What’s old is new in the remastered Ratchet and Clank.
Like most, I got my first experience with the plucky duo of Ratchet and Clank back in 2002. That was the year the game first hit store shelves. While in most measurable ways the game is the same; same story, same characters, same worlds; the remastered classic isn’t really the same game from 2002. It improves upon the original experience in every facet beyond just simple cosmetic enhancements.
But starting with those cosmetic enhancements! The game looks great. The environments feel alive. Character models are improved, the backgrounds in the world are fleshed out and the playable sections of each planet are bright, colorful and given proper texture. It’s a ground-up remastering and as it was developed in conjunction with the movie of the same name, the appreciation and care each studio gave to the character models shines through.
While the story follows the same as that of the 2002 version, there are nice little references to the game being a remake. Pieces of conversations are altered in minor ways that play-up the tongue-in-cheek style Ratchet and Clank was so beloved for. Even while exploring areas there were hints at pieces not quite being where they once were. It makes for an experience that’s both new and familiar, which tugs on nostalgia while being fresh. However, the biggest change exists between the interaction of Ratchet and Clank which is far more cordial this go around. Both characters get along and take on the roles of a buddy-cop space romp.
Image from Insomniac Games.
The gameplay is where Ratchet and Clank goes from remake to master class in game design. Our 2016 iteration takes all of the lessons learned from the previous titles and applies them to the new game. The weapons are a collection of some of the best from the series, including a brand new favorite: The Pixelizer. This particular weapon is a short range shotgun that turns enemies into 8-bit pixel versions. It’s hilariously effective. The Groovitron and Pyrocitor return as well as everyone’s favorite 80s action movie catchphrase wielding robot weapon – Mr. Zurkon.
Weapon switching is smooth, hunting for pieces to upgrade the weapons is fun and rewarding, and returning to worlds once you’ve attained new pieces of equipment to further explore is enticing without being cumbersome. Each world is tightly packed together with groups of enemies scattered throughout that makes blasting them into pieces a satisfying experience. Plus, once you complete the game there’s a challenge mode to encourage an extra playthrough along with a few extra trophies to collect.
Insomniac breathed new life into their classic franchise, proving that even after 14 years there’s still a lot to love about Ratchet and Clank. Between the excellent gameplay, the enhanced visuals and the bonuses scattered throughout, there’s every reason why a fan of the originals or new to the franchise should pick up a copy.