Don’t be fooled by the name – this isn’t your standard remake. While it may go back to the origin story of how Ratchet met Clank and be releasing around the same time as the animated film of the same topic, it’s much more than just a retelling of the story we’ve all played before. Not since the late 2000s has a Ratchet & Clank game really lived up to the pedigree of the series, but if my short hands-on time with the game at E3 is any indication, this is the 3D platformer that we’ve all be waiting over half a decade for.
The first thing I noticed was how immediately beautiful it all looked. You can watch some awesome gameplay right here, but that’s nothing compared to what it really looks like when you see it in-person, running on a TV, with a controller in your head. Once I put that headset on my head it was like someone sent me back in a time machine to playing the original game on PS2. Ratchet & Clank has always been at the forefront of graphical fidelity on the latest Sony platforms, but this time it feels more dramatic.
Ratchet & Clank on PS4 will function as both an origin story and a re-imagining of the franchise as a whole. This time, the story is told from the point of view of Captain Qwark, so that means not only a healthy dose of his humor, but also a different lens with which to view the game as whole. The part that I played was mostly the same as the gameplay I linked above, so going hands-on with it really helped crystallize how fluid and nice everything looked.
It’s clear the game has been built from ground up with the PlayStation 4, as it just oozes that level of quality and polish you’d expect. Holding the familiar, yet updated, Dualshock 4 while playing a Ratchet & Clank game was a perfect analogy for the way the game felt as well. Familiar weapons like The Combuster and Groovitron were present, but what really stole the show for me was the new Pixelizer, a weapon that only Insomniac could cook up in their lab of creativity.
At first glance, it functions like any wave-blast shotgun that you’ve seen a billion times, but its effect is what’s really special. Instead of simply knocking enemies backwards – which is totally does – it also pixelizes them. As in, it literally turns their character models into pixelated versions that look like they’ve been ripped out of the old-school DOOM games. It’s a hilarious and creative weapon that feels right at home in the Ratchet & Clank universe and it was easily my favorite of the demo I played.
All of the platforming you’d expect is back in full-force, with plenty of quick thrills to keep you on your toes. Running, shooting, and jumping – the cornerstones of a Ratchet & Clank game – feel as good as ever, so I have full faith this will appeal to fans both old and new. I do have some minor reservations, however, since the demo I played was so short and little has been show in regards to what, if anything at all, this entry does to continue pushing the franchise forward. Perhaps it will be a purely old-school 3D platformer designed to be nothing more than a reboot for the new platform, but I’d hope Insomniac has a few more secrets up their sleeve.
Ratchet & Clank on PS4 is slated for a Spring 2016 release to coincide with the upcoming animated film – keep an eye on The Koalition for our thoughts on the game going forward! Are you a big Ratchet & Clank fan? What do you think of the new game? Sound off in the comments below!