High Impact Games takes over production of Insomiac's baby Ratchet and Clank, and brings the Playstation 2 dynamic duo over to the Playstation Portable. If you’re thinking, why didn’t they do this earlier? so am I. It’s time to loosen the screws on Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters for the PSP.
High Impact Games is giving some love to the PSP with their first Ratchet and Clank game for the system, Size Matters. In a number of critic’s minds Ratchet and Clank for the PSP is a savoir of sorts, sent to help revive Sony’s portable entertainment device. I’m not hoping onto that logic because I feel the PSP has a number of A+ games, and Ratchet and Clank: Size Matter just adds one more. I’m surprised it’s taken this long, but I’m not going to complain, the sarcastic duo has arrived .
Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters tries to recreate the same feeling of the console version of the game, a fast action platforming game, filled with the charm and word play of Ratchet and Clank. In this respect Size Matters is a triumph, and fans looking or the same experience they are used to this is your game. Size Matters virtually takes the exact game style and ports it down to work with the PSP. High Impact Games built Size Matters from the ground up for the PSP, and even though Size Matters doesn’t feel new, High Impact did a great job mimicking Insomniac’s console game.
The question you have to ask yourself before you think about picking up Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters is. Do you want a new version of Ratchet and Clank? Or do you want the same Ratchet and Clank experience you love? For me, I wanted a slightly different experience similar to what the Jak & Dexter series accomplished with Dexter for the PSP. Not necessary a solo adventure with one of the characters, but something a little different then a cookie cutter replica. Even though the experience is more of the same it’s not a problem because the original is so good. If you’re expecting a shrunk down version of the console game, Size Matters is a proper installation in the series that holds up with the previous games that made Ratchet and Clank a big league franchise.
Using cartoon animations and sarcastic humor, the storyline in Size Matters is blow em’ up candy coated bubble gum. The story follows Ratchet and Clank on vacation when trouble hits. A new acquaintance, Luna is kidnapped by robots (how original) and the heroes set out to rescue her. Ratchet and Clank end up discovering a forgotten race of inventors know as the Technomites and then the story builds up, until the expected and dramatic final showdown. If you need an example, think typical action script with hopes of being a blockbuster. It's everything you expect and nothing more.
Even though Ratchet and Clank feels like a re-run, new content has been added in the form of weapons, mini-games, new modes, and long awaited multiplayer. All the new content makes up for any feelings of déjà vu as the series continues to evolve. Old standbys like the Lacerator and bolt collecting returns, but the new excitement is around new additions like the Bee Glove, new mini-games, and the inclusion of armor. For me the most exciting is Ratchet and Clank locking onto a more customizable route with the armor. Different armor types can be scavenged and mish mashed on Ratchet to make him a more formable foe, and by granting him new abilities. Thirteen sets can be put together and some of them will cost you some big bucks, if you’re a completist expect multiple run plays to collect all the armor pieces. I enjoy the new element customizing provides and I hope it’s a trend continued with the next Ratchet and Clank.
Size Matters also has a number of mini-game sequences that help break up the normal hop, shoot action. In dream like state these games appear including the standard hover board races, space shooters, bumper cars and more. Besides a nice break and some fun, you can earn get down to some stat building business and boost your experience with spawning enemies. At times these mini-gamers are as much fun as the main quest and you won’t want them to end, but that just ads to the charm and over the top fun Ratchet and Clank continually provides.
Multiplayer can be accessed over the systems infrastructure mode, or against wirelessly for head to head action. Getting online is quick and easy, you basically create a new profile and go. Online you can jump into a game with the Quick Play option, or take the time to choose specific games. Online offers three different games, Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and the team based Iron Lombax. Iron Lombax is the odd one out here and the most interesting. In the Iron Lombax game you will have different objects to complete depending on your level. There are four levels, Island Escape where you have collect power cells, Danger Valley where you collect Homing Beacons, Mega Cannons, where you have power-up a powerful cannon by capturing generator points, and lastly Moon Cow Disease. Moon Cow Disease has each team racing to fill up their delivery trucks with crates of cow meat. For this to be accomplished you have to sucking up cows with the Suck Cannon and then fire them into the “Cow-Verter” which turns the Martian cows into a meat crate. Yuk! Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters certainly did a good job putting together all these online games, I found a few games to run around in and have fun. It’s great to see the series expanding to the online world, now let’s hope for that attentiveness on the PS3.
One concern with converting Ratchet and Clank to the PSP is how the controls would pan out. In Size Matters the typical missing second analog stick returns to haunt another PSP title. Although, it would be better with a quicker and more fluid camera controls, High Impact Games put the burden on the shoulder buttons for rotation and the D-pad and analog stick for movement and strafing. After a while these controls will start to become more natural, but not as instinctive as have a PS2 controller in hand. Besides the controls, and fear of new developer High Impact burning down the house, so to speak, Ratchet and Clank is problem free expansion on the console version. Rendered cut scenes, full voice work, quick framerate, and an amazing amount of fun showcases the prowess of the PSP, once again.
High Impact did a great job moving a beloved franchise down to the PSP. Ratchet and Clank have returned in another solid action, shooter, and platforming game that feels like a shrunken version of the console game. Add the multiplayer, skill points, weapons, and story, and you have a fun action packed game worthy of your time, even if you’re not a fan of the dynamic duo. I’m impressed once again by the potential of the PSP and would have to mark Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters as a top ten title that every PSP owner should check out.
Gameplay: 8.5, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 8. Final: 8.5 / 10