Developed By: Insomniac Games
Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 5
Reviewed On: PS5
It can be hard to believe that the Ratchet and Clank series has been around for almost 20 years with the first game released in 2002. It can be even harder to believe that before Rift Apart there were 16 games that came before and it is a good thing that the series does not show signs of slowing down any time soon. With every new console generation, the series has always been front and centre bringing a technical showcase and just bundles of heart with endearing characters in carefully crafted worlds.
Thanks to PlayStation Asia and our PR friends, I was blessed with the opportunity to experience Rift Apart and to say I was elated is an understatement. I have been a huge fan of the series since the first game with my absolute favourite being A Crack In Time. Personally, I do feel that the series just never reached the same highs as that game and felt like it was slowly just fading n the background. When the 2016 reimagining was announced I was slightly wary due to the movie tie in that Sony wanted to do at the same time but luckily the game was just an absolute joy to play. Insomniac Games have gone on to arguably bigger and better things with the hugely successful Spiderman series. After wrapping up my playthrough of Rift Apart I can confidently say that although it doesn’t displace A Crack In Time as my favourite, it got really close to doing so.
Sometimes, Violence Is The Answer
In case you haven’t been following the series, Ratchet and Clank is an action platformer with two unlikely characters finding each other and teaming up to thwart the bad guys. Ratchet is the last Lombax of his kind and Clank was an escaped factory mistake who find a bond and friendship in each other. The set-up in Rift Apart is fairly simple whereby there is a celebration for Ratchet and Clank’s heroic feats and as a surprise, Clank decides to fix the Dimensionator so Ratchet can begin his journey to find all the other Lombaxes lost in other dimensions. Not to waste any time, Dr Nefarious decides to crash the celebration and steal the Dimensionator so he can find a dimension where he is the winner and is celebrated. Cue the chase and struggle and the heroes find themselves split apart and stuck in an unfamiliar and dangerous dimension with no escape.
I do feel that the narrative aspect of Rift Apart is an upgrade compared to Ratchet and Clank (2016) but I couldn’t help feel like it was still right on the precipice of something epically more. Throughout the 10–15-hour playtime the game never felt like it went on for too long and I really did enjoy the journey. The newest addition to the cast, Rivet is just absolutely spot on. I did not expect to like her as much as I did but I think I might like her more than Ratchet by the time the credits rolled. I mean of course when introducing a new character, it is just as important that the character connects with players, and I think they managed to do just that at the slight expense of Ratchets own growth. For me at least he really does feel relegated to a secondary character. There are more new alternate dimension characters to meet and surprises in store that are just done so well but I do not really want to spoil them. There are even callbacks to previous games that I really appreciated. Regardless of how I feel about the story and what was lacking, I do hope that in the next entry the developers decide to just pull the trigger and expand the series into the epic tale I know it is capable of being.
I am just going to come right out and say it but Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart is one of if not the best-looking game I have ever played. I was absolutely awestricken from the moment the game starts and literally for most parts of the game. Just to make it clear I played the whole game in Fidelity mode (only because performance modes was not available yet at the time) and if you thought Miles Morales looks amazing there you are in for a treat. Insomniac Games have just managed to conjure graphical magic with this game with incredible textures, lighting, shadows, ray-traced reflections and graphical fidelity that really brings their characters and worlds to life.
I am one of those people who really appreciate well-done world-building with fantastic environments and this game just killed it on that front for me. Whether it be the wastelands of Savali, to the industrial marketplace of Corson V, Zurkie’s Bar, or my personal favourite Blizar Prime, the level of detail is absolutely insane. Then it got even better when I got the patch that enables Performance Mode with ray tracing. Fidelity mode performance was consistent with non-existent loading speeds and smoothness that did not feel like it was locked at 30fps but once I tried the Performance-RT mode which unlocks the 60fps mode I just couldn’t look back. It is just that good and I cannot wait to hear the impressions when players dive in for themselves. I have a feeling that with the amazing photo mode inclusion players are going to be taking some amazing shots that look completely unreal.
Now being a full-fledged PS5 title, apart from gorgeous graphics and barely noticeable loading speeds, 3D audio was another feature pushed forward. To be honest I feel at this point I am going to be one of those people that are not going to be able to experience 3D audio in all its glory. I do feel the positional direction of where sounds are coming from and on that front, it has been implemented really well with an example being early on when I was heading to Club Nefarious and being able to hear the club from a distance and knowing where it was coming from. I am probably just one of those people who probably need to have a profile specifically mapped for my ears but that is just a small personal point of disappointment.
Apart from that I really enjoyed the soundtrack and the sound design of the game was really on par with the graphics as well. The game just feels so polished on these two fronts and that is just a testament to the tremendous talent on display from the Insomniac team.
Is Not Like Cutting Up A Pie
Now when it comes to the gameplay, if you are familiar with previous entries then you will feel right at home. The tried-and-true formula of previous Ratchet and Clank games is maintained and polished to perfection. Players will be runnin’ and gunnin’ leaping around beautiful environments breaking boxes, collecting bolts, and levelling up weapons. The Magboots and Hoverboots also make their return to the game, as is standard for the series at this point. Now the new feature touted since the reveal to really show off the power of the PS5’s SSD is with the dimensions being in flux, there are portals that Ratchet can hook into that instantly changes his position in areas.
Visually it is just cool to experience but if I am being honest, aside from being forced to due to traversal progression I really did not use them all that much. I am sure from a technical standpoint it is amazing being able to transition instantly but it really did feel like just a cool party trick. It might even just be me, but I felt less impressed that in my favourite area of the game Blizar Prime, players must transition between dimensions to progress through the map but each time you hit a Blizon crystal the transition happens with a bright flash. Is it instant sure, but I just felt it needed a different transitional screen?
Armor also makes a cool reintroduction back in Rift Apart where Ratchet or Rivet are able to equip three pieces of armor (helmet, chest piece, boots) that are collected from various optional pocket dimensions littered about the 9 different worlds or from completing the cup tournaments at Zurkie’s Bar. Each set collected gives passive bonuses towards an additional 5-20% bolts, raritanium collected or 5-20% damage mitigation from certain enemy types. When it comes to the weapons this time around, I felt like they definitely toned down acquiring wacky weapons like the Groovitron or the Sheepinator. I actually enjoyed getting those wacky weapons but I guess the Pixelizer being back counts for something right? I do feel let down in this regard because even though it is fun levelling up the individual weapons I just miss the humorous aspect the series was known for.
There are collectibles for the completionists as well like the gold bolts, infobots, and lorbs. The more gold bolts you collect unlocks cheats as well as more cosmetic and photo mode options. The info bots provide backstories for each of the planets you visit and also a piece of a blueprint for a powerful weapon but the lorbs are probably the most interesting collectible. Each lorb collected will reveal more about the lombaxes but interestingly also infers about how there are connected multiverses, but I will leave that for the players to enjoy for themselves. After rolling credits the first time, players can then initiate a Challenge Mode whereby you can level up your weapons even more and have a multiplier unlocked enabling the collection of bolts faster.
One thing that I mention is how I am both impressed with the implementation of the adaptive triggers but disappointed at the same time with the haptic feedback. With the Dualsense it’s just amazing how developers choose to implement and build around immersion with the adaptive triggers wherein Rift Apart holding down halfway or full results in alternate firing modes. The haptics however is just quite disappointing. In the options menu, the mode for the full experience is set to experiential where the player is supposed to feel even the wind in the haptics (it’s even written on there) but I never felt it once. There is haptics but it just feels so tame. I even started thinking that maybe I’m just too used to it but that really was not the case. It just feels like a very soft implementation and really felt disappointing for me.
What I Liked
- Story – It was really well told, but I really do feel there is so much more to explore in the universe and hopefully we do in the near future.
- Gameplay – Polished to perfection but did not really reinvent the wheel.
- Graphics – Absolutely mind-blowing visuals on display here.
- Great new characters – Quite endearing and I cannot wait to see more from them in the future.
What I Wished Was Better
- More wacky weapons – I mean sure there were some bugs here and there, but I do really wish there were more outlandish weapons just to mess around with.
There is Plenty To Go Around
As much as I enjoyed my experience with Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart, I did have difficulty settling on a score I was comfortable giving. It is definitely worth a full-price purchase, and I am all for new and old players jumping in and enjoying this brand-new amazing journey from insomniac Games. However, in what might be an unpopular opinion I do feel like as much as the team pushed the envelope here technically, they also played it very safe. Great graphics, addictive gameplay, just the full package but for me personally I just cannot shake the feeling how as much as this is a really good game, it should and could have been one for the ages. In saying that I really do not want to take anything away from what is an amazing achievement from Insomniac Games, and I really cannot wait to see what is next from this series as well as from the studio.