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Ratchet & Clank HD Review 3/3

August 21, 2012

Here we are then. It’s been a long trek down memory lane with Ratchet & Clank and Ratchet & Clank 2 but finally I get to play the last Ratchet & Clank game on my to-do list, and Ratchet & Clank 3 is anything but a disappointment.

Hold onto your butts!

Ratchet and Clank are once again having a well deserved rest after defeating another galaxy endangering villain. Ratchet and Clank have found new found fame, Clank is now the star of the show for his portrayal in a popular new vid-show that is swiping the Solana and Bogon galaxies. Known as Secret Agent Clank to his adoring fans, Clank finally gets his share of the lime-light, while Ratchet is doomed to sit in his companion’s shadow as Secret Agent Clank’s chauffeur.

However, Clank isn’t the only robot who is making a big hit on the newsreels. The sudden reappearance of robotic evil genius Dr. Nefarious with his army of Tyhrranoids has the Solana Galaxy facing the galaxy-wide extinction of all organic life. Ratchet, hearing of the most recent attack on his homeworld of Veldin, races back to the Solana Galaxy using an untested hyperdrive that he himself constructed.

Luckily, our duo makes it back and teams up with old friends including Captain Qwark, Big Al and Skid McMarx to create the Q Force, using their starship, the Phoenix, to chase down and try to stop Nefarious while defending the people of the Solana Galaxy by taking up arms with the galactic rangers.

Nefarious is perhaps one of the most outstanding new characters from this instalment. He is simply one of the best video-game characters in general. He’s everything a super villain aspires to be: completely insane, loud, devious and most of all infuriated that the world hasn’t recognized his true intellect and potential, having been bullied by his classmate Captain Qwark (who at the time was 26 years old, no doubt because he had to repeat years at school … a lot of years), and having his hired butler Lawrence managing to subtly strip him of all power with a few words.

It is just simply joyful to play this game just for the villain. Dr. Nefarious was so beloved by both the creators and the fans that he stands to be the only recurring villain in Ratchet & Clank (not counting Qwark who became a hero more than a villain). Appearing as well in Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. Oh yes. And the running gag is, when completely and utterly furious and about to blow his lid, Dr. Nefarious suffers from what can only be described as a brain fart that makes him pick up a radio signal to a proper radio drama series.

That’s not to say the humour that makes Ratchet & Clank is created solely by the villain. No, no, no. Insomniac still manages to create some of the funniest moments in gaming, even drawing on its old games as reference. You couldn’t believe how much I laughed when pursuing Captain Qwark back to his secret retreat and I came across the ‘Lawn Ninja’ defense system. The Lawn Ninjas were a throwaway joke in one of Megacorp’s adverts back in Ratchet & Clank 2. I couldn’t believe it … well, until they started attacking me!

Don’t turn your back on this guy.

Insomniac doesn’t change the formula when it comes to gameplay, and so they shouldn’t. However, now Ratchet’s weapons undergo five level ups ending with the final V5 version. As the weapons level up they gain new abilities like Lock-On, lightening damage, extra missiles, shots ricochet, higher damage, bigger ammo clips etc. New weapons include the Plasma Wip, which acts as another melee short range weapon that Ratchet can throw as well as whip around himself for 360 degrees of defense and damage. My favourite new weapon is the N60 Storm Blaster which, when upgraded to the N90 Hurricane, acts as a double barrelled rapid weapon of destruction.

I’m happy to say that none of the standard weapons seem to break the game, or perhaps I discovered them in time, but for once I felt as in danger as I felt dangerous. There are returning weapons from both Ratchet & Clank 1 and 2. These include the Glove of Doom, which has changed to the Agents of Doom, and as the weapon levels, the little critters you released became more dangerous and destructive with jet-packs, missile launchers and nuclear self-destructs. The old weapon, which has undergone the greatest improvements, is the Suck Cannon. Now it can suck up not only small enemies but also crates, so you’ll never find yourself short of ammo. And the fact that you can lock-strafe means that you can be more accurate. Over the three instalments of Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac have instilled and focused on what makes combat and blowing the crap out of something satisfying. No matter how many times you’ve played the game.

Insomniac also managed to create some brilliant set-pieces that challenge even today’s modern action ones. But it’s not only about gear, big explosions and pulse pounding excitement – it’s more about doing some new. The two most outstanding pieces of gameplay that really stick in my mind are the Qwark vid-comics arcade game and taking control of Clank while on the set of his newest Secret Agent Clank holo-vid.

The Qwark vid-comics are a great way of showing off Qwark and Nefarious’ back-story and are really essential to driving the plot forward. So to take the time out of defending the galaxy to play an arcade game based on Qwark is a nice pace changer and incredibly fun, leaving you waiting until you can play the next vid-comic.

 

While playing as Secret Agent Clank, the director will count you in before you start your journey through the sets fighting robotic ninjas, using bots to navigate your way around obstacles, culminating in a giant Clank fight between you and the Beast of Talos. The best touch to this sequence is everything you fail and start off. The director will count you in again, becoming more and more infuriated the more you fail. Also Ratchet & Clank 3 has a brilliant boss battle with a certain famous female singer robot, which takes place on the set of her newest music video, go-go cages and go-go robot dancers included. It’s just those nice little touches that make much of Ratchet & Clank 3 stand out from its predecessors.

I could seriously go on for another page or so about how much this game made me laugh, but I don’t think I can condense it down. But I’ll give it a go: This game is freaking funny.

It’s also great fun having Ratchet come up circle and saving old locations such as Blackwater City and Metropolis (two of the most iconic planets in the first game). Ratchet coming back as a more considerate, well-tempted and reliable hero, not the tempered, bratty, obnoxious fool he was before. And in that you can see how the series has evolved from the ground up to perfect the concept that Insomniac first set out on.

In conclusion, Ratchet & Clank 3 is the perfect way to round off an HD boxset that every Playstation 3 user should own. It may even pip Ratchet & Clank 2 for the spot of my favourite PS2 era Ratchet & Clank game, although I was disappointed that space combat was removed from Ratchet & Clank 3.

The HD boxset of Ratchet & Clank is brilliant for both veterans and newcomers to the series. With trophy support, online multiplayer in Ratchet & Clank 3, and just in general being three of the best action platformers ever created for the PS2, this is surely one HD collection you should check out if you own a PS3.

Image Link : Lawn Ninja – Channel 64, Ratchet Wikia

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