Time to Rescue!
It’s been a long wait, but Insomniac has finally brought gamers the final chapter of the Ratchet & Clank Future series that started with Tools of Destruction and was followed by Quest for Booty. Despite the slight disappointment with the second chapter due to its notably reduced length and download-only availability, the developers didn’t give up; they’ve made sure to leave a good taste in our mouths this time around, working night and day to bring us a worthwhile Ratchet & Clank experience that all fans should learn to love, even with the gameplay twists added to the formula. It’s time to embark on a new adventure, so read on and find out what this one is all about.
Being used to going on adventures side by side, Ratchet & Clank are having a hard time being apart from each other. A Crack in Time sets the dynamic duo apart once more, as Clank has been kidnapped by the nasty Dr. Nefarious. Ratchet has no choice but to go to the rescue with his goofy and overconfident ally Copernicus L. Qwark, so they take off in their Aphelion starship, hoping to find and save their metallic friend – wherever he may be. During their rescue quest, they’ll meet the wise Fungoids, who advice them to catch the Zoni spread throughout the galaxy. These Zoni are technologically advanced and can do wonders for their Aphelion starship, which is one of the reasons why they should partner up with them.
In the meantime, Clank is in for a rude awakening when he finds out he’s trapped in the guts of the imposing Great Clock. What’s more, Dr. Nefarious wants to retrieve sensitive data from his brain that’ll allow him to control time and space, so Clank realizes time is of the essence and he must escape! Luckily, he’ll have the pleasure of meeting Sigmund, a new robotic friend who’ll do his best to help him find his way out and understand the mysteries that hide within his own subconscious.
This dual storyline leads to different gameplay styles and multiple scenarios that alternate throughout the game. A Crack in Time has players travel around the Breegus System taking on Ratchet’s more action-oriented missions as well as Clank’s more puzzle-based quests. The game also includes space battles and missions that are very reminiscent of Nintendo’s Star Fox series, with homing missiles, radiating asteroids, etc. I also found some Super Mario Galaxy inspiration in this game, with tricky platforming segments that take place on the surface of random planetoids. Of course, the game hasn’t lost its core action / platforming gameplay, which is ultimately what prevails in this last chapter of the R&C Future saga.
Like in previous Ratchet & Clank games, Ratchet’s arsenal will become loaded with unique, powerful, practical, and not-so practical weapons of all kinds. Arms like the electrifying Tesla Spikes, the sexy Sonic Eruptor, or the chatty, go-getter Mr. Zurkon definitely get the job done, but things wouldn’t be the same without the fiery Constructo Pistol, which I upgraded time and again. Also, A Crack in Time hides unique weapon mods scattered throughout, allowing you to modify your weaponry for different results. These tweaks won’t always have the best outcome, but sooner or later you’ll find another mod that’ll let you update your weapon or change it back to how it was before.
For those more relaxing times exploring the different sectors of the galaxy, one can always resort to the Omniwrench, which is, after all, what Ratchet enjoys the most. There’s nothing more satisfying than pounding a foe in the head or smashing down crates chocked-full of bolts, health, and ammunition in a single strike. As always, you can cash in your hard-earned bolts for weapons and ammo refills at the Grummelnet Superstore stations. Oftentimes, they’ll introduce their latest products with wacky but very convincing commercials starring a cartoonish version of Ratchet; it truly doesn’t get any cuter than that!
However, the most innovative aspect of the game has to be Clank’s time-manipulating gameplay. A few missions into the game, Clank will learn how to go back and forth and even freeze time for his convenience. Players will encounter several sections in the game where Clank’s allowed to record his actions and then create multiple instances of himself recreating what he’s done in the past in order to activate switches and open doors, raise/lower elevators, and much more. Some of these puzzles are really fun to solve and will have you scratching your noggin’ for a while. They do get more and more difficult as you advance though, so it’s understandable that some classic Ratchet & Clank players won’t be impressed by this kind of gameplay; that’s why you’re actually allowed to skip them, although everything comes at a price.
Controls-wise, nothing has really changed that much. As always, there’s the different action buttons, plus the weapons, which can be mapped to the D-Pad for quick access, though they can also be picked from the menu the triangle button brings up. The controls in A Crack in Time are flawless and easy to learn for the most part, though it takes some getting used to walking with the gravity boots in certain areas, and some of the weapons employ the SIXAXIS motion controls, which wouldn’t necessarily be my preference.
The entire presentation of A Crack in Time is almost to die for. The gorgeous, three-dimensional HD visuals are loaded with amazing details and textures that are on par with today’s most ambitious animated movies. The characters look slick, and the cartoon-style commercials are charming and hilarious at the same time. For the most part, you won’t find a single problem with the visuals, and camera issues are virtually non-existent, unless you try to do something silly to force awkward camera angles.
To round out the majestic presentation, the soundtrack is also splendid. The music, the voice acting, and the sound effects are all of movie quality and make this game even more desirable. Kids watching their parents play will probably get into it as much as if they were watching their favorite movie; a 12-14 hour long movie. But, whether you’re playing or just watching, one should try to make the best out of this game, because it doesn’t get much better than this in the action / platforming genre.
If you like extras and rewards, this game packs a bunch of them, from the typical costumes to turn Ratchet into characters like Mustachio Furioso (an Agorian Warrior), Alister Azimuth (once leader of the Lombax), etc. to cutscenes from the game, artwork, numerous cheats to modify gameplay, and Insomniac’s skill points (in-game achievements) that complement the PS3 trophies.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is a truly immersive and extremely enjoyable experience that fans of the franchise shouldn’t miss. Its innovative gameplay elements and engaging conclusion to the trilogy make this one the definitive title in the Future series. If you haven’t experienced the other two titles, don’t be afraid to jump into this one, as it has lots to offer and really stands on its own.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.7 Graphics
Gorgeous HD graphics are full of great details and textures, turning the game into an animated movie worth watching (and playing, of course). 4.2 Control
Controls work flawlessly for the most part, and they’re easy to catch onto after a bit of practice. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A++ music, voice over, and sound effects. It’s a movie-quality soundtrack! 4.0 Play Value
Engaging single-player adventure with updated gameplay warrants a very entertaining first play-through, plus it comes packed with all the extras that make Ratchet & Clank games addictive. 4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.