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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Action / Platformer

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Insomniac Studios

 

ESRB

 E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

October 27, 2009

 

 

- Great action

- Assortment of weaponry

- Clank's time puzzles really make you think

- Good sense of humor

- Ability to come and go to charted parts of the galaxy

 

 

- Forced upgrades for your ship are a pain

- Huge assortment of weapons but I used only a handful throughout the game

 

 

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty (PS3)

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PS2)

Review: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

 

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Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Coming into a game series -- or anything for that matter -- on the close of a series is a little like opening the book to the last chapter and trying to figure out what happened in the previous chapters and books. In this case, it's fortunate that Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time feels pretty much self-contained as a story, even though as I went through the game it nagged on me like I was missing something.

 

a crack in time          a crack in time

 

Fortunately, in the thick of the action, it was easy enough to forget all that and just have a fun time exploring, and shooting and smashing things, with the occasional puzzles thrown in for some extra challenge. For most of the game, Ratchet and

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Clank operate separately and in very different locations: Ratchet shooting his way through the galaxy (action) and Clank performing custodial duties in time (puzzles).

 

Ratchet's speed and action-heavy parts of the game are highlighted by some interesting environments and a roster of weapons that's

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too big for its own good. I found myself using only a handful of the weapons throughout the game resorting to lesser-used weapons only in the event I ran out of ammo.  All the weapons have personalities of their own but none moreso than Mr. Zurkon, a floating droid whose blood lust has no match. He also has some really great one-liners as he blasts opponents.  Mr. Zurkon was always floating at my side.

 

In response to the action, Clank's stages on heavy on brain-bending time puzzles where he works with recorded versions of his past self to activate switches in proper order to allow Clank to escape the room. Some of these are completely twisted and so complex that the game actually allows you to skip the puzzle if you've failed enough times. I'd love to say I never stooped to this level, but I did once because I had stopped having fun and was feeling frustrated.

 

a crack in time          a crack in time

 

Along that vein of frustration is the forced upgrading of Ratchet's ship.  He collects Zoni, basically space fairies, which somehow upgrade his ship through the course of the game. Some of them are along the main path of the game, but the majority of them need to be obtained by visiting smaller planetoids dotting each section of the galaxy that Ratchet can visit. I basically ignored this particular collect-o-thon. But then I hit a wall because I didn't have enough Zoni (i.e. didn't have the right upgrade) to reach the next level, which forced me to visit some planetoids.  Up until that point I didn't mind the design on these small spherical worlds -- they were interesting but optional -- but when forced to explore them, I started to resent them.


This being the "last" Ratchet & Clank game I half-expected either Clank or Ratchet to die (in slow-motion with violins playing in the background) but a happy ending was unavoidable.  Actually, killing them both off would have been much more climatic considering what is at stake in the game. Be that as it may, the strengths of A Crack in Time overcome its weaknesses and on the whole is a fun experience.


- Aaron Simmer

(November 13, 2009)

 

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