Since its debut on the PS3, the Ratchet and Clank series seems to have finally gained a continuing story. Before that, each game seemed to stand alone, with few recurring or meaningful characters. That all changed with Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, which ended in a cliffhanger hinting at more to come.
While waiting for the next big game in the series, developer Insomniac treated fans to Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, a mini-adventure which continued the story as Ratchet infiltrated the hideout of a long dead pirate to find clues as to Clank’s whereabouts. Now, finally, the third and final part of the story has arrived. Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time sees our two heroes reunited and pitted against the evil Dr Nefarious, who plans to use the Great Clock at the Centre of the Universe (give or take fifty feet) to achieve his own evil ends. The problem is that this Great Clock regulates all time in the universe, and messing around with it could rip the very fabric of reality apart. Can Ratchet and Clank stop Dr Nefarious’s evil plot? Even more important, can they resist the urge to use the clock themselves, knowing that their own tragic pasts can be repaired with its power?
If you’ve ever played a Ratchet and Clank game before, then you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Ratchet’s gameplay is comprised primarily of frantic enemy-blasting action with an incredible array of unusual and creative weapons, interspersed with mini-games and puzzle-solving sections. This time around, though, things are just so much better: the weapons are more creative, the gadgets are more fun, the controls are tighter, the puzzles are more brain-bending, and the action is far more intense. Everything has been amped up. One of the most impressive improvements is that players can, for the first time ever, actually fly Ratchet’s ship. Previously this was all handled automatically, requiring players to do little more than select a destination and occasionally engage in an encapsulated space-combat section. This time, however, we get to fly the ship ourselves, taking off, landing, fighting, steering it through space, and exploring entire solar systems, including landing on obscure moons and satellites to find secret items and quests.
Apart from that, the trademark gameplay is still as good as ever. Ratchet must still collect mountains of bolts (money) to buy his increasingly crazy arsenal of weapons, and he can find various hidden items, including the schematics for the mandatory RYNO (Rip You a New One) launcher, the most powerful weapon in the game. Some of the highlight weapons this time round include the Sonic Disruptor, a living weapon which belches a sonic wave, and the Rift Inducer, which creates a rip in space, allowing a tentacled monstrosity to reach out and pull in wailing enemies.
If this really is the last Ratchet game, then at least Insomniac has gone all out and delivered the biggest, craziest, prettiest game in the series. Ratchet fans, buy it now.