Title: Ratchet & Clank Trilogy
Developed By: Insomniac Games (Port by Idol Minds)
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: Playstation 3
Classification (AU): This title has been classified as PG for Mild Violence
Review Conditions: Playstation 3, Australian Ed.
Special Thanks: Sony Computer Entertainment Australia for providing me with a copy of this title for review.
The original and multi-million units selling Ratchet & Clank trilogy returns in the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy for the PlayStation 3. Experience the classic adventures of the universe’s favorite Lombax, Ratchet and his robotic sidekick Clank in this classic PlayStation 2 trilogy now fully remastered in high definition! Wield the original tools of destruction as you travel from planet to planet unraveling their original story and explosive adventures in this PS3 exclusive.
Prior to playing this game I could say I owned all the games in the Ratchet & Clank series, however apart from occasionally lending a hand getting past a difficult stage I can’t really say I have completed or finished any of them. Back when I originally purchased a Playstation 2 and where one of the first couple of games purchased for the console was the original Ratchet & Clank I was over platforming games. Having played many of them in consoles past I was at the stage where I wanted to see what else the gaming market offered – trying out the oddly entertaining gameplay of Eyetoy and well…. expanding my repertoire of JRPG’s. However everyone else in my household had any always endorsed the games… but with time the games lost attention and I never had an opportunity to play them…. until now! What can I say, I completely regret not diving into them sooner.
Now let’s be completely honest here, this game is going to be reviewed quite highly. I think the last sentence in the previous paragraph sums everything up nicely but also the fact it has been deemed worthy of a Classics HD release might be a considerable indicator (Well that and the fact they can’t keep progressing the game and introducing new players if the original games are off the market I suppose). But the question is… even if this game is good… is it a solid port? Released in year installments between 2002 and 2004, the first three games in the series “Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal” have a number of years on their shoulders, but I think what they have performed in this port has shown the series has aged well, and it proved fun playing each game sequentially and always having new features to play with (Unlike Jak & Daxter which sort of decided to completely change – not always for the best after the first game).
While I consider every aspect of a game important, with the exception of games that are purposefully built not to include them the most important aspect to a game aside from gameplay is its storyline. While the storyline in the first game does start off considerably shaky in my books… it slowly progresses to be one not so much about delivering a work of literature genius but one that gives purpose to playing through the game and making it entertaining. The characters all maintain an eccentric and comical attitude with the storyline itself remaining witty and clever. Irrespective of if it is your first time playing or you are a returning player – I think it would be worth playing through just for the storyline.
The limiting factor about Playstation 2 games, especially ones released earlier on in the consoles long lifetime is that they really aren’t that visually appealing on current-gen TV’s. The studio Idol Minds (Behind games such as Pain [2007/2008]) were the developers for this port and I must say they did a great job at bringing the game to a justified quality for this era of gaming and giving the game the justice it deserves. Unfortunately the pre-rendered cutscenes do not recieve as much attention, but everything else is aesthetically pleasing at a consistent 60 frames per second. Heck, Ratchet & Clank 3 in-game looks near indistinguishable from more recent Ratchet Playstation 3 releases in my opinion. The game also offers 3D support however for the purpose of this review this feature was not tested.
Each of the games are generally action platformers, with each game unlocking new improvements from the other, from unique gameplay mechanics which have been used in the series since, to something as simple as a mixture of old and new weapons to use on your enemies. While I found it easier just to use Ratchet’s Omniwrench when attacking, it does shake up the gameplay with the occasional unique weapon in your arsenal. That being said, while you are generally left to wander around a slightly linear round of worlds running, jumping, hovering, shooting and thwacking robots and other enemies with your wrench…. the game is one that is a moderate difficulty play for gamers of all ages and what can I say… I enjoyed it. Multiplayer Mode also makes a triumphant return, making use of the Playstation Network and proved to be quite enjoyable although makes use of the original (and occasionally clunky) system of forming game rooms / profiles.
Replayability is boosted with the presence of trophies for all three games, and generally will take you more than one playthrough to complete. There is a very slight issue I have with this release however which kept it from being a perfect release. Upon booting up this game they present you with a logo boasting the Ratchet & Clank brands 10th Anniversary however don’t take advantage of that by offering gamers so behind the scenes footage or concept artwork of the development of the game or even the port. You just start up the game, are presented with the option of three games and are on your way – with the only extras being included ingame from the original release and requiring time and effort to slowly unlock them. It is a minor peeve sure, but once I would have liked to see included in this release.
Trivial issues aside I enjoyed finally after so many years having the opportunity to sit down and play the first three Ratchet and Clank games and have since moved on to the more recent releases of the Playstation 3. I have had the opportunity to enjoy several Classics HD releases over the years and they have all been enjoyable for their own reasons – ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, Jak and Daxter and Metal Gear Solid are all games that have deserved to be re-released to the masses. Ratchet & Clank is well deserving of that same recognition and provides all three games at a relatively cheap price with improved quality, trophies and several dozen hours of gameplay. A must for fans of the action platformer genre!
Storyline/Character Development: A-
Music/Voice Acting: B
Personal Opinion: B+
Overall Score: A-