Technically, the Ratchet & Clank game series was never really dead and gone. But this being the age of high-def reboots and resurrections, the furry Lombax and his stoic robo-sidekick still decided to get in line for a next-gen makeover.
It comes in the form of a well-integrated game and movie release that fit together like a hand in a bomb glove. In fact, this PS4 Ratchet & Clank game features seamlessly stitched-in story clips pulled right out of the movie itself, giving you the sense that you’re actually playing your way through movie moments that you didn’t see in the theater because of time constraints.
The game is also a spruced-up replay of the original PS2 Ratchet & Clank classic, telling the story of how a feline-like mechanic and a sentient robot meet and begin their friendship and their quest of righting wrongs and besting baddies … in their own crash-and-tumble way. The motivating tale behind that meeting is narrated by an imprisoned Captain Qwark, who is, of course, the extremely egotistical and muscle-flexing leader of a group of heroes called the Galactic Rangers. He’s not the biggest fan of a certain Lombax or his metal-man friend, but he has to give them their due. Plus, the guy has some groveling to do, too.
You see, the prideful Captain Qwark was led astray by a smarmy and über-greedy business tycoon named Chairman Drek. Drek is the sort who would use dimwitted Blarg troops and powerful weapons to destroy planets for his own selfish whims and, well, that’s exactly what he did. Only with Ratchet and Clank’s help can the day be ultimately saved.
Once you start playing, Ratchet & Clank is pretty much all about jumping around, solving environmental puzzles, gathering equipment and weapon upgrades, and shooting everything to smithereens. The heroes fly from planet to planet in quest-filled adventures that involve everything from finding “holocard” weapon schematics to gathering plant-monster brains for a local Blargian collector.
The abovementioned trigger pulling can, obviously, get a little violent at times as guns fire and bombs are tossed. The battles can be large and at times frantic with Ratchet and Clank clutching an arsenal of weapons—each best suited for a given type of enemy. Robot foes explode into piles of bolts, fireballs and lasers set things ablaze, and alien baddies disappear amidst green goopy splashes.
All of that said, though, the huge array of cartoony weapons and gadgets here are often designed to illicit giggles rather than gasps. The Pixelizer, for instance, is a shotgun-like device that hits opponents with green energy and converts them to a blocky 8-bit form. The Sheepinator turns a fearsome foe into a far less harmful wooly assailant. And the Groovitron blasts out such a funky beat that enemies can’t help but launch into a distracted dance frenzy.
That outrageous goofiness flows into the scripted side of things, too, which means the game’s abundant quips and jokes can sometimes be a little snarky. Uses of “sheesh,” “holy cow” and a mention of someone getting his “butt kicked” pop up.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.