December 9, 2012
Full Frontal Assault has such a lack of content it almost aids the fact that playing through the game kills any sort of fun it could generate. The story mode dangles a sliver of narrative in front of you at the beginning and tricks you into thinking this will be a regular occurrence. However, ignoring the fact that this has one of the lowest character counts in the series' history, the opening movie has its moments of funny dialogue.
You can choose to play as Ratchet, Clank, or Captain Quark and this never makes the game feel any different besides in game dialogue. The rest of the campaign is made up of five levels that do little to motivate you to continue. Not until the end of the game does the story ever really do anything to build development with the heroes and villain. This is a waste since the main villain is a great throwback to past games and is severely underused.
Still the story is the least of this game's problems as the gameplay is so uneven and broken that if you started a curse jar, you'd have a pretty penny by the time you see this title to the end. When you pick up the controller, the jet boots and weapon wheel let you know you are playing a traditional Ratchet game. That is until you get an alert that your base is under attack and you haven’t got enough bolt to make a single defence.
As you travel the map completing objective after objective, you will need to find enough weapons and bolts to hold off waves of enemies. The rate that enemies try and take your base happens so unexpectedly and gives you no warning before you start losing control of your resources. Mix that with the fact that collecting bolts is tedious and takes way too long. All these elements lead to you needing to restart from the last checkpoint over and over again until you micromanage things so much that playing the game just feels like work.
Once you extend this over four of the game's five mission and add the fact that there are only three different worlds to choose from, the whole game reeks of lazy repetition. It fails to impress at any point in the story. Having the crazy guns and gadgets you know and love only makes things nostalgic until you realize that almost none of them ever feel as powerful as they should. The fact that having a lot of defences never changes feeling underpowered adds to the frustration.
There is a better mix to the tower defence elements in multiplayer thankfully. Since things take place in phases, every player knows what is coming up next and has a fair chance at defending their own base. It is odd that things work so much better and it leads to the feeling that Insomniac crammed a campaign in at the end of development. Unfortunately the multiplayer is difficult to get into, with low numbers of players being the major problem.
Pretty visuals can only distract from a game that is at its core not fun to play. That is unless you manage to find a decent multiplayer game. The game has detailed visuals for a budget title/downloadable game, but this is the norm for this long running series. While the visuals made a nice transition, the score is uninspired and does nothing special as it gets buried under the shots fired in most games.
With such a low price to play this new addition to the Ratchet and Clank series, it really speaks volumes when you find out how low the quality is in this game on most levels. Pretty visuals, characters, guns, and nostalgia add insult to injury in this installment. Unless Insomniac plans on bringing this series back and showing us what such a talented studio can do, Ratchet and Clank need to take a long break and think about what they have done.