We spent some time with a preview build of Ratchet: Deadlocked to get a feel for some of the story missions in the game.
Ratchet: Deadlocked is built around the multiplayer mode that was introduced to the series in Up Your Arsenal. It's been less than a year since the release of that game, but Insomniac has been hard at work refining and improving the combat mechanic to have Deadlocked on store shelves this holiday season. We recently spent some time with a preview build of the upcoming game, and it looks like the single-player game is every bit as fun and feature-packed as the multiplayer game.
That's because they're pretty much the same. All the single-player levels are also available for multiplayer. The build we played wasn't set up for online play, but we did get a chance to play through several of the game's missions in the story campaign. The story begins with a cutscene in which Ratchet and Clank find out that several heroes have disappeared recently and that Captain Starshield is dead. Apparently, he was killed while competing in an underground combat tournament known as Dreadzone. Dreadzone is operated by Gleeman Vox, who runs an underground media empire in the Shadow Sector, a lawless region of space at the edge of the universe. It might not sound like a nice place to visit, but you aren't given a choice.
Your ship is taken over by a group of robot thugs and you're taken into custody by order of Vox himself. Because Ratchet is a hero in his own right, Vox wants him to compete in Dreadzone to boost broadcast ratings and sell merchandise. Ratchet and Clank are captured and fitted with deadlock collars, which are programmed to administer a powerful shock when the wearer ventures into any restricted area. The collar can also be detonated if the contestant "becomes uncooperative, or worse, boring." So although Ratchet doesn't really want to compete, he doesn't have much choice.
You are fitted with a Samus Aran-style metallic battle suit and sent off on your first mission. Before you can compete in the live combat missions, you have to pass a qualifying round, which is basically a tutorial to help you get familiar with the controls. After you complete the qualifying round, you travel to Dreadzone Station, which is basically your home base. Here, you are assigned two battle bots that provide support and firepower during combat. After you get the hook-up on the bots, you can drop in on Clank. Turns out that Clank won't be joining you on the battlefield; but as your mission engineer, he'll provide helpful information and monitor your progress during each mission.
As you complete missions, you'll earn dread points and medals. If you accumulate enough of these, new planets will be unlocked. Each planet offers unique missions, enemies, and challenges. The first planet you'll visit is Catacom Four, which is a sacred robot burial ground filled with robotic zombies that burst from the ground to attack you. In true zombie fashion, they'll keep attacking, even when they are dismembered. The first mission on Catacom Four is to simply make it from one point to another, but the missions get progressively more complicated and difficult as you go on.
Later missions have you capture control points, race hoverbikes, clear an area of enemies, destroy key targets, or activate switches to open pathways. No two missions are quite the same, and the way they are strung together in each level helps to keep the action moving without getting stale. Missions usually don't take any more than a few minutes each, and each planet has more than a half-dozen missions. Many of the missions are optional, but they're a lot of fun, and the more missions you complete, the more bolts you get.
Bolts are used to upgrade your weapons and bots. You can purchase new heads and paint jobs, just in case you get bored of looking at the same two guys all the time. Your bots aren't the only thing you can spend money on, though. While on the battlefield, you'll encounter vendor stations where you can purchase ammo, new weapons, and weapon mods. Weapon mods add various effects to your weapons. There are both omega mods and alpha mods, and the two categories provide different sorts of modifiers for your weapons.
The omega mods have to be purchased, and they add special attributes to your ammunition. For example, you can buy an acid mod that will apply an especially corrosive chemical mixture to your ammo, which will in turn inflict more damage on your enemies. Other omega mods include napalm, which charges your explosive rounds with lava; ice, which freezes enemies; and electricity, which shocks an enemy with electricity, which then arcs to all nearby enemies. You can switch out your mods at any time during play. Alpha mods have to be earned by using weapons and gaining experience. These mods affect weapon stats such as ammo capacity, firing speed, and knockback. You can assign points for each of these mods, and the points can be redistributed at any time.
- Release Date: TBA (US)
- Release Date: Oct 25, 2005 (US)
- ESRB: TTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.