I’ve been waiting ages to play the new instalment in the Ratchet and Clank franchise ever since I saw the Crack In Time teaser trailer and got the chance to play the demo. I’ve now finally got my wish and ‘Ratchet and Clank: A Crack In Time’ was well worth the wait!
The story is the final part of the Ratchet and Clank Future ‘trilogy’. At the end of Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, Clank was abducted by the Zoni leaving Ratchet without his faithful friend at his side. Then Insomniac released the PSN Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, which saw Ratchet searching for Clank and his whereabouts but to no avail.
But in Crack in Time, Ratchet and Clank finally find each other again to save the universe. But this isn’t until at the very end as for the majority of the game Ratchet and Clank are doing their own thing. Ratchet is trying to find Clank, whilst Clank finds himself in the great clock which is holding time itself together.
Although Ratchet is without Clank, there’s a new character thrown into the mix along with Captain Qwark. We all thought Ratchet was the only Lombax in the galaxy, but there is another who has been in hiding called General Azimuth who was best friends with Ratchets father before the Lombaxes disappeared. Qwark is back to his usual tricks but does get more involved this time around which is good to see. He still makes excuses not to do things, gets himself into trouble, but he does join Ratchet in some fights along the way whilst making his smarmy comments.
A few new weapons have been added as with every Ratchet and Clank game including the Sonic Eruptor which is basically a slug on a gun which lets off a massive burp. I thought this was a bit of a weird weapon, but it’s great fun to use. Of course some of the older weapons are back including Mr. Zurkon who I’ve never really used in the past but found to be a great ally to have and is very effective. Ratchet also has some new hoverboots which are given to him by General Azimuth as they used to belong to Ratchets father, and you have to get through certain obstacles along the way using your trusty hoverboots.
There doesn’t really seem to any upgrades from the previous two titles, but this isn’t a bad thing as they still look amazing at times, but there is the odd moment when they do look a bit poor. I found close ups of Captain Qwark to be the main culprit throughout the game. But when you find yourself in different sectors in space, the visuals are quite impressive as there’s quite a lot of depth to the areas, and there’s the token cut scenes throughout the game which look fantastic.
Usually games like to up their game a bit from their previous title, but with a game like Ratchet and Clank there really doesn’t seem to be any need to upgrade the graphics as they got the style down to a fine art in the previous titles. So why fix what isn’t broken.
The controls are exactly the same as previous games which is a good thing as it enables players to just jump straight into the game with no problems. Even people new to the Ratchet and Clank games (if you’re new to them, where the hell have you been?) will find the controls easy enough to get used to. For the majority of the game I didn’t have any issues with the camera angles, but there will be certain times when it can leave you a little frustrated but not enough to put you off. The use of the strafe move, by simply pressing and holding L2 is effective, especially when fighting off hordes of enemies.
I completed the game on hard and I have to say I didn’t really find it to be that challenging. There are parts which you might have to do a few times to get past, but nothing that left me scratching my head as to how to get past. I did upgrade all my weapons to level 5 which certainly did help and with the inclusion of the Rhyno V (which you have to find the schematics for across the galaxy), made it easier to kill my enemies, plus when you start firing, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture kicks in in the background which I found immensely funny as it’s like you’re saying “HEY EVERYONE! LOOK HOW EPIC MY GUN IS! IT’S THAT GOOD IT HAS IT’S OWN FRIGGIN SONG!!” Genius comedy.
When you take control of Clank in the great clock, there are some great puzzles that you have to solve to proceed to the next part of the game. To solve these puzzles using ‘temporal recording’, you can record Clanks movements on time pads which will record one minute of whatever you make Clank do.
They start off pretty easy but do get really tricky as the game progresses. You’ll find a few switches in the rooms, which one of your past Clanks must stay on to open the door and then record another Clank using one of the other time pads to go through the door. You can’t go nuts and record as many Clanks as you like as if there are only 2 time pads in the room, then you can only record two Clanks. Without me sounding like I’m going crazy, the best way would be to watch the video below.
This doesn’t mean that you should cheat and use this video to get past a section you’re stuck on. I found these puzzles great fun and was nice to do something like this and gives you a break from smashing and shooting in the parts where you play as Ratchet.
Like previous Ratchet and Clank games you’ll visit different planets, but this time around you’re able to stop off on smaller planets, similar to Super Mario Galaxy, to find extra golden bolts and Zoni which you’ll need to upgrade your ship, which adds more longevity to the game.
It wouldn’t be a Ratchet and Clank game without some humour and they haven’t been shy on dishing it out. Even Mr. Zurkon has a few lines which made me chuckle along the way and Qwark as usually has the best lines. But what I found to be the best bits of humour in the game, was the radio stations which you can change whilst flying in space similar to GTA 4. There are only 4 radio stations with one of them being the default soundtrack, but Rusty Pete and Captain Slag lend their voices to one of them and have some fantastic moments. Even Dr. Nefarious has some funny moments when he’s rehearsing for his new play.
Ratchet and Clank: A Crack In Time is a fantastic game with a full and satisfying storyline. Splitting up Ratchet and Clank was in my opinion a master stroke as it stopped the franchise from being the same old game, just different packaging. The amount of things that are available to do throughout the game will take the total gameplay to around 10-15 hours (5 or 6 if you don’t bother with side missions), and with the trophies not ridiculously hard to achieve, it will keep you coming back for more. A great way to end the storyline arc in the game, and I hope there will be another Ratchet and Clank game in the near future. Whether you a fan or new to the games, this is definitely one for your PS3 collection.
4.5 out of 5