Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Updated Hands-On
We take an updated look at Ratchet & Clank's latest PlayStation 2 adventure.
We recently received a playable demo of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, which, although it's relatively brief, we had a lot of fun with. The demo is very similar to the one that we played at the G-Phoria event in August, and it features levels from the single-player game, the Haven Gorge multiplayer map, and one of the Captain Qwark vid-comic minigames. We were able to spend a lot more time with the game on this occasion, and we got our hands on a number of previously unseen weapons and gadgets from Ratchet's sizable arsenal.
The levels from the single-player game that are featured in the demo are set in and around the city of Marcadia, which is being attacked by an army of aliens known as Tyrrhanoids. The aliens and the machines that fight alongside them come in a few different shapes and sizes, but they all have at least one thing in common: an unswerving determination to wipe out all organic life, including Ratchet. Fortunately, Ratchet's arsenal in this game is his most impressive to date, and there was plenty of ammo available for the four special weapons we had access to at the start of the demo. The weapons we started out with, in addition to Ratchet's ever-present wrench, were: the N60 storm, which is essentially a machine gun; the plasma whip, which glows as if it's on fire, can be thrown or used in melee combat; the shock blaster, which most closely resembles a shotgun, can hit multiple enemies at short range; and, our favorite, the Infecto-Bomb, which can be fired at short range and causes infected enemies to turn on each other.
By the time we'd completed the single-player portion of the demo, we'd added three more weapons to Ratchet's arsenal: the refractor allows Ratchet to pass safely through and redirect enemy laser beams that can be used as a weapon and that can unlock certain doors; the flux rifle is the game's requisite sniper rifle, complete with a powerful zoom lens; and the rift enducer, which cost us a small fortune, actually launches mini black holes that suck any nearby enemies into another dimension until they collapse. The refractor was the only additional weapon that was actually required for us to progress through the game and, as such, we were able to find one rather than purchase one. The flux rifle and the rift enducer were both purchased from weapon and ammo vendors scattered throughout the game. These two weapons certainly weren't necessary to beat the demo, but they were great fun all the same.
Oddly, the Flux Rifle was the only weapon from the single-player demo that we had access to once we jumped into the Haven Gorge multiplayer map. There were plenty of other weapons and gadgets to be found, though, including: charge boots, gravity bombs, lava guns, mine gloves, mini rocket tubes, blitz guns, holo shield gloves, and the comical sheepinator. Each of the two team bases on the Haven Gorge map also boast its own defenses, including turrets, patrolling robots, and a group of four smaller robots that we could order to follow us around and would shoot at any enemies we encountered. The objective of the multiplayer game was to destroy the opposing team's base by taking out its defenses and then heading inside to destroy a console. The games we played with two or four players were generally pretty lengthy and invariably saw us fighting over strategic points, known as nodes, throughout the map rather than heading straight for the bases. These nodes afforded us additional defense turrets and weapon pickups. Unsurprisingly, the multiplayer portion of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal looks like it'll be best played by up to eight players online, but the single-screen game played well and looks like it will be a most welcome addition to the game for any of you that own multitap peripherals.
The 2D Captain Qwark vid-comic minigames included in the demo was actually one that we'd played before. In this minigame you'll be required to collect no fewer than 100 tokens while en route to a boss battle with a large snake. The gameplay comprises little more than jumping between platforms, avoiding fireballs, and punching enemy pirates and rats, but the 2D graphics are just as easy on the eyes as the rest of the game's visuals. We're looking forward to locating the rest of the vid-comics once we get our hands on a more complete copy of the game. Expect more information on Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal as its November release date closes in.
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