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Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PlayStation 3) artwork

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PlayStation 3) review


"The hunt for more weapons is one of the things that should keep you busy playing A Crack in Time. There actually aren't all that many unique locations to explore, but taking the paths less traveled can take awhile and prove worthwhile because you never know when you might find some new modification for your weapons. The gear that you might find serves as a practical reason to travel to every last nook and cranny. With such an excellent array of weapons, you won't want to miss a thing."



Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is a good game. I had a lot of fun playing through it. If platformers are your thing, you'll probably have a similar experience. There are some neat levels, a good sense of humor throughout, a load of weapons that are fun to use and around 15 hours of compelling mayhem if you let yourself become absorbed by everything that the game has to offer. In short, it's a perfectly good next installment in a long-running franchise. Fans and newcomers alike should be delighted.

In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to say anything more than that. I'd wrap up the review and move onto something else. However, I can understand why you'd want me to back up some of the things I've just said. That's where I run into a bit of trouble. While I certainly enjoyed A Crack in Time, and while I'm confident that many others will, it's not the sort of game that sounds particularly fantastic on paper. It doesn't reinvent the wheel and it doesn't represent some fantastic evolution for the genre. It's just a good game.

The premise is simple: Ratchet and Clank, two heroes who have saved the galaxy numerous times throughout their years of adventuring, have recently become separated and are now looking to reunite as they battle the evil Dr. Nefarious and his mercenary partner, Lord Vorselon. If they don't succeed, their long-time nemesis may tear apart the very fabric of time and the universe could implode in the process. There's a lot more to this tale than just friends looking to join forces against evil, but I can't imagine newcomers much caring except to laugh at some of the jokes. They'll be more interested in the other things that the game does right.

Like its predecessors, A Crack in Time looks to stand out from its dwindling competition by featuring so many weapons that even Mega Man would turn green with envy (or at least Wood Man's leaf shield). The weapons rock for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that some of the equipment is flat out weird, like a rift inducer that summons a tentacled beast to slap your opponents from a portal that opens overhead. Another neat item is the Groovitron Glove that sets even your most powerful opponents to dancing, leaving you with valuable time to mount a powerful attack or to seek out more ammunition for a more useful bit of weaponry. It's also possible to lay fields that generate electrical charges, plus there are more typical options like pistols, bombs, metal blades and the like. Some of the main weapons can also be modified with more powerful ammunition, larger areas of damage and the like.

The hunt for more weapons is one of the things that should keep you busy playing A Crack in Time. There actually aren't all that many unique locations to explore, but taking the paths less traveled can take awhile and prove worthwhile because you never know when you might find some new modification for your weapons. The gear that you might find serves as a practical reason to travel to every last nook and cranny. With such an excellent array of weapons, you won't want to miss a thing. How very Steven Tyler of you!

Even if you're not into the weaponry, the stages should easily keep you entertained. Some of them have neat puzzles to solve along the way, like one stage where you have to avoid swarms of invincible insects as you creep through a treacherous cavern. Others give you lots of things to blast to bits, like one stage where you have to stop an Agorian invasion by first manning a turret and then running and gunning through a canyon filled by brutes. Every new location offers something new, whether that be the opportunity to grind along overgrown vines or to boost over a series of ramps with hover boots. These are all diversions that are very familiar, but they're executed here with enough polish that they're enjoyable all over again.

One of the problems that you could point to with A Crack in Time, the one I touched on near the beginning of this review, is its lack of meaningful innovation. There are people out there who feel as if they've wasted their time when a game doesn't provide something radically different from anything that they've ever experienced in the past. Unless they've somehow missed experiencing the classics, those folks are in for a disappointment in this case; the game doesn't seem to care about being anything more than the next great platformer. It even acknowledges its forerunners in subtle ways, such as an unlikely conversation with a plumber who scoffs at the absurd notion of leaping down pipes as he discusses the problems with time manipulation.

The other problem is that those who hate collecting goodies--even when there are excellent rewards--will probably feel like the game lacks in the content department. There are several planets to explore, but you can blow through them pretty quickly if you're not worried about unearthing every last gold bolt, Zoni, holo-plan and weapon mod. A slew of moons wait to provide additional challenges, but they're optional and don't actually contribute a thing to the main plot. Thus, you'll likely hear of many people clearing the game in well under 10 hours. They're missing half the experience, but does that really matter when the half that they're missing wouldn't have interested them in the first place?

Like I said at the start of this review, I had a lot of fun with Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. The game is an excellent reminder of the stuff that I enjoyed as a child, one that I can easily recommend to the nostalgic and even to new gamers who want to experience a good platformer without having to dust off retro consoles. Don't expect anything to blow your mind, but if you're looking for familiar fun you've come to the right place.

Rating: 8/10

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Staff review by Jason Venter (November 18, 2009)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

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