Ratchet: Deadlocked Updated Hands-On

Insomniac shows us a new build of its upcoming shooter sequel that takes the beloved Ratchet & Clank series in a new direction.

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LOS ANGELES--Back at E3, we got a look at Ratchet: Deadlocked, the fourth entry from Insomniac Games in its quirky, character-driven Ratchet & Clank platformer franchise. Except Deadlocked isn't a platformer; it's more a shooter. And it's not quite so character-driven, since Ratchet's encased in cold cyborg armor and endearing robo-buddy Clank has been reduced to a bit player. But at least one thing has remained the same: Based on our time with an updated demo at the G-Phoria awards show, Insomniac is working hard to ensure the same consistently high level of quality we've seen in all of its past games.

The actual content of the Deadlocked demo we got to play was the same as what we saw at E3 a couple of months ago. That is to say, the mission is the same, in which Ratchet and two robotic aides assault a wintry fortress. But the level of tweaking and polish in this more recent build was quite evident in ways both grand and subtle. For instance, the controls have been tweaked, making it a lot easier to switch between weapons now. Your helpers now hover around rather than running on legs, which lets them reach the places they need to go more easily. The levels contain many more breakable objects than it did previously, making for a much more chaotic combat environment than before. Insomniac is definitely applying a fine coat of design polish to the game as its release date nears.

We formed a better picture of the game's extensive weapon-mod system with this new demo build. There will be a ton of weapon mods you can collect through various means, from completing mission objectives to purchasing through a shop interface. These mods can be applied to just about any weapon, and they fall into two categories: alpha and omega. Alpha mods enhance the basic attributes of a weapon, such as ammo capacity, speed, and area of effect. Omega mods, on the other hand, can add substantial elemental effects to a weapon, such as a lightning attribute that shocks enemies near the foe being hit, or a lava mod that adds fire damage to your shots. You'll be able to mix and match mods across different weapons as you acquire them, which will obviously lead to an enormous amount of potential for customization.

The feel of Ratchet: Deadlocked in this latest iteration was simply more solid, which certainly bodes well for the final game. Interested parties will be able to get their hands on the game for a taste of the retail version in October with a release through the normal channels of a demo--the same demo we got to play today, in fact. The final game will contain roughly a whopping 85 missions, so if you like what you see of the demo, you'll have plenty more waiting for you. Stay tuned for more on Ratchet: Deadlocked in the coming months.

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    jakeboudville

    sounds cool