Fri, Dec. 7th, 2007, 12:18 pm
No More Sorrow
Ratchet & Clank: Tools Of Destruction
Ever since the very first Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac Games has been garnering a fan-following that very few platform game creators barring Miyamoto-san has achieved. Insomniac's last Ratchet & Clank offering was Deadlocked way back in 2005 and therefore has come back to its beloved series in the form of Tools Of Destruction. It has reverted to its original formula of action with dollops of platforming for the fans who had complained of not enough platforming elelments in its last venture, Deadlocked.
At the very beginning we find Ratchet and Clank being called by Captain Qwark who claims to be attacked by an army of robotic warriors, who are then identified to be the minions of Emperor Percival Tachyon, the last remaining member of the Cragmite species. In amidst all of the chaos Ratchet finds himself to be the target of Tachyon, bent upon eliminating him, the last known member of the Lombax species. The game is about Ratchet, escaping the clutches of Tachyon and finding out more about himself and his species in the process. Not to be left out, Clank is also being affected by little alien creatures called the Zoni, whom only he can see. The story tries to delve in the history of Ratchet and Clank, who find out more about themselves and learn to trust each other more deeply than before. However, the story ends on a disappointing note (read cliffhanger) and refuses to play out more than to a certain point. This of course, leaves us anticipating for the sequel.
The game itself is played out in the Third Person mode and the core of the gameplay revolves around shooting and platforming. A very healthy balance of these two elements make R&C a very fun and immersive experience. The strength of R&C has always been the weapons, the crazy arsenal with which you wreck havoc on the thousands of enemies that you encounter on your adventure and even this time around, Insomniac delivers with its insanely creative mind. Though, Ratchet starts out with the basic blaster, grenades and his wrench, as he explores and advances into the game he collects more weapons and gadgets which he can either purchase or exchange for help given to other NPCs (Non-Playable Character). The currency used in the game is still the very familiar bolts which Ratchet can earn by destroying enemies, boxes and crates and other objects encountered. The biggest change introduced into the game is the customisable weaponry, that is, you can modify or upgrade the weapons with attributes you would like such as more power, blast radius, ammo etc. Also, the more you use the weapon, the better it becomes, it is just like Character/Object level up system with experience points found in role-playing games. This new feature lends a nice touch to game.
Clank remains more of the same using his fists and controlling "mini robots" to help him out in his segments. These segments are more of platforming and puzzles which is great way to complement the non-stop action in the Ratchet segments. There are also segments where you would engaging in space battles with the scum of the galaxy, namely the space pirates. There are also segments where Ratchet rolls up into a Gyro-Cycle, which is sphere like vehicle which the player has to navigate through a series of obstacles. What is exceptional is that all this variety does not tend to tire the player and enforces the feeling that Insomniac wanted this game to represent all that could be done to entertain us. It is worth mentioning that TOD probably has the best usage of the Six-Axis motion sensing. Whether you be guiding your fall from a HALO jump, gliding past obstacles using Clank's new found wings or riding the Gyro-Cycle, the motion sensing is spot on. The only disappointment was the Tornado Launcher, where it becomes really hard to control tornadoes using the motion sensing.
One of the most entertaining factors about R&C is the humor. This is probably what makes R&C games stand out, the efforts at humour, unpretentious and omni-present. Whether you would be making your enemies do the disco with Groovitron or turning them into lovable penguins or probably taking a dig at the hardware failure rate of a competing console, R&C does it all. My personal favourite is the Pirate dance, where Ratchet has to dress up as a pirate and do a dancing mini-game.
One of the strongest features of R&C is its graphical prowress and how! The game shines through and through with its extensive use of vibrant colours. The lighting sets the game ablaze and whether you are in the very first planet or the last, the visuals amaze you with its attention to detail. The explosions, the enemies, the animated background does give that feeling that probably the Playstation 3 has achieved what was promised for in the Playstation 2, real-time graphics which reflect the quality of pre-rendered Pixar movies. There is quite a bit of activity going on the screen, from multiple enemies to multiple vehicles moving in the background but there is never a time where you feel that the frame-rates have dropped. Insomniac's effort is a cut above the rest as it has proved with successive games that consistent frame-rates are their forte. The game's audio is also solid, whether be it the voice-overs or the sound-effects or the back-ground music. The music suits the situation and has that "Platformy" feel to it.
Despite all of this, R&C is not flawless. The first complaint is the lack of difficulty in the game. It's not that games need you to throw the console or the controller out of the window with its difficulty but games should provide a sense of challenge to the player. This is probably where R&C fails. Apart from the last few planets, the game is very easy. Also, there are so many gadgets and weapons in the game, it will be such that some of them are almost useless and hardly convincing. Later in the game, you will find yourself usingh only a few of them. Lastly, Insomniac can be accused of not trying too hard to change the R&C formula. They have put in all the best features of the previous games and added a few to come up with Tools Of Destruction. But is this really a point for criticism? We need to ask ourselves this question. In this era of the next-gen where every game takes itself too seriously, with its hues of grey and white, R&C is a breath of fresh air. It is all about having a thoroughly good time and is very old-school in that respect. It is very hard to hold this against Insomniac as they have yet again delivered a game which celebrates next-gen while making you oblivious of your day-today worries as you pick up that controller one more time to rid the galaxy of the scum.
Now Playing: Uncharted - Drake's Fortune
Fri, Dec. 21st, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Saar, you finally wrote another post.....
either get hold of new games on a more regular basis or find something else to write about.
Sun, Jan. 6th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
Bastard have the decency to reply back...when you get time off from your activities that is.
Mon, Jan. 21st, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
oceansandearth: Your reply
There you go.
I hope you don't question my "decency" again ;)
Sat, Mar. 8th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
(Anonymous): plz plz plz
if u are in guwahati rt now, cud u plz contact me if u hv a psp running firmware 1.5 or 2.71. in a moment of madness i updated my psp to 3.8 and now i need to downgrade it. i will use my own memory card and battery. so there is nothing for you to worry abt. my email address is email@example.com
Sat, Mar. 8th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
oceansandearth: Re: plz plz plz
Sorry my friend, I am in Mumbai right now. If you need help in downgrading your PSP's FW, I can't help you there. However, there are plenty of sites that can teach you how to do it without bricking your PSP in the process.