Ratchet & Clank is back once again for possibly their final outing on the PlayStation 3, with a bite-sized adventure, Into the Nexus, which serves as an epilogue to the Ratchet & Clank Future saga. It’s terrible shame though, that the game arrived pretty inconspicuously, living in the shadow of the next-gen console hype, and with almost non-existent fanfare. Despite that, the game was a wonderful return to its traditional roots which Creative Director Brian Allgeier stated he wanted to “make Ratchet feel like Ratchet again”.
The Story so far, and then some
The game premise is simple enough, our dynamic duo are on an escort mission to bring the evil space witch Vendra Prog back to jail. Things go haywire when her equally malicious brother Neftin Prog leads a legion of mercenaries to attack the ship carrying her. The wicked siblings are hell-bent on releasing Nether creatures from the Netherverse into the Galaxy to cause catastrophic destruction. The grave responsibility of saving the galaxy then rests on Ratchet and Clank, who have to traverse planets to look for new weapons and gadgets to thwart the Progs’ attempt.
Like previous games in the series, Into the Nexus still does a wonderful job of giving you a gratifying sense of accomplishment, with weapon, armour and gadget unlocks/level ups that fuels the game completist in you. The level designs are impressive as always, and constantly kept me entertained, and the variety of environments across the different planets are vibrant as always. It did however fall short on the final level though, which came up pretty abruptly, and felt rushed, just so that it could get released before PS4’s release.
Fave Weapon: Mr. Zurkon & Family
As with all Ratchet & Clank games, it’s the ensemble of weapons and gadgets that makes it stand out from the traditional platform game formula. My personal favourite weapon is a small, ever-so-useful hovering synthenoid named Mr. Zurkon, who comes to aid Ratchet in battle by shooting at enemies with a mounted laser blaster. This time round, when upgraded, Mr. Zurkon brings his family to join in the fray. At level 2 upgrade, Jr. joins in, and at level 3 upgrade, Mrs. Zurkon joins in, forming quite a deadly trio.
Silver Screen Outing
Through the years with Ratchet and Clank, I’ve always been thoroughly entertained by the animated cutscenes peppered throughout the games, and wondered why the developers never made a movie out of all that wonderful content. I was pleasantly surprised to discover (upon launching the game) Ratchet & Clank’s first movie outing will be hitting cinemas in early 2015, and here’s the teaser trailer for it (looks promising, and this would most likely hint at an all-new game to hit the PS4 in 2015 too!):
To further extend the gameplay experience, the developers even whipped up a R&C free mobile app for iOS and Android. Aptly named, Ratchet & Clank: Before the Nexus, the game brings the excitement of infinite running to R&C. You can hop between grindrails while avoiding hazards to collect bolts which can be used to upgrade your weapons and armour. Better yet, you can even score Raritanium which you can sync with your PSN account and use to upgrade your weapons in the main game on PS3! Pity the app seems to be made available only on the US AppStore and Google Play though. Doesn’t look like there will be plans for a worldwide release. 🙁
Final R&C Swansong for the PS3
Being labelled as a “traditional” Ratchet & Clank experience, the game is longer than Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty, but shorter than Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, clocking in at anywhere between 5 – 10 hours. Though many find it way too short for a full retail title, I find it just the right length, since its budget priced, and even includes Quest for Booty to sweeten the deal. However, as mentioned earlier, having it release within the same window as the PlayStation 4 console’s release, the game is drowned in all the hype around next-gen games, and for some reason, the game is starting to show its age in terms of visuals (or maybe its just me?). All in all, its still a great swansong for the Ratchet & Clank series on the PS3, and leaves me wondering what greatness will await the duo on the PS4 in the near future.