September 24, 2012
The Ratchet and Clank series has always been known for having a very tongue and cheek sense of humor. This doesn't change a decade after the original game's, so don't be surprised to be laughing at plumber jokes again. The first game's story introduces us to Ratchet and Clank as they take down the Blarg. The Blarg are run by Chairman Drek who is going around the galaxy destroying planets just to create the perfect planet for his race the Blarg.
After stopping Ultimate Supreme Executive Chairman Drek, Ratchet and Clank become heroes with nothing to do at the start of the second game. This is when the two are teleported to a new galaxy by the boss of the Megacorp Company, Abercrombie Fizzwidget. They are hired on to find the “Protopet” which has been stolen by a mysterious thief. This leads the two all over a brand new galaxy with even more twist and turns than in the first game.
The third game has the best story out of the whole trilogy by far. The evil Dr. Nefarious is trying to turn everyone that isn't a robot into one. This leads to captain Quark assembling a team to take Dr. Nefarious down. This was a great way to bring back all the memorable characters you ran into from the first game. Returning to the planets from the first game also goes to show how far the series has come.
The story by far is the reason to keep playing because even though it is not the deepest story, you get attached to what is going on from planet to planet. Ratchet and Clank never feel like they have a one dimensional relationship which is good when you have to spend so much time together. Also watching the life of Captain Quark as he falls and falls even more then makes a comeback miraculously never gets old. Ratchet and Clank is the perfect example that no matter how old a game gets the writing can keep it a classic.
All three games are an action platformer with heavy emphases on the action. The series has made a name for itself with the crazy weapons introduced in each game. Just when you think that this crazy gun you just bought can never be topped, a new one that is twice as expensive shows up and makes you want it right away. All of the games have you collecting bolts which never stops feeling rewarding as you bash in what seems like your millionth box.
The first game was very bare bones when compared to the sequels in terms of gameplay options. Still this made upgrading and leveling up your health and weapons even more satisfying. Having your progress show as you mow down wave after wave of enemies kept battles feeling fresh.
Platforming plays a small part when it comes down to it and mostly feel like short reminders saying “HEY time to refill your guns and heath as much as you can before you shoot some more!” There are rarely any moments where the game tries to cross the two elements of the game. Still exploring all the planets for all sorts of secrets is always fun with all the gadgets at your disposal.
While playing the first two games there are sections where you fly a spaceship around and take down certain enemies. This was only in a few bits in the first game that made you do this and never wowed or annoyed. Going Commando on the other hand has the worst amount of ridiculously long and difficult missions that are almost unbearable. Thankfully Up Your Arsenal took out the space mission and replaced them with survival mission on large battlefields, which hits a near perfect note.
All three games share one feature that completely makes the game unbearable at the later parts of the games. Once the games start to get ready for the last couple of planets the game turns every enemy into something that will kill you in a few hits. Add that to the almost stupid amount of enemies you need to go through before you get to a check point. It is just lazy game design to add challenge by making the only way to live through this challenge is find the cheapest way to get past every enemy. Same goes for Final boss fights which all end up being bullet sponges with the ending never feeling rewarding. After completing each game I felt happy that this annoyance was finally done and not that I had just saved the galaxy.
The games still hold up visually and the bright colors really stand out when playing this HD collection. The voice acting also holds up well with many memorable stands outs getting introduced as you play. The game does have one of the laziest game select start screens with nothing but a video playing and a bit of artwork from Ratchet and Clank All 4 One for no reason. Still all of the games seem to suffer from minor and major bugs. One such example is someone's chair not spinning with them and they end up giving a speech as their legs dangle out the back of a chair. Pressing the PS button also loops certain cutscenes nonstop sometimes and even just crashing randomly forcing you to reset. Still with the bugs spread so far apart it never discourages booting up the game again.
The collection has a great amount of content if you are committed to putting the time into it. Each game will take somewhere around 10 hours to finish. Each game also has its own trophies and unlike most HD collections the trophies on these games are some of the hardest around. So don't be surprised to beat a game and only have 3 trophies unlocked. The multiplayer in Up Your Arsenal also is fine if you are feeling nostalgic for some old PS2 multiplayer action. Multiplayer doesn't add much besides giant low res maps and generally slow game modes.
All three games have a great story and even better are the fun gameplay that surrounds it. It is just too bad that the gameplay systems you use while playing 90 percent of the game is forgotten and replaced with irritating level design. The chance to replay these classics is worth it, but only for the diehard Ratchet fans. New fans to the series that might have missed out should be cautious about picking this up, especially with all the bugs that are present throughout.