Review Context: I have played and beat every major Ratchet and Clank game and I consider A Crack In Time to be the best in the series right next to Up Your Arsenal for PS2. I am also a huge fan of other platformer and adventure games such as Jak and Daxter and Sly Cooper.
Date Playthrough Started: 1/1/14
Developer: Insomniac Games
Ratchet and Clank remains one of Sony’s most successful Playstation franchises. It was one of the first games to ever mix third person shooting and action platforming together to create a truly unique experience. Since then the formula has spawned several sequels and spinoff titles that continued to build upon the formula from the first game. While most of these games were excellent, the franchise has had it’s fair share of bad installments. The most controversial being two spinoff titles released after the third installment on the PS3 titled All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault which strayed far away from the series roots, and felt more like generic co op games . Responding to the criticisms about both titles Insomniac Games, the developers of the franchise announced a new Ratchet and Clank title a year later that was supposed to bring the series back to its roots. I along with many other fans were excited as well as relieved to hear they were bringing the franchise back to form. So, does Into the Nexus live up to the previous installments as promised?
Visually, the game looks good for a late PS3 title, but the cutscenes are a step down from the Pixar level of quality we got in A Crack in Time. I’m also not a fan of the childish art direction. Ratchets design for example makes him look younger than he did in the previous games, which is the exact opposite of how he should look considering this is a direct sequel to A Crack in Time. It feels more like I’m playing a game strictly designed for little kids rather than something made for all audiences like in previous titles.
The biggest drawback in presentation is the framerate. All previous Ratchet & Clank games(discounting the spinoff titles) ran at a solid 60 frames per second. This game can barely keep up a consistent 30 fps, and suffers massive framerate drops during large battles containing lots of enemies. Considering A Crack in Time was visually superior to this game and ran at 60 fps, there is no excuse for this game to drop below 30. So, overall, the presentation is pretty weak. There are a few noteworthy moments, specifically during the Grav Tether sequences, but they are few and far between.
If there’s one thing this game improves upon from the previous installments, it’s the wide variety of weapons. Every weapon in this game, from the Nightmare Box, to the Zurkon family is extremely useful and satisfying. In previous games I only stuck to two or three of my favorite weapons, but in this installment I found myself using all of them simply because they were so fun to mess around with. I also liked the fact that the game gives you most of the weapons early on, so I had more time to experiment with them.
Unfortunately, while the game improves upon the weapon variety, it takes several steps back in other areas. For starters the free roam space sequences from A Crack in Time are absent in this game, and other features like the hover boots can only be accessed in pre designated areas, when in previous games they could be accessed anywhere. Inconveniences like this just make this game feel unnecessarily limited compared to it’s predecessor. It doesn’t help that the campaign is extremely short, clocking in at about 5 hours. There are some side activities, but even those won’t take too long complete.
Overall Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus is a decent game. It just doesn’t live up to previous titles in the franchise. The presentation is weaker, certain gameplay features are limited or completely removed altogether, and the campaign is extremely short. As mentioned earlier, there are still a few noteworthy moments specifically in the weapon variety and anti gravity sequences that are highly enjoyable and make the the overall experience worth it.