Platform games can be quite formulaic – each level typically comprises gratuitous jumping and hours of bashing enemies. The Ratchet and Clank series, however, was one of the first platform games to break out of that stereotype to allow the player to use weapons more fitting for a first-person shooter. Seven years since its debut the franchise still breathes new life into the genre.
This time around Clank has been kidnapped, with Ratchet searching for his whereabouts. Clank discovers he is the caretaker of The Great Clock, a powerful device that can alter time. It’s this aspect of the plot that the gameplay is focused upon via Clank’s special weapon, the chronoscepter: a staff used to beat up baddies and also rewind time. He also has throwable time bombs at his disposal, which slow gameplay and boast some nice slow-motion effects to boot.
Ratchet now has a spaceship, allowing him to explore the universe as he searches for Clank. Space exploration can be rather tedious, but it does have its merits. This includes the ability to participate in exciting space battles, à la Star Wars, as you can use missiles and lasers to shoot down enemy ships.
The graphics are impressive, with levels including dense jungles, brightly lit cities and deep caverns. It may not have the visual splendor of a Pixar movie just yet, but it’s definitely getting there. The detail on Ratchet’s fur is truly a sight to see.
Littered throughout the game are numerous side quests to prolong the longevity of what is already a lengthy game. These include arena-style death matches and searching for upgrades to your ship and your weaponry.
Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time is a title that does not disappoint. There’s room for improvement in the camera and the general pacing of the gameplay, but other than that it’s hard to fault this game. If you thought platform games were only for kids, think again.