|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Insomniac||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: Fall 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: TBA||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
July 24, 2007 - What an honor to get my hands on the fresh, brand-new R&C demo shown at E3 this year! Ratchet, our little friend with the rodent ears and tiger stripes, makes it back to our TV screens along with his dear friend and robotic companion Clank. This time they're jumping right into the next generation of gaming, starting what will be a brand new series of their own, Ratchet & Clank Future. Therefore, Tools of Destruction is only the first installment, which means we can get all excited because there will be more. Nice!
The demo doesn't have more than twenty to thirty minutes of gameplay, but it does a great job demonstrating that our awesome game heroes are back, stronger than ever, with the most awe-inspiring visuals, plus smooth and extremely fun platforming that is to die for. When more games like this start coming out for the PlayStation 3, Sony will finally have reasons to feel proud of themselves, and they will definitely overcome the slump they're in right now. It looks like the end of this year is going to be very thrilling and positive for the gaming industry, as we could see at the last E3, just barely two weeks ago.
In the demo, Ratchet and Clank are thrust into a sticky situation when heavily-armed robotic commandos start an invasion of the galaxy. R&C have no choice but embark in yet another exhilarating adventure, with wrench in hand and a few new weapons available in their inventory. You only have access to four of them in this demo, but it's a good example of the kind of innovative weaponry you'll be able to use in the full version of the game. The Combuster is a regular fire gun, and then there are also Fusion Grenades. But the most interesting weapons are the Groovitron and the Transmorpher. The first one puts up a disco ball and with the music, lights, and the entire ambiance; your metallic enemies can't help but dance. That keeps them distracted enough so you can discharge the weapon of your choice and turn them into a bunch of pieces of metal, nuts, and bolts. The Transmorpher converts your enemies into innocent and helpless penguins, some wearing a winter hat and scarf, and others looking all snazzy in a tux with a top hat. If you're cold blooded enough, you can go ahead and shoot the penguins so they don't get on your way; after all, this is what this game is about!
The controls are easy as can be, and they haven't changed much. You'll jump with X, attack with the wrench pushing the square button, triangle will pull up your weapon menu, and circle will shoot. Of course, you'll move Ratchet with the left control stick and stir the camera with the right stick. L1 will allow you to shoot from a first person perspective, although Ratchet will be immobilized when doing that. That's about it for the controls, at least on the demo.
If you have played previous Ratchet & Clank games, you're certainly familiar with the chaotic scenarios you'll be thrown into. The planets our alien friends visit are very futuristic, crammed with crazy-shaped buildings, flying vehicles, and tubular rails. Fire dashes from everywhere, but the fast-paced rhythm of the game prevents Ratchet from getting hurt. Needless to say, Clank feels safe, as always, attached to the back of his friend, even though he does take a break once in a while and gets down on his feet (mostly on the cutscenes). The environments are very colorful and well defined, reminding you of those of Futurama or the old Jetsons cartoon.
The visuals look outstanding on a big TV. I'm not quite sure if they're going for 1080p or 1080i resolution, but either way, you couldn't really ask for more. The cartoonish look is still the same, but the facial expressions and character animations are slick; it's like watching one of those sweet Pixar movies while taking part in the action. No glitchy moments, awesome cutscenes, and state-of-the-art in-game visuals make this game a true next-gen experience that nobody will regret; you will love it, as long as you enjoy high-speed platforming games mixed up with a whole lot of action!
I'll give another high-five to the developers at Imsomniac for the superb soundtrack they are introducing in the game; it blends perfectly with the fast-paced gameplay, and the voice-over is truly high-quality. If you have great speakers, you'll have great sound when playing this game; this is one of those titles that make your home theater setup entirely worth it. The only thing I missed is the rumble technology. If only the PS3's Sixaxis controller had rumble, it would complete the experience! Hopefully in the next Ratchet & Clank game we'll be able to enjoy that, since there are talks about adding the rumble technology to the controller sometime in the future.
The platforming action that Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction offers has nothing to envy previous installments. The gameplay is smoother and provides with a huge sense of accomplishment, even though it's easy enough. You'll run towards the enemies, kick their butt with a bit of button-mashing combined with the use of the cool weapons you have, then you'll jump on a teleporting platform, kick more butt, jump the gap, slide down the tubular rails (avoiding trains and laser attacks), and before you know it, the demo is over! Nooooooooooo!!! I forgot it was a demo! I was ready to continue playing! Oh well, it looks like we'll have to wait till the fall; luckily, it's not so far away and it can be done. Are you excited now?
CCC Co-Site Director