It seems HD Collections are a dime–a–dozen for the PlayStation 3 these days. But when it comes to classic PlayStation 2 experiences, few franchises seem like such an easy sell as the Ratchet & Clank Collection. But is this just nostalgia talking? Does a series with its first entry just under a decade ago age with grace, or will we be reminded that sometimes things should just be left in the past? Find out in our review.
One thing is for sure – you are getting a lot of gaming for your $30. Included on a single Blu-Ray disc, you get to re-live the humorous platforming action of Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the latter with full multiplayer support via the PlayStation Network. As an added bonus, an early-access demo for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is also included. Ratchet: Deadlocked, the combat-heavy stepchild of the series, is not included, though a High-Definition remaster is slated to arrive later this year.
If you’re a hardcode fan of the series, then all you need to know is that all three games play exactly as you remember them, with enhanced graphics and a locked, high framerate. The lush vegetation and artful characters inhabiting the many worlds within the fictional Solana galaxy are livened up, and look even better than you remember them. Everyone’s favorite dim-witted “hero” Captain Qwark is an interesting case, as you can see what he originally looked like and how that look changed over the years. Titular characters Ratchet and Clank look the same as they ever have, just clearer. The excellent voice acting is as crisp as ever, and everything looks great presented in 1080p.
For people who weren’t really fans of the series before, this collection isn’t going to do much to change your mind. Beyond upgraded visuals and framerates, all three games are clones of the PS2 versions, right down to the sometimes frustrating camera angles. Perhaps the early access to the Sly Cooper game can entice some pseudo-fans of the games to make a purchase, but even then it’s a tough sell. This collection is definitely for fans of the series. Though if you’re a fan of the platforming genre, then you will most assuredly take a liking to these games.
As mentioned previously, the Collection runs in 1080p, and is locked at 60 frames per second. The PS3 easily handles everything the games throw at it, though I did notice some slowdown for a fraction of a second during splitscreen multiplayer in Up Your Arsenal – nothing to be concerned about. Everything is buttery smooth, and it really brings Insomniac Games’ vision to life, to a level far greater than the PS2 could ever have hoped to achieve.
Multiplayer is here, for better or for worse. I remember having some fun with Up Your Arsenal back when it originally released, and I am glad to say that the transition over to the PS3 left everything intact. You can even choose your screen name, which harkens back to the days before there existed a single unified login system, ala the PlayStation Network. Splitscreen is here! Up to four players can duke it out, which makes for plenty of local fun. The “Siege” battle mode is actually quite challenging, and that’s before you add in any human players. There’s very little to no lag when playing online, even over a wireless LAN connection. Yet, the gameplay is definitely showing its age. None of the shoulder buttons are used for firing, or driving vehicles – those functions are relegated to the face buttons. It’s a little disorienting at first, but you quickly adapt to the “old fashioned” control scheme.
At the end of the day, the Ratchet & Clank Collection is a no-brainer for fans of the series. Even if you’ve only ever had a passing interest in the galactic duo, at such a low price this is a great bargain. You get three full-length (12+ hours each at the very least) classics from the previous generation, replete with a Sly Cooper demo to add even more playtime to a single disc. Throw in a functioning multiplayer, and your 30 gaming dollars haven’t gone this far in a long time. Trophy whores should also pick this game up, since each title in the series comes with their own set of trophies, and that means three relatively easy Platinums to add to your collection. If you aren’t a fan of games like this, well, there is nothing here for you, but perhaps you can watch someone else play, if only to get to the oftentimes hilarious cutscenes. This is the perfect collection to pass the time with while you wait for Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault to release later this year.