* Awarded 'Best Platform Game' 2009
Ratchet & Clank finalises the "Future" series with A Crack in Time. In a conclusion that has spanned three games, Ratchet continues his search for his best buddy, while Clank learns more about his origins. Strap in for another classic “Ratchet” experience as Insomniac Games proves the action platformer genre is not dead.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is the follow up to Tools of Destruction (2007) and Quest for Booty (2008). Timing the releases a year apart has kept gamers in the loop and hungry for the a conclusion of the continuous storyline. In A Crack in Time, you will get answers, and the "Future" plotline will come together as you learn more about Clank, the Zoni creatures, and his origins. The action isn’t all about Clank, and even though I love the little tin-can, you still need everyone’s favourite Lombax, Ratchet.
What Time is it, Nefarious?
A Crack in Time begins with Clank being captured by the evil Dr. Nefarious. Nefarious in his natural quest for ruling the universe is trying hack into Clanks mind to search out the code to open the Orvus Chamber in the Great Clock. You learn early in the begging that the Great Clock is part of Clanks' past and thanks to Nefarious’s double crossing ways, Clank escapes his clutches setting out to learn more about the Great Clock and his origins. Quickly the action has you moving as Clank in a norrowing escape that lasts a few minutes. This will get your bearings settled for those who haven’t played the game in the past, or for those who need a refresher.
Ratchet & Qwark
After this segment is over, the real show begins as Ratchet and Captian Qwark team up to search for Clank. In the Breegus Nebula, these two bickering friends slowly start to uncover the bread crumbs that lead to Clank. As expected in an adventure of this scale, Ratchet will go through the paces of this intergalactic drama by meeting new alien races, uncovering more information about the Zoni, along with a few other unnameable surprises (for a spoiler, watch the official trailer). In typical Ratchet fashion this is all done while fighting through hordes of enemy drones. The plot does a good job of keeping your interest in the game as you go through the typical gameplay motions of a Ratchet & Clank game.
A Copy, of Copy,... of a Copy!
If you have been reading up about A Crack in Time then you will likely know about its new gameplay mechanics. One thing Insomniac Games does really well is evolve the series without taking the game out its core principles. Like the episode before A Crack in Time, we have some small innovations like new weapons, to an entirely new gameplay concept. This new concept revolves around Clank who has a mechanical staff that can slow down time and repair broken items in a single swing. It’s nothing to compare to Ratchet’s sweet arsenal, but at least Clank can do more than shake his fist.
Speaking of new things Clank can do, the major one is that of a photocopier. This photocopying part of Clank lets record ghosts of himself to figure out puzzles within the game. This is done by activating “Time Pods”. The time pods let you record up to four copies of Clank at once for a minute a piece. Then it up to you to figure out the arrangement in how these recorded Clanks all work together to solve a puzzle. This usually calls for some deep thinking, rewriting of previously recorded Clanks, and some time slowage. Insomniac has definitely upped the puzzle aspect in Ratchet & Clank which was an ongoing complaint. Now you can’t complain anymore as A Crack in Time has some of the most interesting puzzles seen in a Ratchet game. Remember don’t get too frustrated and a fresh set of eyes can always help when you are stuck.
What's New Lombax?
Now that Clank has been outfitted with a few new gadgets, lets see what’s up with Ratchet. As expected Ratchet has some new firepower, hower its not as outlandish as some of his weapons from the past. In A Crack in Time Ratchet loads up with the Sonic Erupter, and Dynamo of Doom. The Erupter is a frog-ish looking creature that belches out sonic booms like Ryu with gas. This weapon is best used in close range like a wide-spread shotgun. The Dynamo of Doom (great name) is a whopper that fires out a massive ball of electricity that can be moved around with the controller. The new weapons are not as creative as the Groovatron, but they do the trick... and for all those wondering, yes the Groovatron is back.
A Crack in Time also includes short segments involving Ratchet flying around in a Zoni powered spaceship doing odd missions. These parts are placed in between the normal “ground” missions and are down right silly. The spacecraft parts of the game honestly feel tacked on, and the gameplay mechanics behind the spacecraft are behind the times operating in a 2D space. This means you can only go from left-to-right in space! Huh?! The controls also feel extremely loose and out of place in comparison to the normal game. It’s definitely not Ratchet & Clanks best moment.
From orbit you can land on different planets and look for more loot, including more Zoni’s to pickle, and you’ll also do odd things like destroy asteroids or find missing items. It’s nothing to write home about and for all the time it adds to the game, I would have gladly used it to develop more levels, even if it was only a couple. This is not to say that everyone will dislike these segments as much as I did, however it should be noted, and hopefully in the Future (not Ratchet & Clank Future) we can see the action diversified in another direction.
Saved Game, or Two?
For the gamers who have faithfully played through the other two Ratchet & Clank Future games you will find two bonuses when the Playstation 3 reads your save files. Having a Tools of Destruction save will grant you discounted weapons at vendors and having a Quest for Booty save will make a "Pirate Hat Skin" available. Not a big deal, but something a little extra neverless. I should also mention that A Crack in Time can be played without playing the first two games, however given its strong influence by the storyline, I wouldn’t advise it. The first release was three years ago, so finding an affordable Tools of Destruction is the way to go, if you’re thinking about starting with A Crack in Time. The first two games are excellent and worth you invested time.
For the Trophey Hunters
The trophies in A Crack in Time will also keep you busy as there are a few to gather by completing the game in casual, medium and hard difficulty. Gold bolts, upgrading weapons, and competing tournaments are also trophies that will boost your PSN level. In total A Crack in Time includes over 35 trophies. Gathering the Gold Bolts might take the most time in conquering these trophies, if not replaying the entire episode.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is a must have purchase for any Ratchet fans who has enjoyed the series in the past. In A Crack in Time we see the introduction of a time-bending mechanic for Clank which is a smart place to take the character, and it is all interwoven into the storyline with precision. Best factor yet, questions actually get answered which ties up the storyline that has been unveiled over the course of the three "Future" games. When you add up the richness of the story, the new puzzles, new weapons, and smooth gameplay, you can start overlook some of Ratchet & Clank’s shortcomings. A Crack in Time isn’t the perfect Ratchet game, but it is a lot of fun. As the “Future” saga closes lets hope Insomniac is cooking up something invigorating for the next batch of Ratchet games.
Gameplay:8.0, Graphics:8.4, Sound:9.6, Innovation:7.0, Mojo:8.0 Final: 8.2 / 10