Rachet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
It’s the final chapter in Ratchet & Clank’s episodic trilogy. Will they try something different or stick to their guns?
Rachet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time is the final part of the PS3′s Rachet and Clank trilogy and despite some small deviations it’s about as pure of a platformer as you can expect to find. There are not many games out there that have the timeless charm of the Rachet and Clank. Perhaps it’s the simple nature of the games and their lack of innovation that keeps their games comfy and familiar, like an old pair of trainers.
As a Crank in Time is part of a trilogy a little knowledge of previous games ‘Tools of Destruction’ and a ‘Quest for Booty’ is expected if you want to get the most out of the storyline. Such details aren’t exactly required and you’ll get the gist of what’s going on rather quickly epically thanks to a cut scene explaining parts of the narrative. The story continues on from Quest for Booty, Rachet has now found the kidnapped Clank’s location while Clank is captured aboard a giant clock at the center of the galaxy (give or take 50 feet). Throughout the game you’ll switch between the disconnected duo and experience both sides of the story.
Life as Rachet hasn’t changed a great deal from previous games, combat is mostly about collecting a massive arsenal of insane weapons and using the right tool for the job while breaking everything in sight. There’s a rail section or two and some platforming to break up the combat, but nothing unusual. The biggest difference for Rachet is the open world(s) gameplay. You can now take your ship and fly between planets and solar systems and land on smaller planets for minor quests as well as engage space pirates in dogfights. The combat feels a lot like an Xbox Arcade or Playstation Network game viewed mostly from overhead and is a fun diversion for a short period of time, the real problem is with the side quests. A pet peeve of mine is when shorter games try to make their game feel longer by forcing side quests on you in order to progress rather than offering something interesting that you ‘want’ to do, as is the case here. Fortunately the diversions aren’t overly used and the side missions aren’t tedious, but you are left feeling that Insomniac Games had the idea of an open world without anything truly compelling to use it for.
When you’re not touring the galaxy as Rachet you’ll be exploring the giant clock as Clank at a much slower and cerebral pace. There’s still a share of platforming and combat to be had but with the introduction of time mechanics there’s some very unique, interesting and challenging puzzles to experience. In certain rooms you’ll have the ability to record a series of actions and play then back, while you perform a different set of actions. This starts out nice and simple: Go stand on a button, the button opens a door, stop recording, start playback, run through door. But when you have four recording panels, jumps, moving platforms and seven or eight buttons things get a little crazy. Clank’s gameplay definitely helps to break up the action, but those who are looking for a mindless platformer might find a pair of Clank’s puzzles to be a little too much.
The graphics and sound of Crack in time are up to the usual high standards, perhaps a little higher as you can switch through a handful of radio stations while flying around in your ship. Dialog is well spoken, cutscenes are both interesting and funny. The entire presentation package is right up there with the excellence of rest of the Rachet and Clank series.
It seems hard to believe that there’d be many people looking to get Crank in Time that haven’t already experienced a game in the series but if you haven’t then I’d suggest you pick up the first in the trilogy. For those who love the series then you may find that Crack in Time is the best Rachet and Clank game that there’s been. For anyone who’s never enjoyed a Ratchet and Clank game, you’ll find nothing new here.