Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Review
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is the first Ratchet game to appear on the Playstation 3 and the second game of Insomniacs on the Ps3 (if you go by the October 30 date might be considered the third with Spyro the dragon hitting the PSN). From the minute the game loads the first level the graphics are the first thing you notice and they are amazing, the environments and characters models look great no matter how close or far your looking and large scale explosions in the background add a nice touch. As the New York Times say “The first game to truly deliver the long-sought “You are playing a Pixar movie” experience”, this is absolutely true.
The story is filled with old characters like, of course, Ratchet and Clank, The plumber and Captain Qwark, and new ones like Emperor Percival Tachyon, Talwyn and some other crazy characters. The story starts off with metropolis, the main city in the Ratchet universe up until this point being attack and destroyed by Tachyon’s army. The heroes soon meet Tachyon and learn he is after to kill Ratchet. The duo then steals his starship and end up in the galaxy where Tachyon comes from, and where the Lombaxs originated, named the Polaris Galaxy. The story then goes to the duo trying to find the lombax secret to destroy Tachyon. There is a side story with Clank’s “Awakening” with little ghost like robots called the Zoni. This awakening gives Clanks new abilities throughout the game, and will play a big part in the next installment.
Insomniac did many new things with this Ratchet installment gameplay wise, first they brought in a lot more platforming than there was in the last two games (Up your Arsenal and Deadlocked, many fans don’t put Deadlocked as a sequel of the series, more of a side story) with other add ons as well. These add ons come in the form of new game play mechanics using the Sixasis controller. The Sixasis is used for flying, hacking, falling, a laser, controlling a tornado and can’t forget Shaking Ya Booty!!(Insomniac you are insane but we love it). It also seemed at some point in development they remembered Spyro the dragon and the flying is very reminiscent of the old Ps1 platformer. The Sixasis controls respond extremely well and there is an option to use the analog sticks instead if you don’t like them. The various planets are large and looks beautiful with the Ps3 hardware. One level you can literally fly anywhere which is very fun.
The weapons are varied and all are useful, if somewhat hard to use at times. For example trying to use shredder claws against a giant enemy with a horde of smaller ones around is not the greatest idea. However it will be easy to find a favorite weapon in the game. (Shredder Claws!) The weapons vary from the melee Shredder Claws, to the beginning pistol, to grenades and so on. The more you use these weapons the more they level up and become more powerful and useful, which becomes very apparent early on in challenge mode. Along with the level increase, attaining a material called Raritanium (do you think it’s rare?) is used to increase different aspects on the weapons.
Each weapon has a graph of sorts made up of hexagons and when you apply raritanium to a slot another slot opens next to it. This allows players to take different paths in their weapon development. Within this weapon development system there is one hexagon that is special. There are normal upgrades such as more ammo, more damage, more money, but this special one is a unique update to the weapon. For the rocket launcher it makes it throw down boiling goo to further damage enemies.
The game took me around three days to beat, at about 13 hours or so on the first play through. But that barely scratches the surface of this game. In the first play through you won’t be able to find all the skill points, golden bolts, or holomaps. Challenge mode that I mentioned earlier is included which increases the difficulty of the game and raises the level cap of weapons from 10 to 20. To raise the weapons to level 20 you have to buy omega versions of them which cost more money, thankfully you gain more money. There is also an armor that was unavailable through normal place. Challenge mode also allows the player to try to earn more skill points that they missed in the first play through.
The game is gorgeous. The animation is superb and its a rare colorful gem among the next gen greyware. The game really does look like a interactive version of a Pixar movie. What is even more impressive is that it does this with a real time engine, there are no pre rendered cutscenes meaning the cutscenes all use the level of graphics that you play with, granted with more care with facial animations.
The sound in the game is great; the voice overs are top notch and really bring the characters to life. The sound effects are the same as in the last ratchet games, but it’s not a bad thing, new players will enjoy them and veterans of the franchise will feel nostalgia from them. The music is also very well done and you’ll find a not so subtle reference to pirates of the Caribbean music, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
All in all Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is a fantastic game all around, and a nice change of pace from the dark gritty games that are flooding the “next gen” market. This is a most have game for the Playstation 3 and a game that is easy for anyone to pick up. I highly recommend it.