Ratchet & Clank 3: Up your Arsenal
The Ratchet & Clank series, together with Naughty Dog’s Jak (& Daxter) games, rule the present day platform-genre, a genre dominated by Sony’s PlayStation 2. For the third year in a row, Insomniac brings us a new game featuring the beloved duo.
In this third episode Ratchet the fox and Clank the clumsy robot need to save the planet Veldin (Ratchet’s homeworld, known from R&C1) from the evil supervillain Dr. Nefarious and the robotic superstar Courtney Gears (Based on Britney Spears? No way…). However, they can’t do it alone and they need the “help” of Captain Quark, the deranged superhero, who once again plays a major role in the story. As you can see the developers injected a nice dose of humour into the game. The cut-scenes with Dr. Nefarious, Quark’s hilarious bungling and Clank’s glitch remarks will often put a smile upon your face while playing.
Another one of the series’ strongpoints is the extremely destructive arsenal, filled with over-the-top weapons. Most of them have appeared in the previous episodes, but some wonderful new ones have been added, such as the Rift Inducer, that makes enemies vanish into thin air. The ultimate weapon once again is the RY3NO. (Rip Ya a New One), a.k.a. the “Everything-that-moves-receives-a-shitload-of-missiles-and-is-blasted-into-oblivion-Gun”. Once again all weapons are upgradeable (until level 5). E.g. the previously mentioned Rift Inducer changes into a Rift Ripper at L5 and the well-known Lava Gun transforms into the Liquid Nitrogen Gun that freezes and shatters everything. If you complete the game and start again in the Challenge Mode you can even upgrade them to Mega, Giga and Omega weapons! No need to describe you the overwhelming destructive power of those babies, I suppose, just use your imagination. As you can see, R&C2’s beloved upgrade-system makes a reappearance in an improved form.
The series well-known gadgets are also back. James Bond, move over, because Ratchet & Clank now carry the Hypershot (mixture between the Swingshot and the Dynamo from R&C2), the Tyrrha-Guise (changes you into a Tyrrhanoid, a one-eyed alien), the Nano-Pak (some sort of Revival), the Charge and Gravity Boots and many more ingenious thingies.
All these things aren’t very innovative, but Insomniac takes all Gameplay-elements to perfection. Ratchet & Clank 3 plays very fluently (that’s actually an understatement) and has a fun factor that goes through the roof. The small tweaks and enhancements to the game (such as the old-school 2D-platforming levels) are enough to make this game a worthy purchase, even if you already own the first two instalments, because once again the game is polished to perfection.
The only real innovation is the new multiplayer mode, but that’s one that counts. R&C 3 is the first platform game ever to feature an online mode. You can even compare it with Unreal Tournament 2004’s Onslaught mode. Players are divided into two teams and each team needs to conquer the other’s base using captured nodes. To do this, there are vehicles at your disposition, such as a heavily armed hovercraft or an all-terrain vehicle. To maintain balance, the singleplayer weapons have been toned down; so don’t expect any planet-busting weapons. The main problem with the game is its lack of online players, but the 4-player splitscreen option might solve that.
Of course a review wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory whining about graphics and sound. Luckily “Up yur Arsenal” doesn’t disappoint here either. The game uses the same engine as Jak 3 and looks as amazing as the latter. The beautiful, vast worlds are very colourful and richly detailed. Your opponents (Yes that bunch of brain-dead cannon fodder) all look like they work in some kind of intergalactic circus, well done! The audio is also excellent. The voice-actors have really outdone themselves (with special praise for the voices of Quark, Clank and Dr. Nefarious) and your weapons sound really good. Your enemies yell utterly stupid one-liners and the music doesn’t bother the experience. Superb!
Fanboys, grumps and “cool” teenagers have laughed at platform games many times. Apparently it’s full of “kiddy” games, with no blood, no flying intestines and no bad-mouthing. Why would anyone bother playing them? Because of the fantastic gameplay of course! Platformers have always maintained a special place in my heart and Ratchet & Clank 3: Up your Arsenal is one of the best games in the genre ever. I don’t mind the fact that few things have changed since the first game. Heck, if more games would maintain the quality level of R&C3, I wouldn’t even mind 3 more sequels! Unfortunately that won’t be the case, because the saga ends with this one, just like Jak 3. R&C 3 is a magnificent game to end the saga. Congratulations Insomniac!