Ratchet & Clank (The early years)
Many moons ago, in the days of the PS2, there were a series of games that brought a smile to peoples’ faces. They were platform based, with lots of things to pickup, a selection of interesting weapons to play with and upgrade, and a large sumptuous world to explore…
Well, they’re back, and they’re looking to make your eyeballs happy with an HD buff and scrub.
Before the Chimera were laying waste to Earth in Resistance, those wonderful people over at Insomniac introduced us to the slightly odd-ball pairing of cat-like space mechanic, Ratchet, and the little robotic chap that was Clank. Throw a hefty array of amusing weaponry at Ratchet’s disposal and some natty little “modes” for Clank to use and you’ve got a pair of heroes that you can really get behind.
And get behind them you will, whether it’s helping them dispatch the alien Blargs in the first game, or bringing about the demise of Dr. Nefarious in the third. The cut-scenes and presentation reminds you slightly of those Saturday morning cartoons of old (am I showing my age here ?).
For anyone who’s played the originals, you know what the score is with the gameplay. But for those of you who haven’t played a Ratchet & Clank title before, the basics are as follows – you run around dispatching enemies, completing little “missions” and collecting large amounts of “Bolts” (the in-game currency) to allow you to upgrade your amusing array of weaponry. I defy anyone not to laugh at a gun that turns the enemy into sheep.
Interspersed with the usual levels as the series progressed, you’ll find things like hoverboard races and other mini-game style levels peppering your journey and providing an entertaining diversion from the main game, but never too much.
The levels themselves are split across different planets and each planet has a theme to it, pretty standard fare in platforming terms. But it’s the presentation and scale of the environments that always impressed in a Ratchet & Clank title.
As the series progresses, it builds on the initial foundation put down in the first game, and being presented with all three in one collection like this shows the progression. From the initially limited range of weapons in the first one, to the fully fledged armoury in the third and all the assorted gameplay elements in between. You have to remember that this is about 4 years worth of game development in one hit, and in my opinion it’s rather nice charting the progress of the dynamic duo in this fashion too.
The HD buff and scrub is the real reason we’re here though.
And what a job has been done. Weighing in at a glorious 1080p and with an inclusion of a Stereoscopic 3D mode as well (sadly I haven’t got a 3D TV so I couldn’t test this out), what you have is something that will rival quite a lot of recent HD releases. The characters and environments look amazing, if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was a recent release. In fact you’d be surprised how much of a difference this makes, from spotting things in the distance to just enjoying the world that you happen to be wandering around in, it all looks glorious.
There are a few stutterings during cut-scenes here and there, but nothing that I’d call game breaking, and if you’re in the groove of the game they don’t detract from the enjoyment at all. For those that are addicted to trophies they’ve added in trophy support for all three games, so you’ll have hours of fun adding some more bronze, silver and gold to your tally.
Considering all three of these classics are squeezed onto a single blu-ray disc, what you have is a bargain for any fan of action-platformers. Scratch that, a bargain for fans of great games fullstop. If you own a PS3 then this needs to be in your collection. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and collect some more bolts, my Qwack-O-Ray needs an upgrade!!