Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty Review

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Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty Publisher: Sony
Developer: Insomniac Games

Platform: PlayStation 3
Reviewed on PlayStation 3

Ratchet, a lonely lombax stuck in a perpetual state of saving the universe, recently saw his best friend (and best robot) Clank, abducted by transdimensional beings known as the Zoni. To locate and rescue Clank, Ratchet will have to reconstruct a transdimensional telescope constructed by a deceased pirate, without running afoul of his robotic pirate nemeses.

Kyle Ackerman

In Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty, the hallmark humor of the Ratchet & Clank games remains top-notch, and the platforming is still rock-solid, but Ratchet & Clank just doesn't work as a short-form game, because the overwhelming cascade of upgradable gadgets and collectibles that make most Ratchet & Clank games worth playing over and over for dozens of hours are missing. By doling out weapons when the game feels like it, and by making bolt collecting almost irrelevant (because there's little to spend them on), Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty loses a huge chunk of what draws me to Ratchet & Clank games. It's still fun – and funny – but a game that's less than one-quarter the length of a typical Ratchet & Clank outing is much less than one-quarter the fun.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty extends the events of Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, pulling the engine from Ratchet and Clank's first outing on the PlayStation 3 into an mini-adventure that looks like a test of the Ratchet & Clank franchise in an episodic format. Ratchet is in pursuit of Clank (who was abducted by the Zoni), so the imperturbable robot Clank barely makes an appearance.

In Quest for Booty, Ratchet visits a few maps with many of the elements familiar to Ratchet & Clank fans, and runs through each map, platforming and solving simple puzzles interspersed with boss battles. Thanks to the short duration of the game, there aren't as many gadgets to search for, few different enemies, and even fights (like a beach invasion by pirates and the final boss battle) can get very repetitive. Bolts are only barely used, and weapons are doled out rather than being part of an almost role-playing-game-like upgrade progression.

There are some new game dynamics – the ubiquitous wrench now has a "kinetic tether" that can be used to pull or manipulate certain objects at a distance. Slightly cooler is the fact that the wrench can now be used to pick up (and throw) items like volcanic bombs and tiny creatures that emit light. Unfortunately, Quest for Booty really emphasizes how important the epic scale, vast range of upgradable gadgets and wild weapon progressions are in Ratchet & Clank games. Without them, it feels like a more generic platformer with a veneer of Ratchet. It's also irritating that the manual is only available on a web page loaded by the game, and it's not even formatted to fit the screen properly.

It was worth playing Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty to get a little more of Insomniac's humor, particularly the absurd robotic pirate duo of Cap'n Slag and his first mate, Rusty Pete, but Ratchet & Clank just doesn't work as well in episodic form. I hope Insomniac can return to its tried-and-true formula soon, complementing the clever humor and platforming action with a full-length game ripe for exploration and filled to the brim with gadgets and wild weapons.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on August 24, 2008 12:44 AM.

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