One of the first questions I’m sure you have concerning Ratchet: Deadlocked is, “Where is Clank?” He’s the diminutive robotic, wise-ass buddy that accompanies Ratchet’s adventures while strapped to his back. He’s in this game but only makes brief appearances since he’s kidnapped and not able to assist. Ratchet is also kidnapped but is given the chance to fight for his freedom as he stars in the reality TV series entitled DreadZone. It’s must-see-TV at it finest.
Ratchet and Clank, as a series, are untouchable. From the gameplay to the presentation the series is a unanimous favorite, having made many reviews top pick of the year. Deadlocked continues the trend but it has evolved to the point where there in not much platforming or puzzles, elements that were the main component of the original. I like a company that evolves their product and doesn’t just force-feed us re-warmed rehash. This is a full-blown action game with lots of shooting and lots of enemies to kill. It’s like a cartoon version of Dynasty Warriors, only with way-huge weapons and outerspace locations.
Since Clank is absent, the weapon selection is limited. There aren’t as many gadgets but since the puzzles and platforming have been diminished you won’t really need them. Weapons such as the Magma Cannon and Dual Vipers are back as well as a variation of the Plasma Whip. No problem there. There are some new blasters but not a lot of them. You can upgrade both the primary and secondary components of each weapon to make them more powerful and flexible. It’s not uncommon to encounter hundreds of enemies in a few short minutes. Don’t forget that Ratchet’s namesake weapon, a giant wrench, is also in the offering.
Not all of the available weaponry can handle such large numbers of enemies so to assist you with your quest you will be accompanied by a pair of robotic bodyguards which can perform a variety of duties, both offensive and defensive. You can hide behind them like a shield or you can get them to launch grenades or open fire on crowds using their various weapons systems. You can also upgrade their weapons and armor as well.
Vehicles such as the hoverbike and the spaceship are back and are used to race around the galaxy or as mobile projectile and plasma dispensers. There is also an ATV that makes short work of the planet’s terrain, allowing you to reach specific areas quickly and somewhat more safely. The vehicles are very forgiving and fun to use. They break up the gameplay nicely, not that it gets monotonous but the linear nature of the missions limits your freedom.
Missions are created to be completed. As soon as you complete a mission, you’re booted back to the main interface to choose another mission. You don’t go looking for them and they don’t come looking for you. Instead of the story feeling organic and naturally occurring, the game never lets you forget that you’re playing a game.
Online play is loaded with options. Whereas the single-player game may be a little on the predictable side, you can find online games tailored to your exacting playing styles. Servers offer various customizing features such as ammunition limit, respawn rules and general difficulty. Modes include Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Conquest, which is basically the same as last year’s Siege mode. Juggernaut is a new mode in which one player is equipped with ridiculous powers while the other players try to take him down. There is also an offline co-op mode. There’s no doubt that if you like this game you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Aside from some new locations and enemies the graphics haven’t changed much. But who the hell cares, they were excellent to begin with. They are crisp, colorful and incredibly detailed with an excellent degree of depth perception in the backgrounds. There is some slowdown and it’s really noticeable, but like the numerous and annoying load times, it doesn’t last long. The characters are brought to life with nearly flawless animation, including expressive faces, and great voiceacting that gives them distinct and mostly humorous personalities. It’s easy to fall in love with the Ratchet and Clank universe.
Deadlocked features lots of replay value, plenty of unlockables, widescreen support and progressive scan. It’s technically impressive but more than anything it’s a lot of fun. If every game I had to review was this good, I wouldn’t hate my job so much. Did I just say that?