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Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus Preview (PS3)

October 11, 2013 Written by Anthony Severino

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Ratchet and Clank are back on the PS3, ending the “Future” series and heading Into The Nexus. This new title does away with the time-control aspects of A Crack in Time and instead ushers in new zero-gravity gameplay as well as a new threat to the universe.

In the preview build we went hands-on with—despite still featuring the series’-staple humor—Ratchet and Clank both seem worse for wear. Their previous journey has worn down their spirits, and it shows. They still crack a few jokes and are as sarcastic as you may remember, but there is certainly a melancholy feel among them. It’s clear that the writing has taken a more serious tone, showing that both Ratchet and Clank have matured and now feel some remorse and responsibility for their actions.

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We’ve only had a taste of the full story, but we do know that the entire Universe is being threatened by a new evil, Vendra Prog and her twin-brother Neftin, whom have contracted Thugs-4-Less that you may recall from Going Commando. While en-route to the Vartax Detention Facility, Neftin’s plan to rescue his space witch sister from her imprisonment unfolds. His attack tears the Detention Facility to shreds, exposing Ratchet and Clank to these new zero-gravity gameplay elements.

Rather than traditional platforming, Ratchet must lock-on to certain terrain with gravitational pull to secure himself to solid-footing. The action can get hectic once enemies are introduced and Ratchet begins to shoot or slash his way—sometimes mid-air—through baddies and onto the next platform. In one segment outside the exterior of the ship, another smaller ship begins attacking our heroes and they begin a zero-gravity chase across platforms floating in space.

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In our short playthrough only two weapons—Ratchet’s OmniBlaster and some Fusion Grenades were made available—but many more new weapons will be introduced through the Insomniac’s classic weapon wheel such as the Winterizer. The zero-gravity gameplay also expands beyond just platforming. A “Grav Tether” ability will add to the puzzle-solving and overall depth to the gameplay.

Insomniac Games has said that while Into the Nexus is larger than Quest for Booty and Full Frontal Assault, it’s not as large as the full-priced retail titles A Crack in Time or Tools of Destruction. Although we did play an early build, Into the Nexus did seem to lack some of the Pixar-like visual flair the other retail titles were known for. But at just $29.99, it is indeed a budget-priced title and given Ratchet & Clank’s storied history, is bound to be well worth the cost for franchise fans.

Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus releases on November 12th.