Each of the three console giants have their franchises; Nintendo has Mario and Zelda, Microsoft has Forza and Halo. Sony happens to own the rights to one of my all-time favorite game franchises; Ratchet & Clank. This is the first R&C game for the PS3, can it live up to it's forefather's name?
The previous Ratchet & Clank games put gameplay first, humor second and story a very distant third making the games more silly than serious, that is a little different here. That's not to say the game isn't funny, it is VERY funny, but it's way more serious this time around. An evil army of robots attacks Metropolis and Ratchet and Clank are once again called to arms. This time the leader of the evil army is one Emperor Tachyon, a being known as a Cragmite. Turns out that Ratchet's race, the Lombaxes, are involved in the disappearance of the Cragmites and Tachyon isn't too pleased.
This journey is more about discovery, discovery of the past. You travel to many different planets and learn more about the Lombaxes all while strange creatures known as the Zoni contact Clank in his subconscious, if robots even have one. It's definitely more serious than previous games and Ratchet is more irritated and confused about the disappearance of his race. The story is charming and I'm constantly reminded of a Pixar movie while I'm playing, that's a good thing.
As mentioned before, the game is still plenty funny. Anyone who thought the previous games were funny should hopefully find this one funny as well. What's even better is that the humor and the serious side don't seem out of place beside each other, they go together almost perfectly which is pretty impressive. This is a great start to the Future Saga and it makes you want more.
Now, story is all well and good but it's not a Ratchet & Clank game without the addicting gameplay. Not much has changed here since Ratchet: Deadlocked and that's not a bad thing, what has been done is improvements. Ratchet controls better here than in previous games. Other than that there isn't much different in the basic gameplay, it's still the trigger happy third-person shooter. The main highlight are the weapons. You control Ratchet and guide him and Clank through the many different planets you visit, blowing everything up as you go. The weapons you use are pretty fun to use, you have standards like the pistol weapon and the bomb glove but there are stand-outs like the Tornado Launcher. You still have to do sections of platforming and it's all enjoyable. You also still collect bolts to buy new weapons and armor, but you will also be collecting Raritanium from chests you destroy. This Raritanium is used to upgrade your weapons. It's a nice feature that makes your weapons stronger but it's too simple and doesn't have any custom opportunities.
The Tornado Launcher brings with it my only complaint about the gameplay, the SixAxis controls. They're fine when you are just free-falling dodging things but it is absolutely miserable when using the Tornado Laucher which is controlled almost exclusively by the SixAxis. Other than that one issue, everything is great about the gameplay. It hasn't changed much since it's PS2 days but it's a perfect example of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Some will be put off by how easy it is, but it's a blast the whole way through, though it only lasts about 10 hours with no multiplayer, unlike Up Your Arsenal and Deadlocked. It has a challenge mode, which is basically a higher difficulty that lets you keep all your weapons and health upgrades. All in all, it's a decent length.
The Ratchet & Clank series always had excellent music and voice work and that has also been preserved. The music isn't particularly memorable but it does suit the action and scenes right. The voice work is still fantastic with all the main characters sounding great. Ratchet, Clank & Qwark all have the same voice actors so it's like hanging out with old friends. The dialogue is well delivered, especially during the humorous parts and it's safe to say we all expect this from Insomniac by now.
The visuals are where it differs the most from the PS2 games. This game is absolutely gorgeous, I already said the game reminds me of a Pixar movie and the visuals are one reason why. Everything is bright and colorful, well animated and it all holds up under the stress of the action on screen. The scenes are noticeably better looking than the gameplay but that's where they matter most. All fans of the series should be happy with what Insomniac pushed out of the PS3, I know I am. One downside of the presentation is the subtitles, I know it's such a minor thing but it's annoying that the in-game lines aren't subtitled since that's where all the explosions happen. They often get drowned out by the natural sounds of battle making me miss a lot of the dialogue, it doesn't help any that some of the funniest lines in the game are said during these in-game sequences. Minor complaint, but a complaint is still a complaint.
- Well told story that's serious while still being light-hearted and funny
- Classic Ratchet & Clank gameplay improved
- Fun weapons to blow things up with
- Enjoyable sections of platforming
- Fitting music and fantastic voice work
- Beautiful graphics and well animated cutscenes
- The best Ratchet & Clank game yet
- A good lengthed journey
- Secrets to find such as Gold Bolts
- Leveling up your weapons is as addicting as ever
- Gameplay hasn't changed much
- Story is still funny but less than previous games
- Raritanium doesn't allow customization
- The sections of platforming are capable of frustration
- Music isn't memorable
- Dialogue during in-game sequences aren't subtitled
Overall, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is the best Ratchet & Clank game yet and Insomniac's best game yet. I cannot wait to see this saga through to the end. It's funny, touching and charming. It's one of the best PS3 games of it's time and it holds up even today. Ratchet's search brought him to a 9.5/10. In the end, it was all worth it, wasn't it?