It’s been 10 long years for everyone’s favourite Lombax and his robotic companion and they’re just getting started. Ratchet and Clank are back with their newest adventure, Full Frontal Assault. Can this bite-sized title give the fans everything they crave in a Ratchet and Clank title or is this one downloadable adventure that’s better left off your hard drive?
I can’t believe it but, Ratchet and Clank are ten years old! I remember playing the original for the first time on the PlayStation 2 several years ago now after I borrowed it from my friend and instantly loving everything about the game. The creativity in the weapons, the quirky characters and the imaginative environments all sucked me in for hours on end. I went on to own all of the games and have played through most of the bunch. Full Frontal Assault isn’t quite like those other games though and it results in a mixed bag of a game.
I really have to say that I was impressed that Insomniac Games had the ambition to try something new with Ratchet and Clank instead of the tried and true formula of games in the past. The problem with all of that is that it actually takes the series a few steps backwards instead of forwards. The series itself was poised for the next series of games in the franchise and yet instead we got a game with a bit of an identity crisis.
After Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, it really felt like Ratchet’s saga was complete and that we’d be able to see a new dee-rooted storyline that’s a Ratchet trademark. In Full Frontal Assault, players do get a very short storyline through the game but, one that feels very quickly thrown together and is over before you know it. The comedy is there and the great characters still get their appearances in but, it feels like Insomniac leaves a lot to the imagination.
The game at its heart is the action game that Ratchet and Clank fans love, however there is the base defense element that makes things a little bit murky. At first, when I heard there would be a base defense element in Ratchet and Clank, I thought it would be a great way for Insomniac Games to show of their creativity and give the players a lot of new tools to utilize. Instead of that, Insomniac played it safe and gave players the basic tools to defend your base with and nothing else. Not only that, but the weapons in Full Frontal Assault had nothing really new to offer. Even the weapons that you had seemed to be under-powered for the enemies that you have to face in the later levels causing my friend and I to completely deplete our ammo and still lose the base.
There are elements of the Ratchet franchise that fans will instantly recognize like the Swingshot and the grind rail and yet they don’t really serve much of a purpose other than a nod to the players. The base defense itself feels really off too. In a traditional base defense game you have to option to attack and capture new bases and you have the constant threat of enemies taking down your base. In FFA, enemies come in waves and sometimes few and far between which creates some rather awkward moments in gameplay where you have nothing to do. In those moments, you’ll usually be trying to unlock weapons or making your way to the end of the level to defeat the ‘boss’. Calling them bosses isn’t really correct since they aren’t all that different from regular enemies, just slightly more annoying.
FFA is a multiplayer game at its heart and that’s where you can at least have some fun since the game just doesn’t have as much fun factor as it does in multiplayer. You can either play co-op or battle another team of players, though the game doesn’t feature drop-in/drop-out. While the multiplayer does give a bit better experience, the game just feels like a simple mini-game and nothing more. I just can’t wrap my head around why this game had to be made in such a basic way. All the gameplay is solid, but there’s nothing really new besides the base defense and the game would have been better completely abandoning the concept. It’s just too repetitive and there isn’t enough payoff to actually warrant a full release
I had higher hopes for Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault but, in the end it was simply a game to get Ratchet and Clank back into the spotlight again. The visuals and the gameplay mechanics are exactly what you’d look for in a Ratchet game however, it’s overshadowed by the fact that you’ll only get a few hours out of a five level game with mindlessly repetitive gameplay. This was definitely not Ratchet and Clank’s finest outing.
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Sony Computer Entertainment Canada for review purposes.*