondering how a galactic hero could fall so low. Clank is unsure if it's an impostor or not, but a quick retinal scan proves it's the real Ratchet who's been arrested. If that is the real Ratchet, what could possibly compel him to turn toward a life of crime?

Thus begins Secret Agent Clank. The first level has Clank trying to break in to Boltaire Museum to investigate this suspicious crime. He begins outside, attempting to dodge spotlights as he makes his way closer to the building. Should he be seen, a pack of robotic dogs will come running after him. Clank doesn't have much of a problem with the dogs; though he doesn't have any weapons from the get-go, his punch is powerful enough to take out these attack hounds without much worry.

Clank soon makes his way into the museum, where he has to deal with towering guards. Though massive in size, they're slow movers and don't see anything beyond their limited flashlight range. Clank can take them on directly, but the game awards you extra nanotech points for every section you pass through without attracting attention. One of the ways you can lay low is by hopping on a pedestal and pretending to be a statue when a guard walks by. It's almost required to take the sneaky approach at first, but it becomes easier to cause mayhem when Clank discovers his first weapon in a conveniently placed agency drop box--the tie-a-rang. These razor-sharp projectiles are as easy to throw as letting the game auto-target an enemy for you and hitting the circle button to release.

Shortly after picking up his first weapon, Clank finds a blackout pen, which shoots a pile of goo onto alarm lasers. This helps Clank sneak around more effectively. Another means of keeping quiet is the ability to execute a stealth takedown on the museum guards. This is done by running up behind them, hitting square, and correctly mimicking a quick four-button sequence. These little quick-time events act as an appetizer for the final chapter of the Boltaire Museum level, which is the rhythm minigame where Clank has to break-dance his way through a dense web of lasers. While most rhythm minigames tend to feel out of place, this one works surprisingly well when you see the timing required for Clank to pass through these beams of light.

You’ll need to feel the rhythm to make sure Clank doesn’t die in a horrible laser accident.

These QTEs and minigames help add variety to a game that uses fairly simple controls. The trickiest part of the button configuration is getting used to adjusting the camera with the L and R buttons. We ran into occasional snags while trying to fight in a corner, but most of the time the controls felt easy and well suited to the variety of gameplay.

Visually, you've still got the look of a Ratchet and Clank game thanks to some nice, sharp visuals that never slow down even when the screen is littered with enemies and the dozens of bolts they scatter upon dying. There's also plenty of the series' familiar humor, like the clever dialogue in the cutscenes and amusing descriptions viewable on every museum plaque. The whole formula adds up to a game worth looking forward to. Next we'll bring you our impressions of the second and third levels from Secret Agent Clank. Stay tuned for those.

Discussion

29 comments
brunele
brunele

ooooo man , now I really want to play it

KingDoe
KingDoe

Can't wait to get it.^_^

MontyPython4-r
MontyPython4-r

I don't know about you, but the only thing I am worried about is that the robotic characters will be looking robotic(made not of plastic, but of metal). Strange, isn't it? I do worry about strange things sometimes. I just mean that robots in R&C games always looked great and High Impact games better not screw on this one.

Leria
Leria

Man, this looks like it is going to be a good 'spy-guy' game and maybe a new direction for the series to take.... maybe they could integrate Clank spy levels in a regular Rachet and Clank game!

bombfanatic
bombfanatic

i did really enjoy size matters. but this will be much different so I may not enjoy it as much it but I probably will. I have always enjoyed the rachet and clank series. i have always liked rachet and clank for the graphics, humor, plain fun and its platforming fun. this game might be a little bit different, but it still will be a good game.

Franzkill
Franzkill

rony_kam not sure if anyone is interested in your comment...

Aka_Oni
Aka_Oni

It looks like it'll be fun.

kayless122
kayless122

I love the R&C series of games , especially the PS3 version which kicks all sorts of ass. I will be buying this.

lew_0911
lew_0911

This should be good. Of course, it comes with the oh-please-let-this-game-be-long-enough nag.

kevboard
kevboard

i hate ratchet & clanc but the first PSP game (size matters) was realy good. great graphics and nice value (for an PSP game) and great minigames.

aragon245
aragon245

Ratchet in prison?! Now I actually almost want a PSP...

rony_kam
rony_kam

wasnt impressed with the first one on PSP, in fact, im not impressed by any psp games (other than daxter and GOW). my psp is OE, and i can download any game i want and i still dont use it

Pastehunter
Pastehunter

Well the game seems that it will be fun :D A must for me :D

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

@Raghall Nice, only took someone 9 posts to compare this game to Halo... Grats buddy. Anyways, I hope they can manage to keep all the story elements and humor intact. The other R+C games always had me laughing quite a bit and are the main reasons I've continued to play them. The style carries them quite a bit. Hopefully they don't get off track with Clank's solo debut.

lanmanna
lanmanna

One future PSP game I wiil get. :D

tsiper
tsiper

I love halo but I agree Ratchet and Clank do beat it better story better game play you nailed it raghall.

R-Force
R-Force

Summers looking great for PSP with FF VII and Secret Agent Clank launching in Europe. ;)

Raghall
Raghall

Not bad not bad at all. This looks like its gonna be a worthy addtion to the series. My oppinion though (I`ve had this argument a lot) no matter what ANYONE says R&C Beats Halos @$$ any day of the week. And if you don`t like my oppinion well tough beens every is entitled to their own oppinion and mine won`t be swayed be a mob of zombie like fanboys!

Ravage27
Ravage27

omg i've been waiting for this long enough....

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

awesome. perfect for pickup and play action and perfect for long sittings too

HavenlyHunter
HavenlyHunter

will be cool that game lock beter then Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters :)

grafkhun
grafkhun

i wish i had a psp now :( i love me some R&C