When God of War came to PC, I was counting the days until one of my favorite PlayStation franchises, Ratchet & Clank, would also make its debut on the platform. It took a while, but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is finally available on PC via Steam and Epic Games. So, how does a game that so heavily relied on the “power of the PS5” play on personal computers?
Before we get to that, the game itself is excellent. Lead Editor David Burdette gave the game a score of 95, citing incredible visuals, vibrant gameplay, and delightful characters. However, it also had bland villains and came up a bit short in terms of length. Personally, I played the game three times in a row when it first released, so you can probably guess how I feel about it overall – I agree with David’s assessment. It’s quickly become one of my favorite titles in the franchise alongside A Crack in Time. I’m desperately hoping we can get a Rivet and Kit sequel sometime before the PS6 comes out, because I miss having multiple R&C games per console. Still, I’ll be replaying Rift Apart for years to come.
With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to cover the game on PC. With their Spider-Man duology, they’ve already shown that they and Nixxes can make the jump seamlessly while adding a few new features to boot. However, with the Last of Us Part 1 being what it was at launch, I went in with a healthy amount of skepticism. While it’s not nearly as disastrous as the latter, Rift Apart on PC doesn’t quite transition without error like Spider-Man. As with many things, the answer lies somewhere in between.
Let’s take a gander at the settings menu. All options are available both in the game’s launcher (which you can disable if you wish) and on the main menu or even in game for most settings. Under the Display tab, you can select the widow mode (Windowed, Fullscreen, and Exclusive Fullscreen), turn on and adjust HDR, select your monitor, resolution, and aspect ratio (Auto, 4:3, 5:4, 16:9, 16:10, 21:9, and 32:9) – points for including arbitrary resolutions, now I really want to see this running on an old CRT like the original games.
You can also enable upscaling through DLSS, AMD FSR 2.1, XeSS, and IGTI, Insomniac’s internal upscaling method. You’ll want to choose what’s best for your hardware, so I went with DLSS on my desktop. It only works with Nvidia graphics cards, but provides the best looking and performing results in my experience. Without an upscaler at max settings (1440p), I get about 10 to 20 fps depending on the scenery, and with it on the same settings and Performance mode that jumps up to the mid 40s, looking even better. Turning down ray tracing will then easily let me reach 80 to 90 fps. With a RTX 4060, you can see better results than in any of the PS5 version’s modes. It’s worth noting that ray tracing is disabled on AMD GPUs, with a future patch coming to fix this.
However, there’s a few big issues here that, until they are ironed out, still make the PS5 the definitive version. The most annoying of these is the frequent crashing. Playing on Steam Deck (low settings and 30 fps) it can be surprisingly smooth and remains gorgeous visually, really showing how art style is much more important that sheer graphical power. But after about half an hour of play, the game will suddenly slow to a crawl, freeze, and crash the entire system requiring a reboot. On my desktop there’s no time limit, but I still experienced the occasional crash when entering or exiting a pocket dimension, and even just now when testing one last time for the stats in the previous paragraph. Thanks to the game’s constant autosaves and quick load times, you can start again right where you left off, but this is still very frustrating.
The second issue is the controls. Rift Apart’s arsenal was designed to use the DualSense’s adaptive triggers, allowing the player to half pull R2 for one shotgun barrel and a full pull for both. Even plugging in a PS5 controller, it just doesn’t quite work here. Triggers have a lot less force to them and the guns’ fire modes seem to have been changed to work with standard controllers and a Mouse and Keyboard. Rather than a half pull and full pull, the game checks for a short press or a long press. This is fine for most weapons, the Negatron Collider will always fully charge and the Blast Pistol requires a lighter touch for single shots, but something like the Drillhound makes using its lock-on impossible. Shots will still find their target, it just doesn’t have the same feeling anymore. Putting that aside, whatever control method you choose feels right at home here. Steam Deck is able to convey all the little vibrations very well and includes gyro aiming by default, my 8-bitdo gamepad is comfortable and seamless, and keyboard and mouse provide a much more fine tuned aiming experience (even if it feels blasphemous to play an R&C game like this). You’ll also find that all the accessibility and other settings made their way over perfectly, allowing anyone to change the game to suit their needs.
The final problem has more to do with the game simply being created around the PS5 hardware. Several levels use the console’s SSD to instantly load new levels with the press of a button, creating some incredible set pieces, platforming sections, and boss fights. Insomniac has always optimized their games around the target console, the original trilogy of PS2 discs put the most important data near the center so it could be more quickly accessed, and that’s no different on PS5. Even with an SSD on PC, however, loading times are not instant. Outside of entering a pocket dimension, you’ll spend a second or two waiting for the game to load in the level again when going through certain rifts or hitting crystals. It’s not the worst thing in the world, the crashing problem is much more important, but it does detract from the snappiness the game had on console. Of course, your results may vary based on your hardware, and running the game on an old HDD makes for a more hilarious experience truth be told – it’s playable, but without anything approaching seamless loading, with stuttering, audio desyncs, and long stretches of silence letting you think about upgrading your hardware.
David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book.
David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an amazing game, looking and running even better on PC. However, this version does come with caveats and even some downgrades such as crashing and slightly different weapon functionality. PS5 is still the best way to play, but for those who adore the series like me it’s well worth double dipping.