Nostalgic Joy

2016‘s Ratchet and Clank marks the first time one of the major mascots of PlayStation graces the PlayStation 4, and Insomniac Games’ effort in remaking the original to utilise the PlayStation 4’s power and capabilities is clearly evident. While I only played a small segment of the game, I was absolutely overwhelmed with nostalgia and a great sense of fun.

I played through two levels in Ratchet and Clank, both were shown at this year’s E3, with complete walkthroughs available to watch here.

The first level I played pitted me against one of the bosses in the game. What was striking as soon as I booted up the demo was how incredibly detailed and beautiful the game is. It’s evident that Insomniac have put a lot of love and care into remaking one of PlayStation’s most prominent and influential titles, with every minute detail having love and care put into it.

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Throughout the level I experimented with all of the weapons available, of which the most enjoyable were the Groovitron and the Pixelizor — as the former would, upon firing, have enemies stop whatever they were doing and just go into a fit of uncontrollable dancing. This was even evident when I used the weapon against the boss, who was immediately intimidating in size, but certainly not intimidating when he started busting out dance moves. The Pixelizor was another interesting and hilarious weapon to use, as it shoots out pixel-filled rounds that pixelates targets when they’re hit. These two weapons especially add to the already wonderful roster of quirky weapons available in Ratchet and Clank and gave a real sense of fun and entertainment, even during such a tense and close boss battle.

If you’ve played Ratchet and Clank before, the controls will almost immediately gel with you upon picking up the controller and walking around. The game controls very well, and still remains as one of the most enjoyable third person platformers around. I didn’t particularly notice any real utilisation of the DualShock 4’s features, which is disappointing in its own sense but is rectified by the fact that Ratchet’s controls really don’t require anything in the way of gimmicky new additions. It’s a straight out platformer for the most part, and that’s where it works best.

The second level I played was classic Ratchet and Clank — it was all about exploring areas, taking out enemies, and traversing the environment (while smashing as many boxes as possible). The goal of this level was to more-or-less get from Point A to Point B, and as Ratchet’s story is fairly open I could just focus on enjoying myself and not worrying about what’s happening with Clank and the gang. Traversal is still really enjoyable and the game, as mentioned above, controls brilliantly well, so besides the fact I fell off the edge of a train I’d boarded a couple of times, I didn’t have many problems navigating my way around the level.

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This level in particular showcased how great a job Insomniac have done in reworking Ratchet and Clank on the PlayStation 4. As the train made its way through multiple areas, I couldn’t help but just stop and take in the scenery. Those who have played through the original title will no doubt recognise some locations, and it’s a sense of nostalgia and glee that really takes hold during these moments.

Another striking change in Ratchet and Clank is the improvement in the sound design – everything seems to have a distinct pop to it, and while the visuals are certainly excellent in their own right, hearing Ratchet and Clank’s banter is still one of the best parts about the game. Not to mention how instinctively satisfying the box-breaking sound is.

Insomniac Games have a proven track record when it comes to really bringing the best out of Ratchet and Clank, and it’s clear that the PlayStation 4 reimagining of one of the best PlayStation 2 titles is shaping up very nicely. Ratchet and Clank has never looked better, and the game certainly has my attention as we move into 2016.

This preview was conducted at the PlayStation booth at the 2015 EB Games Expo. Ratchet and Clank is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 in early 2016.