I'm going to talk about this game as a fan of the series, so I'm going to refer to things that happen in the old games, I'm very sorry if that's distracting or confusing. With that out of the way, let's start the review.
1. Plot: (Spoiler warning, skip ahead if you have yet to play)
The plot of this game is that Captain Qwark is in jail, and telling a story to another character, Shiv Helix. (Who didn't exist before this game.) This being the plot, you hear some of the narration while playing. This becomes annoying on occasion when it repeats itself. Otherwise, it's fine and sometimes, it's pretty funny, but basically, the plot is the first game with some little Easter eggs hinting at the later ones, and some big straight up references along with twists. For example, (And seriously, I'll be be spoiling loads, don't like it move on until the last sentence.) Dr. Nefarious is in this game. Not as the Genocidal robot we all know and love, but as an organic life form, working with the original game's antagonist, Chairman Drek.
Now, the plot of this game takes more turns then that. Here are the changes in the order I recall them:
1. Ratchet lives under a guy he calls "Grim", a purple dude with tusks.
2. There are more Galactic Rangers shown then Qwark, totaling four, three at first. In the original, it was only Qwark.
3. Drek's Robot Lieutenant has been replaced with an actually somewhat threatening character, Victor Von Ion, big, imposing, seems like a boss fight waiting to happen.
4. Drek's Father's company is the ONE company that over-polluted the planet. In the first, pollution and overpopulation were just general problems
There are TONS more. If you've played the games, this one is an interesting alternate version of the first game, at least in the story and some of the new game play aspects... Speaking of:
2. Game play:
The game plays as you might expect a RAC game to, in other words, for non players, that means a third person shooter staring a fuzzball, his talking robot back pack, and their crazy guns, It keeps the upgrade tree system from Crack In Time, IE, collect a resource (This is the same as the last two, Raritanium) and you can use one unit at a time to upgrade certain aspects of your gun, for example, Range, Raritanium gained from it's use, Bolts (In game currency for buying guns) gained from it's use, etc.. Also, there are some ship missions and hover board races too. Fun stuff. But there's a new element to it, those others were from other games in the series. This new thing is... Trading cards! Yup.
The cards are an interesting sub-thing in the game. You can find three packs of them by wondering, Single cards by beating in alien faces, and... Welllll... We'll talk about the third part of the card thing in a bit. Basically though, if you complete a set of cards, usually coming in sets of three, you get a perk, so, for example, complete one set, you get a five percent increase in the amount of raratanium received in combat, or bolts, or, in fact, more "Holo-cards" as they're called. Get this, all but one set consists of three cards, get all three, the perk is unlocked. And if you get 5 "Duplicate cards" (Determined by the game by process of I don't really know) you can trade them all for one new card, so, can't find one in a set? trade five of your duplicates for one. Though I do have a nit pick about one set, we'll get to that in part 4. Something else about the cards, there's a nine set, collect all nine, and bring them to a dude, and he will give you the RYNO's new model... which is basically a mini gun that shoots rockets. Simple, but kinda cool, just doesn't quite feel on par with the weapons of previous games... speaking of...
This game has a nasty habit of recycling weapons from previous Ratchet and Clank Games. Seriously, all but two weapons are from previous games, There's the Combuster, I.E. Pistol from Tools of Destruction. The Fusion Grenade from TOD, Quest for Booty, and Into the Nexus. The Pyrociter, I.E. Flamethrower from the First Game. Plasma Striker, I.E. Sniper from Crack In Time and Into the Nexus. Nexus had more than two unique guns at least, and the "RYNO" is just a model in this game, still bares the name. Our unique Guns for this game are an area of effect deployment thing called the Proton Drum, Which when thrown out, emits damaging pulses, and the Pixelizer. This game's Shotgun, with something fun, you fire it and your foes turn into 2D Sprites. Assuming they're still moving, the sprite continues to generate itself, so let's say you shoot him from the front and the blarg trooper survives, try going to his side and the sprite will appear as his side, it kind of pans across him though... you have to see this gun in action to wrap your head around how it works. But yeah, That's it. The rest are recycled and some of them look Janky as ****, like the Sheepinator looks completely different, and in a bad way, it's trying to make itself look kind of like the Winterizer from Into the Nexus, but the beam is loads thinner, that's the fun of those guns, the beam is this wide, swaying thing that pings from target to target, here, it's this narrow thing that you have to aim.
4. Nitpicks and complaints I don't know where else to put:
Now, I'm gonna talk about the rewards you get for collecting stuff, cards, gold bolts, etc. So one or two little spoilers, otherwise, it's just me bitching.
1. For collecting gold bolts in this game, you can get pretty much anything, cheats, Masks, Visual things... So that means Skill points are gone. Skill points, for those not familiar with either the idea, or this game series' use of them, were these things you'd get for doing cool stuff. Clear example, beat Chain Blade in RAC Going Commando using only your wrench. Or in the first game, you destroyed a Qwark statue and got a skill point for that. You find and try to smash that same statue/robot in this game and nothing happens to it. It just asks if you were expecting some extra points, frankly, yes. I WAS. Just putting gold bolts in the game was a misstep, I feel, all your unlocks are mapped to them, so you wanna change your Armor's color? Game initially says "X amount of Gold Bolts." But no, that only unlocks the first one of the custom colors, the rest are unlocked as you collect, admittedly, this fuels you to want to see things get unlocked. If I just got eight and unlocked all the bolt skins as opposed to getting eight, then ten, then thirteen or whatever, it would have been less rewarding and less compelling to see what the alternate bolts or the masks were... speaking of masks!
2. There are no skins, only "masks" They just plonk a random head on Ratchet's body, doing a haphazard job on something that originally was really impressive. To put it in perspective: Originally, when the skins where a thing, they made an entire new body for Ratchet, he didn't just have the Snow man's head, he was a snow man with sticks for arms (Many RAC games). He didn't just have a bucket on his head, He was a kid dressing up as Reactor (Deadlocked). Now, it's just a pointless thing on his head. It looks stupid. I mean, the others were ridiculous, but this just looks dumb, there's no feeling of cohesiveness, and they don't even have Ear holes. Lombaxes have great big cat ear things. Why don't these masks have holes for those?
3. This game's habit of recycling is annoying beyond belief if you're like me. For example, The Fungoids From Crack in time and the Tharpods from All 4 One. Those games were pretty, but it undercuts of both those games, The Fungoids were supposed to have abandoned technology after they screwed up the gift of time travel that their GOD gave them. And the Tharpods were never in anything except all 4 one. Then there's the Insomniac Museum, in RAC Future: Crack in time, it was a giant game play section of it's own. You had to figure out little puzzles to open doors, you got to interact with stuff, read about "Oh, this was a canned boss." In this one? No. They straight up Use old character and asset models (You can tell, way lower res in most if not all cases) and just kinda plonked those into a warehouse, no context, except for one room, it's a video room, cut scenes from the game, a reveal trailer, and some of Going Commando's Japanese commercials are in said room. I think the most annoying thing is the old guns on display that are just around. You can't pick any of them up. That'd be going the extra mile, I'd love to use the walloper again.
4. One of the sets of Holo-cards is labeled as "Girl power" I couldn't find the middle card after like six hours of killing stuff and pack collecting. The other two were Angela Cross from Going Commando, a character I like because she's smart and strong, and Talwyn Apogee from Tools Of Destruction, Quest for Booty, Crack In Time, and Into The Nexus, again, kind of a strong character. I was expecting the Middle card to be Sasha Phyronix, Captain of the Star ship Phoenix in Up Your Arsenal, woulda fit. But NO. They screwed up twice here. Screw up one, it's one of the news lady robots. Screw up two, They made her look like Juanita from Deadlocked but say that it's Darla Gratch from the first 3 games. They look RADICALLY different, too, it's not "Well, their just pained different from one another" No. Juanita was thinner, had less of a gunmetal pigment to her "Skin", they had different duds, and different hair. If you're going to make a character look like someone from your game's franchize history, make sure the name matches. Also, Dallas, Juanita's co-Anchor on Dreadzone was in the same single cut scene "Darla" appears in. He even speaks. So that annoys me.
5. (Spoiler warning) At the end of the game, things collapse into themselves a few times. A character gets turned into a sheep preceding game play, but still makes an announcement over an intercom when the game play starts again, there's a part where a character gets caught in an air lock before chasing Clank, but you don't see him free himself, he's stuck in the cut scene and then suddenly, he's running after ya. This part takes place on something the then-captain of the ship calls "The Phoenix" Which bares NO resemblance to the one from Up Your Arsenal and Deadlocked. And the cherry on top is that this is Qwark telling the original story of the original game. Half of this stuff didn't happen. Like, again, It was Just Qwark in the first game as far as the rangers are concerned. There was no Doctor Nefarious, Drek was not turned into a Sheep! That gun wasn't around during that game! Sorry... But seriously, it doesn't make sense. If this was a reboot being told by Qwark's narration, which seems to ACTUALLY be what it is, as opposed to Qwark telling the story of the first game VERY incorrectly, I'd be less annoyed. And also, why is Qwark in Jail? The ending suggests that this is in fact, the same universe as the story Qwark told, but again, there are loads of changes to the story, but official sources are like "Oh, he's retelling things a bit." But that makes no sense, Qwark's ego is massive, He wouldn't add people that weren't there and has, in fact, given himself all the glory for some of the crap Ratchet's done.
6. (Spoilers agian) Simply put, the voice actress who did Cora did a really bad job. It's like when you're watching a show or a movie and a character wants to act, but the character's acting for their audition or whatever is bad (In the show), That's legit what she sounds like. Like she's trying to act badly. The clips in the game from the movie are fine, but she's just annoying in the actual game play segments, I thought her talking like that was gonna lead up to a twist where she's working with Drek, never happened.
7. (One more spoiler) That guy I mentioned earlier who replaces Drek's lieutenant? Victor Von Ion is his name, he chases Clank twice and we never see him again. Yeah, he was just some war bot, but he was a lieutenant and one handed a rocket launcher! You get that way by being built badder then the rest, yet, ya never fight him, you just run twice and short him out with a sprinkler system.
This game is so pretty. Seriously, if this game was a woman, it'd be Miss MULTIVERSE, there is the occasional clipping issue, and like I said, they just reuse some old weapon and Character models from the first games and those look Janky as all get out, too... But otherwise, it's wonderful. The character models and textures are really pretty when they aren't the reused ones, and there's something fun I like that ties into this, you can add screen Filters and change what the bolts look like. They can be Coins, Spheres, and I'm not kidding, the Rupees from Zelda. They look just like them, but that brought me endless joy.
6. Final thoughts/verdict:
The game isn't the longest RAC. This is partly due to them removing Skill points, those add to the game, trying to do them over and over. But otherwise, I'd say give it try if it's your first RAC game, if you've played almost any of the others, it's not really worth the $40 asking price, partly because there's a pervasive sense of Laziness and just... I don't know how to explain it, there's just a general feeling of offness, like something crazy happened in your room while you were gone, but you don't know what, you just know it was intense.
I seriously can't tell if the studio was being lazy, cheap, or they just had to rush things, overall though, the game is still fun, give it a whirl, but if you're a fan who hasn't tried it yet, a cautious one.