Ratchet & Clank Was Released 15 Years Ago Today
15 years ago on this very day, Insomniac Games released the original Ratchet & Clank. The PlayStation 2 platformer was a success from the very start, and it eventually became one of Sony’s biggest franchises. The latest installment was a PlayStation 4 remake of the original, and was released in conjunction with an animated movie based on the series.
For even more on the original Ratchet & Clank, check out Michael Briers’ piece on the series:
For on November 4, 2002, Insomniac Games rolled out a humble platforming title known as Ratchet & Clank and with it came the newest additions to the genre’s colorful family. In tracing the series’ roots back to the point of origin, we discover that the studio began drafting up ideas for R&C — then known as I5 (Insomniac game #5) — upon wrapping up work on their Spyro the Dragon franchise.
Releasing in and around the same window as both Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog actually approached Insomniac early on in development to negotiate an agreement that would allow the studio to utilize ND’s game technology — environment renderers and the like — when constructing Ratchet & Clank, with the condition being that the developer report any feedback and/or improvements back to Naughty Dog. Insomniac agreed, and in reflecting on the arrangement, CEO Ted Price admitted that said deal provided “a huge leg up and allowed us to draw the enormous vistas in the game.”
Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on Insomniac’s signature series, and if you’ll be celebrating its birthday by playing one of the titles this weekend!
You can't say that Insomniac doesn't try new things. It's just that they don't always work out perfectly. Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault was the studio's attempt to blend its platforming roots with a tower defense game. It's not bad, but it's the weakest game in the series.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One was another experimental title in the series. This worked out better than Full Frontal Assault, as a cooperative game worked better than tower defense. Sadly, though, it just didn't feel like a fully fledged entry, and is one of the weaker offerings. It's fun with friends, but it's not something you'll keep coming back to.
High Impact Games did a solid job with their PSP spin-off, Secret Agent Clank. The stealth focused game starred the lovable robot for the first time and was a fun way to spend time during your commute. It eventually made its way to PlayStation 2, where the bite-sized gameplay didn't translate nearly as well.
Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty actually builds upon the gameplay found in Tools of Destruction, but it's just too short to rank higher on our list. It ultimately felt like more of a teaser than a fully fleshed out game. That said, there's still a lot of fun to be had, just don't expect it to last very long.
Ratchet: Deadlocked was the first time that Insomniac experimented with the Ratchet & Clank formula and it was largely a success. Deadlocked focused on combat instead of puzzle solving and exploration, so your mileage may vary with how much you dig it compared to other games in the series. This ultimately makes it feel a bit more repetitive compared to its predecessors, and the lack of Clank is disappointing.
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters may have been developed for the PlayStation Portable, but it's a fully featured title. There's plenty of awesome weapons to unlock, worlds to explore, and bosses to beat. It's a great example of a portable entry done right.
The final PlayStation 3 title in the series was a good one. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus had a fun gameplay twist (gravity manipulation) while retaining the platforming that fans came to expect from the series. It's also drop dead gorgeous in spots. Into the Nexus is one of the best platformers on the system.
The original Ratchet & Clank has aged pretty dang well over the past 14 years. The remastered version of the game still looks solid on PlayStation 3, and there's a certain nostalgia that gets factored in due to it starting the series. While plenty of gamers are excited to experience the magic all over again in the reimagining, there's still a lot to enjoy in the original.
Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando was a great follow-up to the original game. The weapons were zanier, the levels were more interesting, and the gameplay was more polished. Throw in a new level of variety thanks to the game's arena combat and racing stages, and you had a game that managed to pull out all of the stops. It's one of the PS2's greatest games, and that's why it ranks high on our list.
Our heroic duo's PlayStation 3 debut was a great one. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction took the series to a new level graphically, and managed to retain what made the series so beloved on PS2. It's rare to see such an acclaimed series jump generations without missing a step, but that's what happened here.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is the series' peak on PlayStation 3. The humor is at an all-time high, with a memorable and engaging plot, and the gameplay is enhanced thanks to a new focus on time. A Crack in Time is the payoff from Quest for Booty and it's an absolute joy.
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is the apex of the series. The combat is top-notch, the plot will leave laughing, and it was a graphical marvel for the time. It's held up fantastically over time, and it's just as fun on PS3 as it was when it released in 2004. Up Your Arsenal is the best game in the series, and one of the greatest 3D platformers ever made.