Ratchet and Clank Future for PlayStation 3The Ratchet and Clank series boasts some of the most polished, relentlessly creative titles on the PlayStation or any other system. I bought a PS3 a few months ago with the specific purpose of playing Ratchet and Clank Future, and it actually goes beyond what I expected.
Insomniac produces action/adventure games that swim in a realm only otherwise occupied by Nintendo. The level of detail and thoughtfulness that has gone into Ratchet and Clank has always stood out, and Future exceeds the previous efforts.
The most surprising thing, though, is that Insomniac has created a fast-action, weapons-based game which honestly never feels particularly violent — certainly no more so than any scene in The Incredibles.
The weapons are so over the top that they're not threatening. The action scenes are intense, but not gory. There's a fantastic balance between action and humor, which is something that's practically unheard of in modern games or media in general.
For those who have never played a Ratchet and Clank game before, it's essentially a platformer with a Metroid-style assortment of weapons and gadgets, paired with a Futurama sense of humor. The controls are very solid and there's motivation to use the right tool for the task.
There's an immense inventory of items to choose from. They range from ridiculously high-powered explosive devices — such as "The Negotiator" rocket launcher — to items like the Groovitron disco ball. You have rocket shoes, a jet pack, wings, and so on.
Most of the game is made up of free-roaming levels, but there are glider sections, light cycle-style areas, full-screen puzzles, space-based shooting segments, and even few extras. Future has a Mario-style sense of placement of secrets, which encourages observation and exploration.
The production values are nearly without equal for this kind of game. The game is world is mind-bendingly gorgeous. I mean breathtaking. I don't know enough high-quality words to describe this. It's not just matter of a lot of fancy effects offered by the hardware — Insomniac clearly has some amazing folks on art direction. The design is beautiful.
A first-generation PS3 could be forgiven for being just a visual feast, but Future is the real deal — filled with vast, sweeping landscapes, carefully-placed variations in gameplay, clever puzzles, rewards for exploration, and sharp writing delivered by world-class voice actors.
The characters are high stylized and often blessed with quirky mannerisms. The dialog occasionally dips into fourth-wall-busting quips, such as "I almost didn't recognize you in high def" or asking what the point of all the "grav ramps" is. Even the soundtrack has a sense of humor. On one planet inhabited by pirates, the background music is unmistakably inspired by the soundtracks of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Amazingly, the cut-scenes are actually fun to watch. In fact, I accidentally skipped one and couldn't figure out how to go back to it. Many take the form of mock commercials with the previously-mentioned Futurama-ish sense of humor.
There is so much more to this game than I expected. Not only are the worlds shockingly beautiful in the technical sense, but they're vast and incredibly detailed. The voice acting is as good as or better than any animated feature film from the last few years, and the soundtrack is cinema quality.
But beyond all that, Future is a ridiculous amount of fun and never takes itself too seriously. It's one of the games that I get so into that I forget (or remember but don't care) to eat dinner. I don't ever give ratings to games I talk about, but this couldn't be anything less than a ten.
A masterpiece of epic proportions.
Ratchet and Clank Future for PlayStation 3
Posted May 6, 2008 — 5 comments below
Posted May 6, 2008 — 5 comments below