Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time Review

Score: 92 / 100
Good: Some of the best platforming on the PS3, satisfying collection elements, refines Ratchet & Clank formula to near perfection, beautiful graphics
Bad: Been there done that feel, humor is quite cheesy
Reviewed On: PS3

The Backdrop...

The final chapter in the Ratchet and Clank Future trilogy is upon us. The story picks up where the PSN exclusive “Quest For Booty” left off. Ratchet is searching for Clank and is willing to scour the universe to find his missing comrade. While Ratchet is off on his quest Clank awakens to find the Great Clock, a hub world that is host to numerous puzzles that Clank must solve. The storyline is surprisingly interesting and the writing is constantly funny, but we all know that the main draw in this series is the gameplay.

Let's Get Down to Gameplay...

“A Crack in Time” does not disappoint. The blend of third-person shooting, platforming, and collection elements that have made the Ratchet & Clank series famous has been refined to a point of near perfection. While it may not be the most innovative title in the franchise, it is easily the most polished.

The third-person shooting is as solid as ever and the vast array of weapons available is the most satisfying set the series has seen in quite awhile. While the standard set of weapons is what you'll find in most R&C games, the way they upgrade is better than previous entries. The weapons upgrade quickly so you always feel as if you are making progress.

The feeling of constant progress is also prevalent in the collection aspect of the game. With nearly every object you pick up, be it a lowly bolt or a hard to find Zoni, something is added that can be seen by the player in a tangible way so you do not feel as if you're collecting for the sake of collecting. The platforming, while good, is the weakest element of the game. This is not to say it's bad, it's just very average.

However two new additions to the franchise manage to spice things up and are what push “A Crack in Time” to greatness; hover boots and time puzzles. The hover boots are exactly what they sound like; hovering boots. They also allow Ratchet to skate along terrain, hover while jumping, and allow use of various platforms that enable access to new areas.

The time puzzles are a bit more complex. For a good part of the game Clank is stranded in the Great Clock and in order to advance to new areas must solve puzzle rooms. These involve recording images of Clank to press various buttons as Clank advances towards a door at the end of a room. The idea is simple, Clank can record up to four images of himself and must use these images to press various buttons in hopes of opening a door. While there aren't many of these puzzles, the few that are present manage to be challenging without ever becoming overly frustrating.

The Visuals...

“Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time” is beautiful. While it does not push the PS3 to new levels, the graphics are comparable to something you would find in a quality CG film. From the look of the various landscapes to Ratchet's hair, nearly every detail of the game shows an incredibly high level of polish that make “A Crack in Time” one of the best looking releases of the year.

Graphical detail isn't all the game has to offer though, the character design and art direction are also as great as always.

The Disappointments....

No matter how polished the game, it is mostly more of the same. If you aren't a fan of the Ratchet & Clank style of platforming, this game probably won't convert you over. The space traveling sequences, though improved over previous titles, still feel a bit tedious. The dialog and jokes also come off as very cheesy at times, though that is the usual flavor of humor in the series.

Overall...

It's Ratchet & Clank at its finest. This entry in the series manages to improve on every gameplay aspect of the series wile introducing new elements that enrich the experience. If you're a fan of Ratchet & Clank, this game is a no-brainer; It's everything you want. If you aren't a fan, or have gotten sick of the series over the years, you should probably check it out anyway if you ever feel like playing a platforming title.

- Michael Wafford

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