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Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time review
by McStruthers

***i played on PS Now for PC, and am not sure how much that affected the following, but it would be a server issue rather than a connection issue if so - my internet connection shows stable and high speeds.

played ratchet & clank 1-3 + deadlocked as a kid, and finally getting to play more of the series with a new ps now subscription. heard good things about this, so started here. it's a long review - i had a bunch of fun with these games as a kid and feel invested in the IP, even if i haven't kept up with it

this game seemed to focus more on quantity than quality.

the sections of flying around in your space weren't fun. outer space looked kinda atmospheric, but instead of giving you wondrous music to explore, you get cheesy radio stations, weakly executed dogfights, and so many random asteriods floating around in every section, the vastness of space feels cluttered. also, you're locked to 2D in your ship, even with this expansive 3D environment all around you. this feels jarring, considering the 3rd ratchet and clank game had a pretty solid 3D flying implementation, and they didn't use the 2D space for anything interesting. also, the space missions are identical across all systems. this would be ok if they didn't all feel like chores. 

the mini-missions on the moons felt like poorly replicated super mario galaxy levels. ratchet's movement and gun tracking were clearly designed for a standard environment, and were not well suited to curving along the z-axis. many times, bullets that were supposedly tracking an enemy would instead shoot into the vastness of space tangential to the surface, not curving at all. ratchet's landing after a high velocity jump was similarly weird

on many moon missions and on many planets, the player has to get through high paced platforming sections with "jet boots". these sections are terrible. i clipped through many surfaces when boosting onto them, and it's quite difficult to aim ratchet - the amount of speed you gain from a boost does not seem constant, and the game tries to glide you towards the direction of the next platform after you've been launched. so, for instance, if you are facing due north and you hit a boost pad that's facing due north, but the next platform is northeast, ratchet will start being guided northeast by the game. this is jarring and unintuitive. Compound this with the fact that you keep a lot of momentum when you land, and many of the platforms you land on are small. Many times, i did my best to slow down immediately after a jump, and still managed to boost off the edge. i could never tell how much of the movement's direction i should be contributing vs how much the game will contribute after a jump, which led to many unexpected results. this feels awful, especially considering how many jetboot sections are in the game

the story was pretty weak in this one, and the ending was obvious from very early on

the dialogue is weaker than earlier titles in the series. there's very little character development, and the motivations of characters in many situations is muddled at best. it feels like writers were working very separate from developers.

all guns (except the RYNO that seems to be in every ratchet & clank game, and a couple guns won from arena missions) are bought from a single vendor kiosk. this same vendor sells all armour sets. there's not really any inspiration just check the kiosk whenever you get to a new planet to see if a new weapon is in stock. in the older games, i remember many guns were sold by interesting characters on a visited planet, and the mechanism of the gun fit thematically with that world. not so, here

you play separately as clank at regular intervals in this title, playing either a minigame, or a puzzlegame, with some platforming and combat interspersed. the combat is fine, and the minigame is easy, but pretty dumb and unfun. fortunately, it isn't used often. 

the clank puzzle game here fits in thematically with the title, and is actually pretty fun. i think they could have done more here and had more difficult puzzles, but i think they found a good balance of difficulty here that doesn't isolate younger players, and they showed off some neat ideas

the worlds and music are anywhere between "seemingly unfinished and uninspired" to "well crafted and wonderous". would have been nice if this were more consistent. i also really miss the interesting characters and npc interactions from previous titles. in this title, there are some interesting alien designs showcased, but none of them have much character, and you don't get to know them very well

the arena battles are pretty good here, and so are the weapons...except mr zircon. that little familiar is annoying, and there's no real interaction except "redeploy him if he dies and you have the ammo". would have been nice to have 1 more weapon for tackling high-hp air units, but i think the variety was good enough. i played on hard, and didn't have ammo problems too often

last of all, i'll just say that i didn't like dr. nefarious as a character when i played ratchet and clank 3, and i don't like him here either. i remember being impressed by his animation quality when ratchet and clank 3 came out, but that's about it. i think he represents all the negative in how Quark has been evolved over the series - jokes and silliness are an iconic part of this series, but they're to be expressed by characters with clear motivations as we watch them change. instead, these characters are all one-liners and no brain in this title (dr nefarious was always that way)

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Finished on August 30, 2017 (PS3).

+Level Design