The Ratchet Retrospective continues with this smaller downloadable adventure starting the iconic Lombax and some of the new characters introduced in Tools of Destruction.
This game was one of the first ‘big’ downloadable titles during the PS3 Generation and was an interesting case of Insomniac making two titles in a single year; this and Resistance 2. Very impressive game and hope you all enjoy this Retrospective.
This game started production right after work on Tools of Destruction wrapped up and Insomniac ran into a bit of trouble. They were working on Resistance 2 while Tools of Destruction was being made and needed more hands on deck to get the game released. So, this meant the full sequel to Tools of Destructionwould release in 2009.
However, Insomniac wanted to try something new; a small-scaled Ratchet game using the engine Tools of Destruction used as a base. Add in some small mechanics that would be used more in a later game and you have a good excuse to release a small Ratchet title.
This is a landmark case for the studio, as it was the first time Insomniac released two games made by them in a single year; Resistance 2 and this. When the game came out, it got great reviews with the only major issue being the games length. Overall, it was a nice ‘taste’ for what we later experience with A Crack in Time.
This game takes place after the cliffhanger ending from Tools of Destruction, with Clank being taken by the Zoni, forcing Ratchet & Talwyn to hunt down Clank. They end up butting heads with the colorful pirate characters from Tools of Destruction and it ends up escalating into Ratchet taking out the pirate foes yet again.
What makes this story enjoyable despite its short length is how it allows everyone to ‘breath’ a bit more. The tone is much lighter compared to Tools and we get to experience more of the world of Ratchet here. He has the option to engage in dialog trees with people, make some moral choices (but not many) and bond more with Talwyn, as she will not appear in A Crack in Time.
The pirate characters shine a lot here as does the general setting of the game. They are funny and Stinky Pete (one of the pirates) narrates the game, not unlike Quark’s narration in the recent Ratchet 2016 reboot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this plot, even if its simple and not much happens in the grand scheme of things. We do learn where Clank is and find out that we will be seeing a familiar face that we all enjoyed in Ratchet 3/Up Your Arsenal.
This is interesting, as I could just copy-and-paste what I wrote about Ratchet in the Tools Retrospective. But I won’t as despite the gameplay being very similar to Tools, a decent amount has been added.
One thing is the lack of focus on combat, as Ratchet loses most of his weapons after the intro level. This leads to the game having a greater focus on core platforming and this is a great move. Tools had the series return to platforming and this game pushing that fact was a smart choice.
The level designs supports this, with more difficult platforming challenges to face, simple puzzles to solve and doing some new things with Ratchets Wrench. It has been his stable tool since day-zero and it finally getting some upgrades was great to see. It has a tether that can pull down objects/move platforms and can pick up small objects/throw them.
One example is that you are exploring a dark cave and you pick up a lighting bug with your wrench, allowing you to see what is ahead of you. This small change mixes up the gameplay in fun ways. The game does have weapon-based combat but its far more limited. You don’t level things up anymore and you do not have new-game plus like every other title.
But that isn’t needed here, as the game is very short. I beat this in 2 hours and while you have the ability to play on Hard a second go around, its kinda pointless.
This game looks just as great as Tools of Destruction looked but I noticed a lot of smaller upgrades over that game. Ratchet’s movement feels ‘smoother’ and his animations are more refined. Not to mention the frame rate feels more stable, hitting a 60FPS more often then Tools of Destruction or A Crack in Time. The style of the game is fantastic too, with the pirate motif being a great excuse to have different-styled locations for the series. More dark caves, haunted locations and rougher islands to explore for example. I love that and a later game ‘Into the Nexus’ does something similar that I appreciated there too.
David Bergeaud returns to compose the games score and it is solid. Enjoyed a lot of the games tracks and they added to the atmosphere of the different levels.
Main Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOPi…swf7DF&index=2
The Azorean Sea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jASC…swf7DF&index=3
Hoolefar Turbines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCX4…mTzZlvB8swf7DF
Mysteries of Hoolefar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQLK…swf7DF&index=6
Slag’s Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx4a…mTzZlvB8swf7DF
Climbing Darkwater’s Fleet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9bV…wf7DF&index=16
Sprocket’s Rage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTmq…wf7DF&index=28
This game is a good case for giving a mouse a cookie. You take it and really enjoy it, but you want more. Here, you DON’T get more, but what you DO get is very enjoyable and a great way to kill a few hours.
I enjoyed this smaller Ratchet adventure a lot and if you never got it on its own, it comes bundled with the retail version of Into the Nexus via Download voucher. Fitting that the two really outlandish Ratchet adventures in one ‘collection’ but point still stands. The US only got the game via Digital Release, while other regions got limited retail runs of the title. Thank you NeoGaf Member televator for pointing this out to me, as I knew this but forgot to mention that before this point.
It is a fun adventure and a great lead-in for the future game, A Crack in Time. Many regard that is one of the best Ratchet games of all time and very excited to tackle that very soon.