In 2002, Insomniac Games brought a brand new platforming adventure to gamers on the PlayStation 2 after a successful Spyro The Dragon trilogy on the PlayStation 1. That game was Ratchet and Clank and it spawned a series that is now celebrating its tenth anniversary. The recently released Ratchet and Clank Collection is part of that celebration and contains the first 3 games in the series along with some small extras. Does this collection live up to the standards that the originals set during the PS2 era or were these games better left to nostalgia?
The games follow the Lombax creature, Ratchet and his tiny robot buddy, Clank. These two have more adventures than a Saturday morning cartoon and there are 3 contained within the confines of this collection. In Ratchet and Clank, you’re attempting to stop Chairman Drek from taking away pieces of other planets to make a new one for his Blarg race. If he succeeds, the galaxy is destroyed. In Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, the duo are hired by a company known as MegaCorp to find a small creature stolen from their labs. Little do they know, the creature reproduces at amazing speeds and MegaCorp plans to market it to unsuspecting customers across the galaxy. In Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the heroes attempt to thwart Dr. Nefarious’ plans to destroy all organic life in the galaxy. Basically, Ratchet and Clank are all about saving the galaxy and trust me, you have fun doing it.
The gameplay in Ratchet and Clank is simple but, very satisfying. In every game, you start out with low-powered weapons. You can either upgrade these weapons depending on the game, or buy new ones. You’ll get a wide variety of different weapons to do pretty much anything you can imagine. There are flamethrowers, grenades, pistols, and anything else you could ever want. The emphasis is on creativity and power though and that’s apparent with each weapon you buy being more powerful (or sometimes more useful) than the last. There’s also the R.Y.N.O which may be the single greatest video game weapon ever just for the sheer unstoppable nature of it. There’s also armour and ship upgrades in the later games which add the the charming formula introduced in the first.
Combat isn’t the only thing this series is known for, these games at their core are puzzle/platformers with a shooting element and Ratchet and Clank is one of the best at it. As you progress through games, you unlock different abilities or have the option to buy new gadgets to help you along your journey like the series staple, Swingshot. There are also things like grind boots which allow you to traverse grind rails to other areas of a world. You’ll even have fun playing with water with the Hydrodisplacer placing and displacing water and the Thermanator freezing and thawing water to access different locations.
The core gameplay will always involve smashing boxes and killing enemies to get bolts. Bolts serve as the in-game currency and can be used to buy anything from weapons to armour to objects required to complete the next level. It’s so easy to get caught up in collecting in the game because of the amount of crates containing bolts and the illustrious gold bolts which allow you to unlock different things in the games. The variety always keeps you on your toes and provides hours of enjoyment that never gets old.
Visually the games all stack up very nicely on PS3 with a couple noticeable issues. The first issue concerns the FMW sequences which do not play nice with the remastered graphics. This is very noticeable when going to the cutscenes but, it doesn’t affect gameplay and thus, to me, shouldn’t affect anybody’s desire to own this trilogy. The second problem is the camera which has to be manually adjusted from time to time and can be a nuisance.The game runs at 1080p on HDTVs at 60 frames per second though and looks very good in the process. In 3D, it runs at 720p at 30 frames per second. The choice is there for people who have the option but, either way, you’re going to have a decent experience.
While this collection comprises three different games, there is still some discussion about the value that it gives. I can gladly say that the collection is worth every penny you’ll spend on it. You’re getting the three original Ratchet and Clank titles fully remastered in 1080p with 3D and trophy support which are the big selling points. The Up Your Arsenal multiplayer was also a nice touch and I know players will be playing through that for many months to come. There are a couple other less publicized items that come along with this collection as well which may interest gamers. There are two different codes for a Ratchet and Clank 10th Anniversary avatar as well as a Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Demo which are not available anywhere else. Well worth the value in my opinion.
Ratchet and Clank have been around for a decade and this collection really takes you back the series’ roots while looking and playing better than ever before. There are a few minor inconveniences but, I can’t help but say that this is one of the better collections SCEA has put together. Idols Minds has done a great job bringing the first few Ratchet titles into this generation. Special props to Idol Minds for adding in the online modes for the third game after the servers for the original were shut down last year. At 29.99, The Ratchet and Clank Collection is a must-buy. There only issues in this game are minor and there’s enough content to keep players busy for ages. This is what all the Ratchet and Clank fans have been waiting for, go buy it!