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Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

8.6

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time review
Same Old With New Stuff

The good:

Still a great series
Clank missions are actually pretty good this time around
Space gameplay is a pretty good addition
Load times much improved from Tools of Destruction
Install (~500MB) happens in the background while you watch a video of Qwark
Cool weapons as usual
Better Skins (unlocked with Gold Bolts) this time around

The bad:

*Though a minor negative, the Challenge Rooms in the Great Clock are glitchy
*as of this review posting, it may be patched eventually
Space missions get old, fast

Summary:

The Story

Basically, Ratchet is trying to find Clank, who disappeared with the Zoni at the end of the last game on the PS3 (Tools of Destruction). There is a looming threat by Dr. Nefarious and co as well, as per usual, the bad guy is trying to do some bad things (albeit incompetently, for the most part, as is standard with this series).

The story isn't really the reason you're reading this though, onto the more interesting stuff below!


The Graphics

In my opinion, pretty similar to what you saw in Tools of Destruction. No doubt it has been improved, but not significantly (in my opinion). Everything is still as colorful as ever, and the scenery, particularly the canvases of the distance (like the view from the Great Clock) are nice to look at. The Insomniac Moon (unlocked either as a bonus, or if you collect all 40 zoni and defeat a bonus boss) will detail graphics evolution, among other things, better than I can.


The Weapons

As usual, there are quite a few to choose from. Some are mainstays (Mr. Zircon, the Blaster, the Ryno, etc), and some are new. I haven't played all of the games (Only the first, Tools, and this one actually) so I cannot comment on exactly what's new and what isn't, but I'm sure you'll find at least one weapon to suit you.

Different weapons are useful in different situations. Most are primarily offensive, but a few (such as the Mag-Net launcher, Cryomine, and Groovitron) are intended to help you get out of troublesome situations, or pin down fast moving enemies.


Gameplay

It jumps between both Ratchet, and Clank via several 'meanwhile' sequences.

There are also 4 gameplay difficulty levels. Easy, normal, hard, and Challenge Mode. Hard and Normal unlock previous difficulty level's Trophies, so not to worry if you want to just jump into the hard (or normal) mode.

Challenge mode, as per usual, unlocks the Omega weapons, which along with a boost in power, also allow you to level up from 6 to 10. To get the Omega weapons, your regular weapons must be upgraded to 'mega' status (Level 5). It also allows you to get a bolt multiplier (up to 20x, if it's the same as Tools of Destruction. I've not yet hit that high a multiplier in the game).

Ratchet

Well, if you've played any of the previous home-console games, it's mostly more of the same. With the absence of Clank though, certain techniques are unavailable (namely the boosted high jump, booster dodge, and flying), though Ratchet still has double jump, and he eventually gets a gadget (Hovorboots) that allows him to travel quickly.


Clank Missions

Well, Clank is eventually given a job, after escaping Dr. Nefarious' clutches, of repairing and keeping The Great Clock, and being the keeper of time, which involves repairing temporal anomalies via a minigame.

As mentioned in 'the good', Clank's missions are actually fairly fun. This is mostly thanks to the new tool he has, the Time Bomb. It's basically like a grenade, only it temporarily slows down time in a localized space. It slows down enemies, allows you to traverse fast moving, and/or electrified surfaces with ease.

As stated previously, his job is to repair temporal anomalies that occur on various planets.

He also has his minigames (which you CAN choose to skip, if you fail enough times) which basically involve you solving puzzles with multiple clanks to activate switches and the like. Unless you're terrible at these games, the puzzles in the main game are perfectly doable, though there are more challenging ones available should you want them (or if you'd like to get 3 gold bolts).

Main Gameplay - In the End (minor spoilers)

Be Sure to explore levels thoroughly, in every nook and cranny, to find Gold Bolts and Constructo mods.

Ratchet and Clank eventually join up towards the end of the game, this gives Ratchet the boosted jump back, as well as the ability to throw time bombs, but otherwise the gameplay doesn't change much at this point.


Space

It's pretty big. Well, space actually becomes part of the game in this iteration of the series. Sure, Tools of Destruction included sequences, running along a track, but this game opens it up a lot more, and the battles occur in open space. The battles themselves are done well enough, though they get old pretty fast, and the only changes as you progress are tougher enemies, and upgraded weapons, armor, and support. However, if they take this idea further in the future games, it may become an enjoyable part of the series.

Travel is now more open-ended. Instead of just picking a place to go to in a sector, you can fly to it. The option to warp to planets is still there, though moons (and space-depots) cannot be warped to, you must fly and land.

The moons themselves are basically mini-levels occuring on a 3D sphere surface. Some moons are bigger than others though. The ones with Zoni rewards tend to be the ones that take longer to complete, as you have to go along a series of paths and platforms, with some fights, and small puzzles to solve. They also tend to have more vertical travel (ascending very high at times). Sometimes you cannot complete a moon because you lack the necessary gadget (gadgets are activated via the D-pad). Other moons with either Gold Bolt, or Construction Mod rewards are generally battle-moons. They're smaller, and the idea is simple. Kill the specified number of enemies, and you'll automatically get a reward.

Sometimes there are bonuses (Constructo Mods or Gold Bolts) hidden on moons, though they're visible via the minimap as a dot indicating relative location.


Technical Stuff

Well, loading times are improved, as I outlined in 'the good', which is a very much welcomed improvement (Tools of Destruction had long, seriously irritating loading sequences when traveling between destinations. Cool the first couple of times, but annoying after that).

Also as outlined, the install sequence is really what other developers should be doing. While the approx. 500MB file is being installed, you're treated to a sequence of the green goof, Qwark, who natters on in an video interview.

While the game performs mostly glitch-free, as much as can be expected (Insomniac seems to do a pretty good job, bug/glitch wise, with their games), there are 3 special challenges you need to do to get 3 gold bolts (1 each of course). These missions involve Clank based gameplay with time panels and time bombs. Unfortunately, a couple annoying issues pop up.

Lastly, there are extras in this game, which is standard. Some 'cheats', some artwork, and some skins for Ratchet.


Closing

It's still a great series, with enough 'new' to it to keep fans entertained. Recommended to fans for sure, and if you're new to the series, you might be confused, but you'd still find it fun (though I'd suggest you at least check out the previous R&C PS3 game).

About the score. Well, I thought 4.0 was too low for such a solidly made, fun game, but 4.5 felt too high since really, it isn't much different from previous Ratchet games that I've played. This isn't a bad thing really, but some people might find it a bit stale, though some new elements liven things up a bit.

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Comments

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SpaceWalker Nov 4, 09
You have written that the graphics have barely improved... have you SEEN the improveent in the water (especially when you interact with the water)? I also think everything (based on the demo) is sharper and more refined, making it by far the best RAC game yet, grpahically!

Apart from that, thnaks for the review, I can't wait to get the full game!
0 thumbs!
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Shadow of Death Nov 5, 09
Improved sharpness and better water effects isn't 'significant'. Of course they'd be the best graphics of the series to date, it's the newest one XD

Sure, a side by side comparison might show obvious improvements, but nothing wow-worthy IMO.

Thanks for the 'thanks' though dood XD
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MetallicaDragon Dec 3, 09
I can't wait to get this on boxing day!! I've played tools of destruction and every other rachet and clank game other then quest for booty too. Should quest for booty be played before this one?
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