Sunday, July 02, 2000

Playstation 3 - Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time is a great conclusion to the series, but the beautiful part about it is that you can play it without having played any of the other games before it. When you first pop in the disc you're greeted with a short movie that explains all of the events leading up to this game. Once that's over, you're up to speed and ready to roll.

The story is quite interesting, it's loaded with laugh-out-loud humor, and the characters are voiced to perfection. This rivals any of the Hollywood CGI movies that have come out in recent memory in terms of animation, story, humor, and the acting performances.

The game is loaded with variety. As Ratchet, you'll be flying around in your spaceship, in kind of an open-world setting, where you can visit various planets and moons in each space sector and accomplish side-tasks. The moons are spherical and come in two really fun varieties: platforming segments which will you remind you of Super Mario Galaxy, and shooting segments which will you remind you of Super Stardust HD. The planets are where the story actually takes place and you will explore much larger environments and meet new characters. In space, you can get into dog-fights with Dr. Nefarious' minion space-ship fighters, or you can meet up with various other space-travelers and help them with their requests. Your ship is upgradable, you just have to find little creatures called Zoni. There are 40 of them hidden throughout the game's universe, many of them are found by completing the optional moons. While roving around in your ship, there are also 4 fictitious radio stations to choose from. They all feature wonderful music of different varieties for different tastes, and DJs that will make you laugh out loud with their banter.

The weapons are ingeniously conceived, and you'll find yourself laughing when you see what some of them do. Humor is a big part of this game. But it's not all about humor. There is some serious gameplay here, too. Fun platforming, creative puzzles, RPG-like systems where your character levels up as he gains experience, granting him more hit points, and all of your weapons level-up with use, as well. Also, the weapons can be upgraded with parts that you find hidden around the universe, and some of the weapons can even be custom-painted.

Some of the best gameplay in this package comes from Clank and the new time-based puzzles. There will time-pads placed around the Clock at the Center of the Universe (the area that Clank traverses throughout the game), and you can record yourself doing things on these time-pads, then play back the action simultaneously while doing something else with your present self. In other words, you can set up recordings of past-selves to help your present-self accomplish tasks that would otherwise be impossible alone. The mechanics may remind you of a game called Braid. It's all very-well implements and often ingenious, always fun.

The game itself is rather easy to get through on the lower difficulties, it will be appropriate for children and adults alike who may not have much experience gaming. You'll get to see the whole game without much difficulty. But there are also Normal and Hard difficulties, which amp up the challenge, and seasoned gamers will find them more than sufficient to give them a fun time that's not too easy or too frustrating. This game is perfect for all-ages, it's appropriate for kids as well as adults, and I recommend it highly!

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