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?
So the original vs the remake. An age old question or a quick one depending on what your talking about...
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. 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.
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!