RATCHET and Clank is one of those iconic PlayStation games I never played on account of not having a PS2 – or PS3, for that matter – and it’s just as well I’ll soon have the chance to fix that.
I actually don’t mind a well-done platformer, so when Sony invited me to a virtual preview of the upcoming Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart – developed by Insomniac games exclusively for the PlayStation 5 – earlier this week, I was happy to log on and see what the duo were getting themselves into now.
While the demo was hands-off (ie, we as journos didn’t get to play it), it gave me a good impression of what to expect when the game launches on June 11 – and I liked what I saw.
The first thing that struck me was how nice the game looked – like an actual cartoon come to life, complete with some neat effects.
Even though I’m not a series fan (but obviously know who they are, because I’m not a philistine), the demo did an excellent job of setting the scene – Ratchet and Clank are being honoured in a parade (for reasons Ratchet is tongue-in-cheekily unsure about), which serves as a tutorial to get players used to the controls and how the two heroes interact.
Things get chaotic when hired goons show up to disrupt the parade, with it being another good opportunity to show players how the combat and weapons handle (some of them look quite fun, too).
It caps off with the arrival of the duo’s nemesis Dr Nefarious, who steals a gadget known as the Dimensionaliser, and (as the title suggests), it’s off through alternate dimensions to stop him.
While Ratchet and Clank are the main characters, they are joined by another member of Ratchet’s species, named Rivet. Rivet lives in an alternate dimension where Dr Nefarious has succeeded in taking over the world and is keen to help her new friends change that state of affairs – especially before he can conquer any more dimensions.
What was clear to me from the demo is that the game is taking advantage of the processing power of the PlayStation 5 – the animation was great, the colours bright, and I was particularly impressed by the body movements and facial expressions of the characters, who appeared natural and believable.
The level design looked really interesting too – some of the elements in there looked quite engaging, particularly the Bioshock Infinite-style rails.
The other big appeal was that the game appeared thoroughly family-friendly. My primary school aged kids are very interested in computer games (especially given how much time I spend reviewing them) but there aren’t nearly as many “suitable for everyone without being excessively kiddy” games about as we’d like, so seeing something that looks fun, playable and that the kids can enjoy too only adds to the appeal.
Despite not having played any of the previous games, I am looking forward to jumping into this one when it releases – and hopefully my kids can come along for the ride too.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart releases exclusively for PlayStation 5 on June 11th.