The second Ratchet and Clank game has made its way onto the PSP. This time around, Clank takes center stage as the main character. Now with Clank as the lead man, can this game stand with the previous games? Does Clank fill Ratchet’s shoes?
As the game opens up,is sent to the Boltaire Museum to halt the theft of a priceless jewel known as the “Eye of Infinity”. Once there, he sees Ratchet being arrested in connection with the theft. Ratchet does not seem to be himself, and in fact is acting quite evil. Clank vows to find out what has happened to Ratchet and who is behind the theft. In order to clear Ratchet’s name, Clank will have to investigate all over the galaxy, fighting enemies both old and new in hopes of freeing Ratchet before it’s too late.
The gameplay is very similar to previous Ratchet and Clank games. There is still plenty of platforming, and you can still smash crates and kill enemies for bolts, the currency system for the game. Where it does differ is that Clank is the main hero this time around, and instead of a physical weapon Clank relies primarily on ‘clank fu’ instead. Clank fu is basically hand to hand combat. You can also buy upgrades for these, adding crazy moves to your arsenal.
The wacky weapons are also back this time around, but Clank’s weapons are more discrete. He will be equipped with a boomerang tie, cuff link bombs, a flamethrower briefcase, and more. Just like the famous James Bond flicks, not everything is not what it seems when it comes to Clank’s attire.
One of the main focuses of Clank’s gameplay is stealth. You will have to sneak up behind an enemy and hit Square, triggering ain which you will have to hit a series of buttons in a certain amount of time. In addition to the stealth kills, Clank will also be able to hide in pipes, under flowerpots, and even pose as a statue. For each area you complete without being detected, the game will give you a health bar bonus. The stealth tactics also work well since Clank’s weaponry is not exactly the strongest, so an all out attack would go south rather quickly.
Other than the stealth elements, the rest of Clank’s time is spent fighting enemies and platforming. But there are two other play types that you will encounter. The rhythm button games (a la Sly Cooper) will help you navigate lasers, dance or play cards. There is also some downhill skiing and speedboat driving which will have you trying to escape enemies by knocking them into cliffs, or dropping bombs in their path.
Clank isn’t the only character you get to control. You will have to play some arena based levels with Ratchet, which are exactly like the previous games’ arena battles. These are fought in jail, and you will have to survive waves of enemies for the designated number of rounds. The enemies you will be facing are all the guysput behind bars, so you will be seeing quite a few familiar faces. Since Ratchet is in jail, Clank will have to find and buy all of Ratchets weapons during his levels. This only adds another level of depth to the game since you will have to decide who needs the new weapons more, Ratchet or Clank.
There are also some puzzle based levels in which you will be playing as Clank’s little robotic sidekicks. You will remember them from previous games as the little guys that helped open up doors and disable various security barriers. Well this time around, you get to control them and they will be in charge of navigating the complex locks and security systems, as well as fighting off enemies in order for Clank to gain access to certain areas.
The last fan favorite you will be playing as, of course, is Captain Qwark. His levels are pretty comedic since he is writing an autobiography, and you will be fighting all of hisat least the way he remembers them. From opera fights, to giant cactus people and saving nuns and orphans, Qwark has done it all. Each level is relatively similar, with you simply punching and shooting your way through them. However, Qwark’s, but with Qwark narrating what is going on they all are fun in there on way.
Since Secret Agent Clank is jam packed with many different game types, the gameplay never grows stale. The development team at High Impact Games chose to spice things up by switching up the gameplay and the tone constantly, providing gamers with a far different experience than previous Ratchet installments.
The visuals are crisp and stylized, making Secret Agent Clank one of the better looking PSP titles out there. The voice overs have been well implemented, with characters still played by the original actors. All of the corny dialogue is still in place, with Captain Qwark standing out in particular.
Secret Agent Clanks ends up being a worthy installment in the Ratchet series, and is a blast to play. On top of that, it really puts a spark back in the series by going in such a bold new direction. The length is pretty good, roughly 6~7 hours, and the short missions really make this perfect for traveling or quick play sessions. I hope to see more games like this on the PSP, and all fans of Ratchet and Clank should pick up this enjoyable title.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Crisp graphics and sharp dialogue.
Length is a bit short, but is well paced and enjoyable.