Posted on September 5, 2012 AT 07:29pm
Ratchet and Clank are no strangers to the PS3, since the entire Future series has been released on this generation of consoles, but their humble origin on the PS2 is how they’ve garnered such a huge fan base. It seems to be a growing trend to bring the fan favorite franchises from the last era of consoles into the world of HD, so it was no surprise when the Ratchet & Clank Collection was announced. As with the other remakes (such as Sly Cooper or God of War), the game assets are updated to a higher resolution and thrown onto one Blu-ray disc. Rest assured, Ratchet made the transition smoothly! The environments look better than ever, and Ratchet and Clank are especially handsome.
If you’ve never played a single Ratchet & Clank game before, and you’re used to games that tell you how to do everything and hold your hand, then these platformers from the last decade might come as a shock to the system. Yes, the early levels can seem a bit too easy, and you’ll breeze right through them with few or no deaths. But suddenly, the checkpoints will become farther and farther apart. More and more enemies will appear in Ratchet’s path, and they’ll have bigger and better guns. The final bosses in each game have multiple parts that must be completed all at once, so if you fail you start the entire fight over again. As frustrating as that can be, it does add an additional feeling of accomplishment when the boss topples over defeated.
Speaking of accomplishments, achievement strumpets everywhere will be happy to note that each of the three games included in this collection have full trophy support now. Be warned though, that Insomniac is infamous for their skill point system (first demonstrated in the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy), and a lot of the trophies are simply skill points. This is not a game you pick up for a few easy trophies. On my initial playthrough of the first game, I managed to snag a grand total of five trophies, out of a possible thirty-five. Sure, it wasn’t the most thorough of playthroughs, but I completed most of the missions and collected most of the gadgets.
I did run into some frame rate issues on the first game. The majority of the levels were perfectly smooth, but there were some instances where the stuttering factored into my death. It only happened when there was a ridiculous amount of enemies in a room and all of them were firing some sort of weapon. By lobbing a few nukes into the room and running out, I was able to thin out the herd and get rid of the lag. More crippling, however, was the lag on the final boss. When his health is almost depleted, hundreds of little green rockets start flying around the screen, and the system just can’t handle that much weaponry!
However, the lag from the first game doesn’t seem to carry over into the other two. It seems the second and third games of the series are better equipped to handle massive amounts of firepower from the enemies, and they ran much more smoothly than the first. There was the occasional glitch, such as when a group of enemies suddenly appeared before me out of thin air, but those occurred so infrequently that it didn’t affect the game. If anything, it added to the comedic aura that Ratchet & Clank deliver so well. Other than that, I have no bugs to report. Besides, the games have only been upscaled to HD and converted to be 3D compatible. Any bugs that were in the original release will still be there.
The unique brand of humor that Insomniac delivers is still as wonderful as ever. Ratchet’s one-liners still cause me to giggle, and Captain Qwark’s qwarkiness is unmatched. The sheer ridiculousness of the situations Ratchet and Clank end up in is the main reason that this franchise is one of my favorites. If you’ve never played the series before, this collection makes it easier than ever to start. Only $30 for three of most popular titles released on the PS2 makes the decision to buy it a no-brainer. And if you’ve played these before, go buy it anyways and play them again. You owe it to yourself.
As a side note, the collection also comes with a code for a Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time demo. If you like Ratchet & Clank, chances are you’re a fan of that famous raccoon thief as well, so grab that download and try it out. It’s a very short section of a level, but after playing it I’m even more excited for the next Sly Cooper game to be released in February.
SUMMARY: Ratchet & Clank in HD looks great, plays great, and brings three of the most popular games from the PS2 onto the current generation of consoles. Go get it. Now.
- THE GOOD: Ratchet is even sexier in HD
- THE BAD: Lack of checkpoints can cause major headaches
- THE UGLY: Framerate issues in the first game can make some fights more challenging than they should be
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