Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Updated Impressions

We check out some new elements in the slick third entry of Insomniac's PlayStation 2 platformer.

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Sony was showing off an updated version of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the latest entry in its popular PlayStation 2 platformer shooter franchise, at the G-Phoria event this weekend, which will air August 6 on G4TechTV. Although the game is the third entry in as many years since the franchise's debut in 2002, developer Insomniac seems to be managing to ensure that each successive entry in the series offers some substantive additions to gameplay. Up Your Arsenal will feature the most ambitious and varied elements yet, with an online multiplayer component and some slick little old-school touches. The version on display let us try out an old-school side-scrolling sequence starring Captain Qwark, as well as split-screen multiplayer play.

The Captain Qwark levels, billed as a "vid comic," put you in control of the good captain. His arsenal of moves is modest but good. You'll be able to run, jump, punch, grab ledges and pull yourself up, and shoot at your foes when you've collected a weapon power-up. The segment we played sent us running to the right side of the screen while avoiding a variety of enemies. Along the way we came across tokens to collect, as well as a variety of different hazards, including pits, fireball-like enemies, disappearing platforms, and a snake boss. The segment offered a good change of pace from the 3D platforming found in Up Your Arsenal and served as a potent reminder that the Insomniac gang knows its old-school business.

The split-screen multiplayer sequence showed off the team's equally proficient skills in the realm of 3D action--skills that are hardly in dispute, in the wake of the success of the previous entries in the series. The split-screen sequence was set on one of the multiplayer maps and tasked us with taking over a base by destroying the turrets around it and claiming the base as our own.

The game's presentation continues to be an impressive upgrade over the last entry in the series. While Insomniac hasn't performed a massive overhaul on the overall look of the previous two entries in the series, opting instead to fine-tune the engine and get some solid performance and effect upgrades out of the game, things are looking good. The game was broken down into two windows in the split-screen mode, but it maintained its visual quality and moved along at a solid frame rate. The audio, mostly consisting of weapons fire and ambient effects, was solid as well.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal has been looking good since we first saw it earlier this year, and this updated look has done little to shake off that initial good impression. The game's promising feature set and online multiplayer modes all point to Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal as being the most ambitious entry in the series to date. It's a game that's certainly worth keeping an eye out for. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is currently slated to ship this November for the PlayStation 2. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information on the game in the coming months.

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