Against the encompassing might of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a game like Ratchet and Clank got left behind. Even I was guilty of such a thing. I did not pick up Ratchet and Clank until after Christmas while I was enjoying Vice City from day one. Looking at it now, even though both games are superb, I wish I would have played Ratchet and Clank first because it is that darn good!
Ratchet and Clank was created by Insomniac Games, best known for the Spyro series back when it was actually good. At first look and feel, Ratchet and Clank feels a lot like Jak and Daxter by Naughty Dog and you would be somewhat right. Naughty Dog helped Insomniac a bit in getting the “load on the fly” thing accomplished that Jak and Daxter did so well. It is also obvious that Insomniac might have worked closely with Naughty Dog while creating Ratchet and Clank. Although I love both games, I think Ratchet and Clank is the far better (and longer) of the two. The biggest reason is probably because I liked the characters in this game more than those annoying ones in Jak and Daxter.
Ratchet and Clank is about a cat-like hero (Ratchet) who is a mechanic and a robot (Clank) who is a runt in a group of robots that gets away from the people trying to destroy him. Clank wants to save the universe from the evil Blarg. The Blarg have decided that they want to create a new home because the current one is overpopulated. To do this they will take pieces off existing worlds (and thereby hurtling them into the sun) to build their new one. The videos in the game are done tongue-in-cheek like this and they are just hilarious. Clank runs into Ratchet and tells him he can get Ratchet’s spaceship going as long as he helps save the world. Looking for fun, adventure and glory, Ratchet agrees and off they go.
Ratchet and Clank is played over 20+ worlds where there are missions on each world that need to be taken care of.. You play Ratchet for the most part, but you also start playing Clank starting about a third of the way through the game. The worlds in themselves are huge and beautiful. You even have a map available to you that can show you where you have been and where you have not been. By defeating an enemy with your wrench (or the other myriad of weapons) they release a bunch of bolts. These bolts are the monetary value in this game. With them you can buy new weapons, ammo for the weapons and other mission-specific things.
The weapons are the main draw in this game. There are 35 weapons/accessories for you to buy or receive. They include different guns: Blaster (machine gun), Pyrociter (flamethrower) and the world famous (and expensive) R.Y.N.O (Rip You a New One) along with many others. There are also different gloves you can get: Bomb Glove, Glove of Doom, Decoy Glove, etc. This game just has lots of weapons and you can choose whichever one you want to use. You also have a Quickselect where you can put 8 weapons/accessories onto it for easy switching via the Triangle button and one of the directions.
This game is a dream to control. The only troublesome part was that Ratchet does not stop on a dime. He has a little bit of lag (or inertia) when he is jumping/running. In some cases this can drop you right off a ledge, but it is pretty realistic to me given the amount of inertia movement he has. The music is also very good in this game. Overall this is a great and welcome game for the Playstation 2.The graphics are beautiful. The game runs at 60 FPS nonstop. There are absolutely no slowdowns or anything. This game may be the most beautiful Playstation 2 game this side of Final Fantasy X and Zone of the Enders. I have nothing to complain about with the camera. It really never gave me any fits or put Ratchet and Clank in a spot where I could not see anything. The music is mostly in the background, but there are some very catchy tunes in this game as well. The music does the best thing it can do here: be in the background to the point where you only notice it is there and that it complements what is going on quite well. The controls are nice and tight on this one. The only minus would be the aforementioned inertia that Ratchet displays while jumping or running that might cause you to fall off a ledge and have to redo it all over again. The Quickselect menu works, but I think they could have sharpened it up a bit more. I’d like faster access to my other weapons in some cases.
This game is just plain fun. The characters (and videos) really get you into the game and you will laugh at many things the characters say. To me, neither Ratchet nor Clank had the smart-ass attitude that Jak and Daxter had. This helps the game immensely. This game moves like a dream and is easy to get a handle on. After Devil May Cry 2 this was a welcome game that had lots of soul and lots of love behind it.This game gives you a good 20 hours of gameplay. It may give you more if you want to get all the weapons because you will need to collect a lot of bolts to get them all. This game has value just oozing out of it. I would even argue it has replay value. In most cases platform games are a “once and done” genre. This game makes me think differently as I would love to go through it again.