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Kickin' Assteroids, One planet at a time
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About the Game
No Spoilers
Let’s tell you a story. It all started when I was 10 years old. I was cleaning my room and I happened to stumble upon an old demo disc that I got with my PS2. I had a look through this demo disc out of curiosity, and quickly found a demo for Ratchet & Clank.

So I give it a go. You know sometimes you strike gold with demo’s? Well that was my experience with Ratchet & Clank. After playing through Metropolis, from the get go it had a great vibe to it. It impressed me so much I purchased the game not long after, because it was and is excellent!
Quote The gameplay for R&C was unlike anything I had played. I don't like violent video games, so shooters are a no-go. So to like this game, which is in part a shooter, I was a little surprised. A kid-friendly shooter, with easy to use controls and uses a third person camera (I can't stand the first person view!)

As mentioned about ten seconds ago (you aren't reading this with your eyes closed are you?) R&C is in part a shooter, which means it has quite a few weapons, which are purchased from vendor machines scattered across the galaxy. While the weapons don't have regular upgrades like the future games, the designs are still classic. They are all instantly recognisable, with the blue Blaster, the red Pyrocitor (it's also cool how that activates, so cartoony), the green Devastator and more.

This is all fine and dandy, but do they work gameplay wise? Yes is the answer to that question. To help with the more numerous and tougher enemies, you get more powerful weapons to help you out. They handle perfectly and they won't be any cases of: “I aimed it over but you fired in a different place you stupid thing!?!” They all have there different uses in combat. The Blaster is your standard gun. The Pyrocitor is a flame-thrower and the Devastator is a rocket launcher. But don't worry, this is still a kids game - everything is very cartoony!

Combat maybe fun, but it was only half the reason why the game drew my interest in the first place. Ratchet & Clank also has lots of platforming segments. These are just as fun as the weapon gameplay. It's no wonder Ratchet & Clank get compared to the other PS2 heroes: Jak and Daxter and Sly Cooper, with fun gameplay like this.

Even after playing all the games in the series, the original game is still fun. Before Ratchet & Clank came along, weapon gameplay and platforming were usually separated. This one of the first major titles to bring the “adult” world of combat and the child's world of platforming together into a game that any age or skill level can enjoy. The game has the right mix of platforming, exploring and combat, and keeps things mixed up, never becoming a chore.
[R&C]Let's play spot the Superman. First person to spot him wins the key to the city.
It's not just weapons in Ratchet & Clank, there are also gadgets. They are easy to use also, and pretty useful as you encounter more planets around the galaxy. Gadgets you collect are a jet-pack upgrade for Clank, a swingshot for Ratchet, an O2 mask for breathing underwater and grind boots, just to name a few. You sometimes have to work hard for some of these, as they are useful for the rest of the game.

While you spend the majority of your time playing as Ratchet, some areas just inaccessible for him. In these instances, his buddy Clank gets a piece of the action and goes exploring. Clank’s sections are standard platforming segments… until you meet his metal buddies where things are a little different. These little robots respond to Clank's commands. He can make them follow, wait, enter teleports and attack enemies, making Clank quite powerful for such a little guy. It's a nice change from playing as Ratchet and adds more platforming back into the Ratchet & Clank experience.

While the gameplay is excellent, it's not just the gameplay that is good… Ratchet takes a leaf from Sly Cooper's book and has a good story. It does have plot twists, and doesn't tell the player everything straight away. The player usually learns things either just before or at the same time as our heroes. It's a refreshing change since platformers don't normally have much story.

The humour, the quality of voice acting and dialogue make the cutscenes good to watch. The two main lead characters are interesting, as Ratchet starts off as just an ordinary guy, but give him a wrench and gadgets and he will always do the right thing. Clank is the know-it-all, and the two characters bicker throughout their adventure. It keeps the player on edge – will they still be friends when their journey is over?

You heard me mention planets quite a lot, and that's because instead of visiting different areas or locations, each level has R&C visiting a different planet. These planets are look really great and vary quite a lot by design. One minute you will be in polluted swamps, next exploring space stations and then volcanoes. It's nice to see the developers have clearly put lots of thought into each planet, as they avoid the typical level themes (Snow, fire, forests etc) which sometimes plague the genre. What you can hear is also great, with the music by David Bergeaud fitting with the worlds well and bringing them to life even more.

Closing Thoughts
Classic Classic
Ratchet & Clank has enough platforming sections to keep the platforming fans happy, and enough combat sections to keep their respective crowd happy too. I would describe Ratchet & Clank as a kid-friendly shooter platformer. It was so successful, that it spawned over 10 sequels, HD remasters, an appearance in Playstation Move Heroes and All-Stars Battle Royale. It also has a movie with a re-imagining of this very game too. So, there's only one thing for it...

...Lets go kick some butt!

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman After you beat the main story, some games offer an alternative ending if you collect everything, others unlock a new level. R&C has an option to start the game with all your upgrades and weapons you have collected, with tougher difficulty. It's one of the best ways I've come across to increase the lifespan of a game, as you will want to replay the story again!
Elephant In the Room
elephantLike the original Crash Bandicoot, there is nothing wrong with Ratchet & Clank at the time. But coming back to play it after playing the sequels is hard work at times. This is due to the slightly loose controls and with no proper drafting when in combat, among with other niggles. So bare that in mind, especially if you play the 2016 remake.
Major Spoilers
[2002 vs 2016]So the original vs the remake. An age old question or a quick one depending on what your talking about...
When a re-imagining of the first Ratchet & Clank game was first announced, I was undecided on the news. I think the first game, with A Crack in Time a close second, is still the best of the series. (Despite all the advancements and improvements in the sequels) So how will an updated version fare?

Let’s cut to the chase: it’s a lot better than I originally thought. The 2016 version is one of the best Ratchet & Clank games of the series. It's got the charm of the original game, the planets and most of the story, with some of the best graphics on the PS4 I have ever played. I also love the new collectable cards – gotta collect ‘em all!

BUT, and it's a big butt, erm but, for me it doesn't quite match the original game. So in the spirit of re-imagining things, here is three reasons why the original game is better than the 2016 sequel/remake/reboot/remaster/movie/game tie-in.
Reason 1: Wanted! Planets missing
In the original, there were 18 planets to explore, making the first R&C a massive game. While most aren't as big as later games, it make up for it in numbers. The 2016 game in comparison has 14 planets. While most of the original locations are included, there are a few that didn't make the cut.

So which planets? Here’s a list:
> Planet Eudora (Logging Site) – the one with the logging equipment and large robots
> Umbris (Qwark's HQ) – the one that Captain Qwark sends you on a training mission
> Orxon (Kogor Refinery) – the one with lots of pollution and dangerous creatures
> Hoven (Bomb Factory) – the one with all that snow
> Oltanis Orbit (Gemlik Base) – the one with the space station and lots of gunners.
> Oltanis (Gorda City Ruins) – the one which Ratchet explored the stormy planet without clank

While the Logging site, Bomb Factory and the Gemlik Base were no great loss, the others I did miss. Qwark's HQ would of worked with the movie's story, of Ratchet getting recruited by the Galactic Rangers. Gorda City Ruins was quite different to the other planets, as with some generally tough platforming moments and tricky combat, it offered something different. Especially when you didn’t have Clank with you.

I was astounded that the Ogor Refinery on planet Orxon didn't make the cut. We hear Chairman Drek talking about rebuilding the planet because theirs has become over-populated and too polluted to be inhabited. We we never get to explore the planet in the 2016 version, and all we see is a few images from one of the cutscenes. Imagine what a re-imagining of the level would be like...
[The Missing Planets]The missing planets. Shame they weren't included in the 2016 version.
Reason 2: New Characters Don't Do Much
Insomniac Games must have been a little frustrated when they first started developing this version of a classic game. Along with being based on the original Ratchet & Clank, it must also tie-in to the latest movie. Quite a feat, which they almost pulled off.. apart from one little problem.

While I can understand that they don't want to spoil too much from the film, as fans will want to play the game and watch the movie. The new characters that are created for the new film aren't very well used. Whereas series regulars Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark get lots of game time, the new characters such as Grimroth, Cora, Elaris and Brax, only get a little introduction and that's about it. We don't get to know much about them, which is confusing if you haven't seen the film (like me).
Reason 3: Captain Quark is Underused
When this game was initially announced, it was unclear how the game would keep the series continuity while exploring the same events we have already explored in the original Ratchet & Clank.

The answer to this was a stroke of genius. The whole story involves Captain Qwark retelling the events from his prospective. We have him narrating over the gameplay, which is quite funny at first. But after a couple of worlds, his narration is next to non existent, with him only narrating when the player needs help.

It's quite a different way to explain things to the player, but it would be even better if we heard more opinions about the events in the game, along with interruptions from the guy he is telling the story too. I also think the big plot twist moment was very underwhelming, which I reckon was better done in the original.

Closing Thoughts
Ratchet & Clank (2016) does have its flaws when you compare it to the original. But IT does an awful lot things really well. The gameplay is the best and smoothest it's been since A Crack in Time. The worlds have been beautifully redesigned and the new worlds are great.

It's a shame as with some tweaks and the inclusion of those missing planets, it could of been the best in the series. As it stands, for me personally it doesn't beat the original game or A Crack In Time, but considering there has been 13 games in the series, that's nothing to scoff at! I can't wait to see what direction they now go in: will they re-imagine any of the sequels or create an entirely new game? Whichever route they go down, it will be a blast!