The original Gravity Rush (or Gravity Daze in Japan), a 2012 PS Vita game later released for PS4, was a pretty divisive game, even within the staff of this very site. Some chose to focus on the somewhat sub-par combat and plethora of loose ends left for a sequel that was not looking likely at the time. Others, like myself, chose to focus on the phenomenal environmental design, wonderfully endearing characters and spellbinding musical score that backed up the joy of falling with the game’s one-of-a-kind gravity mechanic to make it feel like a truly unique experience in a sea of games wider than ever.
Yep, we’re skipping over the PS3 games (for now anyway, it’s mainly because my ToD copy decided to freeze). Ladies and gentlemen after 2009 it became clear Insomniac Games were running out of ideas for their franchise. The game before this one had only 5 planets for god’s sake. Then they got a movie deal for a retelling of the plot of the first game. So obviously we need a game tie in. That’s where a re-imagining of the original Ratchet and Clank for the PS4 comes in.
Ratchet and Clank was released last week this April, with the US getting it a good deal earlier and Europe getting it earlier than us in Ireland. At the time I’m writing this I’ve yet to watch the film. The game was in concurrent development with Rainmaker Entertainment who are behind the film adaption. This lead to there being shared or at least touched character models, environments, animation and some writing between Insomniac and Rainmaker.
I was happy enough to see this kind of direction be taken, and if there was any game that needed fixing it was the first one. Retool the characters to be in line with their less asshole sides from the future games, add upgrade systems, some sexy visuals and new stuff…..instant sell for me. One thing that was odd was how it was a PS4 game being sold for 45 euro. I immediately thought back to the last game in the series which was sold for 30 euro for a reason. There were reassurances this was done to throw back to the original games’ price but I was still uneasy.
“The game, based on the movie, based on the game”
For the sake of this being a recent game/recent film I’ll not bother with a plot summary, especially since it’s just a revamped version of the first game’s plot with some new faces with the Galactic Rangers and Dr. Nefarious there for fanservice. The plot is what it is and that’s all I can really say. I feel I can’t discuss much for the plot here, especially since part of it as a whole is in the film. Fair Warning: This isnt going to be very long. Once again Ratchet can do everything he could from before so the new things are the things being talked about.
The aiming system is the same from Deadlocked and Into the Nexus, for some reason it was dropped after Deadlocked until the previous game. Also returning from Nexus and ToL is Raritanium. You can find it from hidden ores that you can break open or get it as a random drop from enemies and can use it to upgrade a weapon’s various stats like Range or Rate of Fire. This system, since its introduction in ToD, has always bothered me as it made leveling a weapon up only increase its power but its grown on me considerably although in my opinion getting Raritanium seemed a tad harder here from what I’ve played.
New to the series are Holo-Cards. These cards can be found in packs of 3 or from enemy drops. They all contain images and info on stuff from the series however when you complete a 3 card set you geta increased drop rate for more Bolts, Raritanium or Cards. Completing a Weapon Deck lets you buy its Omega version in Challenge Mode. There are also 9 RYNO cards in the game, find them all and you get this game’s RYNO (game breaker). The best part is you can get the RYNO right before the final two bosses in case things weren’t easy enough for you. I find the Cards to be a nice addition, especially for a fucking fanboy and collecting all of them is pathetically easy in Challenge Mode. Gold Bolts in this game aren’t just used for screwing around with cosmetic stuff and concept art, it’s now used for CHEATS. Want the game at a higher speed? Infinite Ammo? Invulnerability? Granted those last two can only be done right before the final boss but these things don’t turn off Playstation Trophies, they only turn off XP. This makes getting 100% in Challenge Mode a good deal easier and can help you scrubs nuke the final boss faster.
Now…for the downsides. There’s no Arena Battles. No Armor. This game takes a lot from earlier games but not those two for some reason. In fact out of the Weapons you can buy only TWO of them are unique to this game. They’re great weapons (the Pixelizer is fucking amazing) but c’mon only 2 new weapons? Really? In terms of this game being a reboot there is a lot of level design and structure taken from the original. While there is new additions around 70% of the game is better looking versions of the original areas. Speaking of which this game looks fucking fantastic, this game shows how well the PS4 can do more cartoonish environments spectacularly. However like the previous game it only runs at 30fps instead of 60fps. However I’m more okay with that choice here since Nexus LOVED to fall UNDER 30fps while this game has it more constant and uses motion blur as a cover up.
The game is longer than the incredibly short Nexus and Quest for Booty with about 12 planets. I ended up completing it within around 9 hours. In Challenge Mode, since you’re skipping all the cutscenes, you’ll end up with a pathetically short playtime for each run onwards. Speaking of cutscenes the uses both clips from the film and in-game cutscenes. It makes the game feel more like a tie -in game with these clips playing in between the gameplay segments, and the quality of cutscenes with NPC’s aren’t very good quality. The humor is more of what we’ve already seen, with good Ratchet wit….mainly from the cutscenes that are clips from the film. The in-game dialogue is probably the blandest in the series, especially outside story events but even those are a good deal on bland side. Voice acting is great stuff but I can’t stand the one’s for Cora and Victor Von Ion. No they don’t use Stallone for his game counterpart. Ratchet isn’t the jerkass he is in the first game obviously and impressively sounds a good deal younger in his voice acting. We have Captain Qwark narrating the game which is absolutely a great decision. Some of the things he says is obvious stuff although its played for laughs most of the times he does it.
Upon completing the game and getting all the Gold Bolts you can unlock the Insomniac Museum again which is a lot…shitter than its previous entries. It’s just fan service over cut content with some Japanese Ratchet and Clank stuff in there for good measure. At this point Insomniac could cut me a break with the fanservice, this isn’t exactly a series that forgets it’s a series. The soundtrack is decent, I find the first game’s soundtrack to be a lot better but there are some great tracks in here.
The game is great, but after all the games in the series I’ve played I wanted a lot more out of it than what I got and I feel there’s things missing besides the aforementioned lack of armor and arena challenges. Maybe I’m just sick of the series or disappointed for the wrong reasons but I can still recommend the game, it’s not difficult in any sense and has a immense amount of things going for it. It did what it set out to do I just would like a lot more than what was there but the great fun I had is fun I wanted from this series for at least nearly 3 years. I would say it makes me look forward to the film…that is until a bunch of not-good reviews of the thing started popping up since yesterday. Oh fucking well.