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

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


"Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time is the third Ratchet and Clank game produced for the Playstation 3, and also the conclusion to the Future storyline. It boasts almost Pixar-esque quality graphics combined with the same styled gameplay that the franchise has been built on. It is definitely worth playing, but doesn't do a whole lot to differentiate itself from the other Ratchet and Clank games. The charm from previous games returns and the witty and clever dialogue will have you laughing ..."



Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time is the third Ratchet and Clank game produced for the Playstation 3, and also the conclusion to the Future storyline. It boasts almost Pixar-esque quality graphics combined with the same styled gameplay that the franchise has been built on. It is definitely worth playing, but doesn't do a whole lot to differentiate itself from the other Ratchet and Clank games. The charm from previous games returns and the witty and clever dialogue will have you laughing throughout parts of the game, but less frequently than previous installments.

Graphics:

Every level in A Crack in Time will leave you wondering if the previous cutscene is still going on. Between the pre-rendered cutscenes and the gameplay, it is very difficult to find many differences between the two. Levels are varied, taking you toward many different planets in the universe. Each planet has a unique feel and style to it, ranging from lush green jungles to deep canyons. You actually feel that the planets are alive, with the darkest corner being as detailed as the middle of the level.

A Crack in Time allows you to incorporate 18 distinct weapons into your arsenal. Each weapon has a different attacking style, ranging from a sonic boom, to shooting saw blades. The “Constructo” weapons allow for a certain degree of customization, meaning you can change the colors and extra effects of the weapon. They are all of matchless design and upon acquiring each one, a small and usually comical cutscene follows suit. The cutscenes show how smooth each character is, zooming in quite far while showing almost no jagged edges.

During the massive battles that A Crack in Time plays through, the graphics never take a toll. The game has a locked framerate, and plays smoothly no matter how much destruction is going on the screen. The shots from each gun are noticeable and explosions look as good as ever. This is really impressive when you consider that you will never be hampered by mistimed jumps due to the framerate being inconsistent.

Gameplay:

The gameplay in A Crack in Time is split up into two sections right up until the end of the game. On one side, you control Ratchet, in a Third-Person Shooter mixed in with platforming elements. This is the tried and true gameplay from previous Ratchet and Clank games, and does it just as well as it always has. After each mission you have played with Ratchet, you get to control Clank, who has gained time manipulation powers, and actually has more true platforming sections than Ratchet does. There are also some puzzles involving time manipulation, where you must move Clank and various recordings of him over a series of switches to get through a door at the end of the room. There is also a spaceship based travel system, which contains several side-missions that you can complete in order to gain extra Zoni, Gold Bolts, Rhyno plans or Constructo modifications.

In order to purchase additional weapons, you need to earn some bolts. Bolts are earned from defeating enemies, winning tournaments, solving puzzles or smashing crates. You are really never at a need for bolts, and usually end up with more than enough, assuming you smash every crate you see. As introduced in the first Future game, Zoni make a large appearance, being collectible items that you find while traversing the expansive levels. Gold Bolts also make a return, being hidden in largely uninspired spots, while some are a challenge to find. Rhyno plans are also scattered around the levels, and after finding them all, Ratchet receives a new weapon that is always considered the best gun in the game.

While the Clank gameplay was experimental, the Ratchet gameplay is really not, with gameplay mostly revolving around strafing side to side while holding down the “shoot” button. Ratchet will travel from planet to planet, making his way through the usually circular levels, in order to acquire something that will lead him in the direction of the next planet. The weapons are nicely varied, and it feels really rewarding each time would incapacitate and enemy with them. Each weapon can be upgraded up to level 5, where it will change in name and become more powerful. While leveling, certain aspects will be improved until the final level 5 weapon. When entering challenge mode, weapons can be re-purchased as Omega weapons, and can be further upgraded to level 10.

A slightly new feature to Ratchet's gameplay is the addition of Hoverboots. The Hoverboots allow you to travel faster while on land, and also give you a replacement to Clank's hovering that is absent from the greater part of the game. There are a couple Hoverboot races scattered throughout the game, and serve their purpose in breaking up the constant strafing by making you zoom through courses at a high velocity in comparison to your typical running speed.

Another way Insomniac breaks up the typical Ratchet and Clank gameplay is the Clank platforming and puzzle sections. These sections have you using Clank's new time bending powers in order to maintain The Great Clock, and keeping the universe in order. The time spent in The Great Clock is broken into three main sections. The first part is the navigation around the Great Clock. The second section is the timed puzzles where you must move recording of Clank onto buttons, opening up different section of the puzzle, to get to the finale that will have you walking through a door at the end of the room. The final section is a mini-game that has Clank fixing time issues on the planets that Ratchet ends up visiting.

While navigating The Great Clock, Clank controls much like Ratchet. He gets three mid-air jumps, and is finally given a weapon, named the Chronoscepter. The Chronoscepter can fix parts of The Great Clock, giving you a small bolt reward. It can also be used to hit enemies, and deflect ranged attacks. Certain platforms will shoot at you, and in order to be allowed to land on them, you must deflect their lasers back at them. Enemies are not really varied in the Great Clock, with there only being two common enemies that you will encounter.

The time puzzles are the real meat of the Clank gameplay. They involve making holograms of Clank, going around pressing buttons in order to open the door at the end of the hall. These challenges start of rather simple, but end up actually being quite challenging, especially for a Ratchet and Clank game. The most difficult puzzles are the ones after completing the game and foregoing Challenge mode in order to find all of the collectables. There are a few Gold Bolts hidden in the Great Clock, and they are only obtainable after completing some controller-throwing difficult puzzles. During the story mode, you are allowed to skip the main time puzzles, but forfeit your reward for completing them, usually a large sum of bolts.

The final stage of Clank gameplay is the time repair mini-game that you are forced to play through. In order to do this, you must fire a laser at the multiple rifts that appear on the planet you are facing at the time. To repair them, you hold down the “shoot” button, and move the cursor over all of them. The rifts are color coded, with the darker rifts taking longer to fix, and after becoming too dark, they will split into multiple rifts. This mini-game can be frustrating, but can also be really simple if you plan it out and make sure to hit the multiple power ups that are available.

After clearing out a planet, Ratchet gets to hop into his spaceship and fly around the galaxy. There are many smaller moons that have a distinct theme to them. These planets either have a Gold Bolt, Zoni, Rhyno plan or Constructo modification as well as being quite a bit more linear than the large planets. These moons are broken into two styles. The first type consists of killing a certain amount of a type of enemy, while the other approach allows for more platforming. The moons are quite a bit of fun, but get boring near the end of the game, as the themes begin to overlap and you start seeing the same things over and over again. The space combat has also been changed, as you now get to move in a 3D plain as opposed to being stuck directly behind the enemy.

Story:

The story of A Crack in Time is very simple to understand and consists mainly of Clank getting captured, and Ratchet trying to rescue him. The other underlying theme has a couple different characters wanting to use The Great Clock for their own uses. The story is presented really well, and there is almost no way to get lost. That is a good point, but the story is not really “epic”, and is more there just to take Ratchet around different environments.

Sound:

The voice acting in A Crack in Time is quite well done. Each character's voice fits, and the writing is top-notch as per usual. The voice acting draws you in to the cutscenes, and helps you understand what has happened. Each enemy has a unique sound, and they all make a nice sound when they get beaten. Each gun also has a one of its kind sound, feeling very satisfying each time they are shot. The background music helps bring the levels alive, and really help to immerse you in the game world.

Play Time:

For the first playthrough of A Crack in Time, you'll probably be quite surprised at how long the campaign is. It takes around 10-15 hours to finish, and you'll be thinking that the ending is coming after 8-10 hours. With that said, the game doesn't drag on, but makes you think about how long the game is. After completing the story mode once, you are allowed to enter challenge mode, where you can purchase even stronger weapons, and collect even more bolts.

Replay Value:

After completing A Crack in Time, you are allowed to either go back in time before the final boss fight and gather all the collectables that you may have missed, or enter challenge mode. It will probably take you another two hours to collect everything, you have missed. After doing that and beating a secret boss fight, you can enter challenge mode. Challenge mode will probably take around 5-7 more hours, and still is a lot of fun. You get a bolt multiplier, where the longer you go without taking damage, the higher the multiplier will go. You also get to level up Omega versions of each weapon to level 10. In terms of trophies, unless you begin the game on the hardest setting, you will need to playthrough again on hard to get that trophy. There is another mini-game name “My Blaster Runs Hot”, which is quite challenging when playing alone.

Pros and Cons:

+ The almost Pixar quality graphics
+ Tried and true Ratchet gameplay
+ Clank time puzzles for being really challenging

- Somewhat poor story
- Clank's time-rift fixing mini-game.

Recommendation:

Having previously played Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, A Crack in Time is a game that is an improvement, if only a marginal one. That being said, Tools of Destruction was quite good, and with any improvement on it, you have a great game. The story is 10-15 hours of pure fun, and the story while a little dull is presented in a humorous manner that will keep you wanting more. The Ratchet gameplay has very little innovation, but if it isn't broken, there isn't really any reason to change it. The Clank gameplay takes risks, and for the most part they pay off, with the time puzzles being very rewarding, assuming your controller hasn't been lodged in you television.

Rating: 8/10

marter's avatar
Community review by marter (March 21, 2010)

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