E3 2015 – Ratchet & Clank Hands-On Preview: Beautiful Bolts
Ratchet & Clank has a long and storied history. There’s now even an upcoming movie that will explain Ratchet’s origins. Insomniac Games is taking this movie and making a game out of it. Yes, what we have here is as the developer put it, “the game based on the movie based on the game.” We got our grubby paws on the game while at E3, and have our impressions ready for you here.
Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed about Ratchet & Clank is that it looks absolutely amazing. Whereas earlier Ratchet & Clank games looked great, this PS4 entry looks like you’re playing a Pixar movie. Everything is so incredibly detailed, from Ratchet’s fur to random bushes in the environment, and there is not a blurry texture or jaggy anywhere. The game runs liquid smooth on the PS4, which hardly seems to break a sweat while running it as well.
In my play through, there were three levels to run through. The first took place on a moving train filled with enemies, platforms, exploding crates, and more. We were granted access to a decent array of weapons, which included such classics as the Groovitron and Mr. Zurkon. These were the upgraded versions, so that we might inflict the most amount of ridiculous damage in our short amount of play time. It was wonderful. I may be a little biased as I grew up with Ratchet & Clank, but this had all of the elements of the classic games with updated controls and the weapons you always wish they had invented the first time.
The second level that we got to play was a boss battle, against the Snagglebeast. This is a large, ugly, remote-controlled creature that has a mean swipe. Oh, it can also swim in lava, though its creators try to not allow that. The only required strategy here is to avoid the pools of lava strewn throughout the area, take out any peons that are fighting you alongside the Snagglebeast, and hit said Snagglebeast with everything you’ve got. There is a handy health chart on the right side of the screen, which lets you know how much damage you’ve done so far. As far as boss battles go, this one is pretty easy, but it does give Insomniac Games a chance to show off its graphics and animations, which are as usual quite delightful.
The third and final level that we were able to check out was a take on one of the series’ earliest levels. While part of the level had linear progression to it like most Ratchet & Clank levels, the area quickly opened up and the duo was granted access to a jetpack. Using the L1 button, you could fly over to any area in an attempt to collect brains for some crazy scientist. The area that you could freely fly around in was very large — large enough to hide close to 100 brains in total. This jetpack is really unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Ratchet & Clank game before, and introduces some great mechanics that include airborne fighting, if you should choose to give it a shot.
If you grew up on the Ratchet & Clank franchise, rest assured that it appears to be both a loving tribute to the series’ past games, while simultaneously introducing new and useful aspects to make for more interesting platforming. From epic shootouts on a moving hover train to jet packing across a massive expanse, the new Ratchet & Clank looks like it will please gamers of all ages and experience levels.