|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Insomniac Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Ratchet and Clank titles have long been extremely entertaining experiences on a variety of Sony's hardware. Whether they came out on the PS2, PSP, or even Tools of Destruction on the PS3, these games have always been decently long experiences full of great gameplay and a good amount of laughter. With Sony's new focus on making full downloadable games, the Ratchet and Clank series seemed like a no brainer addition to the growing numbers of PSN titles. Unfortunately, the fact that Quest for Booty is a downloadable game is the title's biggest problem, but I'll get to that in a bit.
Quest for Booty picks up right where Tools of Destruction left off, with Clank missing in action after he was taken by the mysterious Zuni. Now it is up to Ratchet to find his mechanical friend with the help of Talwyn, a female companion who likes nothing more than to state the obvious and then disappear from view. Players start off their adventure on a series of flying pirate ships; arsenals loaded to the brim with weapons. After quickly blasting through this section, Ratchet is jettisoned to the nearby Hoolefar Island. Upon landing, you realize that all your weapons are gone, save your trusty wrench, and, of course, the islanders are in desperate need of your help.
While I have always been a fan of heavily using the wrench in combat, it seems a little cheap for the game to take the rest of your weapons away from you. Sadly, you will spend a good amount of the game with nothing but a wrench, at least until the game decides to rapidly thrust all your projectile weapons back into your hands. As a result of either having all your weapons or basically none of them, much of the game's combat feels a little repetitive and shallow. Combine this with the severe lack of enemy types (virtually all are pirate bots and ghost pirates with very few other foe types), and it becomes hard not to lose interest with dispatching enemies.
As with the previous games in the series, platforming and puzzles also play a large role in its gameplay. This part of the game feels incredibly natural and much like you would expect, minus the lack of Clank's abilities. Players are treated to tons of well designed platforming feats such as scaling several vertical towers, hopping on sinking platforms to make it across a deadly bog, playing a massive piano by jumping on its keys, and a multitude of rail sliding segments. Quest for Booty is definitely at its best when your main goal focuses more on thinking and terrain traversal than on combat.
Most of this game's puzzles revolve entirely around Ratchet's newfound wrench abilities. The wrench can now be used to pick up many small objects, with the square button, that can be carried around or thrown using the R1 button. This opens up the gameplay a little, allowing players to grab and throw bombs to open doors or damage enemies and to carry glow-in-the-dark critters. These illuminated creatures play a large role in the game, being used to light the way in darker environments as well as keeping bloodthirsty bat-like enemies from killing you. The lighting effects in Quest for Booty are quite beautiful, especially when carrying one of these glowing green blobs.
Ratchet's other new ability, the kinetic tether, comes in handy quite often as well. Many of this game's platforms are noticeably out of place, requiring your new ability to make them useable. By pressing the R2 and square buttons, a bolt of electricity extends from your wrench, attaching to whatever needs to be maneuvered. Players then need to manipulate their target using the right analog stick. Whether you are pulling platforms to manageable jumping distances, spinning platforms so they can be jumped on, or even extending bridges across large chasms, this ability feels a little tacked on. If these platforms were where they needed to be to begin with, there would be no need to bog down the player's experience by essentially making them build their own platforms to proceed. Not to mention the fact that the button combinations required to utilize this ability are fairly cumbersome.