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Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PlayStation 3) artwork

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PlayStation 3) review

"Over the past two generations of consoles, not many franchises have shone brighter than Ratchet and Clank. Insomniac used a seemingly flawless formula of bad-ass guns, huge explosions and stellar platforming to entrench the series among the industry's finest. "

Over the past two generations of consoles, not many franchises have shone brighter than Ratchet and Clank. Insomniac used a seemingly flawless formula of bad-ass guns, huge explosions and stellar platforming to entrench the series among the industry's finest.

After Emperor Tachyon and his troops declare war on Ratchet for being the last known Lombax in the universe, he and Clank begin a journey skipping from planet to planet in an attempt to unearth the mystery surrounding Tachyon and an item that holds the power to ruin the universe--the Dimensionator.

As always, Ratchet carries his trusty wrench with him to begin the quest, but as he delves deeper into the story, more ornate and flashy guns are at his disposal. And this is where Tools of Destruction--and any other Ratchet and Clank game before it--excels. Insomniac has proven time and time again that huge guns and huge explosions equal a riot. And that's what Tools of Destruction is. An absolute riot. There are passive weapons like the Tornado Launcher, which allow Ratchet to throw down a gust of wind that swoops up enemies and loot alike in its baleful gusts. And there are up-close-and-personal weapons like the Pyro Blaster and an assortment of rocket projectiles. The list is pretty much endless. The amount of different ways that Ratchet can approach a battle borders on absurd, thanks to the innate creativity that Tools of Destruction allows. If the weapons themselves aren't impressive enough as is, Ratchet can upgrade them both by spending currency (bolts and raritanium) and simply using them frequently enough. By the time a weapon is fully maxed out, its capabilities are frightening and devastating; an utter sight to behold.

It's a nice thing that Ratchet has such a vast expanse of weapons at his disposal, because the enemies that are thrust at him are high in number and relentless. So relentless, even, that Insomniac actually decided to add one more aspect to the gameplay, what they like to call devices. Devices help swing the battle in Ratchet's favor, even when the odds are grim. The Groovitron, a disco ball that plays music and causes the enemies to dance rather than attack, is merely one way that these are used. There are health leeches, bodyguards and multiple other devices that prove incalculably useful when the time is right.

In between large scale battles, the story unfolds with great voice acting and witty dialogue amongst the game's host of characters. Clank's numerous quips break the tension when Ratchet takes it all too seriously. And therein lies the beauty that is Tools of Destruction. It never takes itself too seriously. It knows when to move forward and get gamers going, and it knows when the need for unadulterated action is all that's important. This is one of those rare games that gives you no reason to stop playing for the day. Its pacing is tremendous. Just when Ratchet has blown up, spit out and beat down more baddies than he can count, it moves on to a spaceship scene that perfectly breaks what could be monotony. Or, it will be a level where only Clank is under your control, which is a totally different style of gameplay in and of itself. Hell, even the small system-hacking minigame is ambitious enough that, if fleshed out properly, could possibly be a game all by itself.

And somehow, after all of the positive things Tools of Destruction offers in the gameplay department, it rears back and delivers just as emphatically with its visuals. It's hard to tell whether you're watching a mega blockbuster film or a video game cutscene. The characters are fleshed out with noticeable care. Individual hairs can be seen on Ratchet, the huge bosses have daunting clarity, and the particles effects are nothing short of brilliant. The varied environments that Ratchet traverses bode well for a diverse and glorified treat for the eyes. The backgrounds never get old because of the constant switch in terrain and territory.

In lieu of a better way to explain it, Tools of Destruction is awesome. It seems as though Insomniac knew exactly what response every one of their moves would make on the player. When the action is banal, it ramps up as if on cue. When the weapons you have begin to get tiresome, a new and filthy one rears its head, ripe for the using. And right when you think a battle may be just out of your reach, you remember, delightfully, that there's something else you can do to pull the forces of evil into your grasp. This is the essence of Tools of Destruction. A game that hits, delivers, and smacks you in the mouth; a game that, almost curiously so, will leave you breathless and wanting more, speechless and silently fulfilled.

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Community review by Linkamoto (October 23, 2008)

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