I love video games but am not an avid player of action-adventure games, not even when I was a little kid. Therefore, I must admit that I’m not familiar with the prominent titles of the genre or the lore. Not being an enthusiast of consoles also has a major effect on it. It didn’t surprise me to find out that Ratchet & Clank is a series with its first game released in 2002. Still, it surprised me to find out that there is even an animated film of the series with stars like John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, and Sylvester Stallone voicing the characters.
Let’s not divert from the main topic, however. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the 16th title in the series. As I mentioned before, I haven’t played the previous titles in the game. Therefore, I cannot compare it to the previous titles in the series. But I believe this puts me in a more advantageous position compared to the fans of the series in some regards. I can provide a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective.
Jump right into action with our buddy heroes
Our heroes in the game are Ratchet and Clank, obviously. Ratchet is a lombax, and Clank is a robot. The lombaxes are a cat-like humanoid race with high engineering prowess and apparently vanished, leaving Ratchet as the last member of the race. Clank is a brilliant and coolheaded robot. They are inseparable best friends but have opposite characters, balancing each other. Ratchet is excited, energetic, impulsive, and prefers to come up with plans along the way. On the other hand, Clank is calm, observing, and prefers to plan ahead. Together, Ratchet is the urge for adventure, and Clank is the voice of reason.
Although the 16th in the series, the game’s story is very contained. I have never felt I was snapped out of the story because I didn’t know its history. The game gave me everything I needed to know to start the adventure, and it did jump right into it. The game begins with a ceremony to celebrate our protagonists, and Clank tells Ratchet that he has a surprise present. This part also functions as a tutorial for the player. Supported by the dialogue between Ratchet and Clank, I was able to gather that they have been long-time friends and have been through many adventures, though they have been rusting lately. It also revealed to me that Ratchet is the only lombax in this universe, and his friend wants to help him seek other members of his race. Friendship, comradery, and motivation… The game quickly and subtly conveys all this information in a matter of minutes. Now, all we lack is an evil enemy to fight against.
Clank reveals his surprise present for Ratchet, which is a Dimensinator, a tool that opens rifts through different dimensions and enables the wielder to traverse them. It also acts as the MacGuffin of our story. Just when Clank reveals his present to Ratchet, Dr. Nefarious shows up, thus the evil enemy to fight against also here. Dr. Nefarious snatches the Dimensionator from our heroes, and after a brief fight, he wishes to go to a dimension where “he never loses.” Messing with the Dimensionator messes up the fabric of the universe, leaving random rifts opening and closing and the universe starting to collapse, and what do you know? Dr. Nefarious does go to a universe where he never lost! A universe where he is the emperor of all.
I will not tell the rest of the story to avoid spoilers, but I will tell this: This universe has another lombax, a female lombax named Rivet, resisting the reign of Emperor Nefarious. With another robot, a female robot named Kit, joining them, our duo becomes a quattro.
The story itself is not shocking or spine-chilling in any way, but it’s a solid story about friendship, struggle, forgiveness, and trust. There are also a couple of nice twists and reveals too. It’s a light-hearted story that is complete and contained in itself, to say the least.
Throughout the story, you mainly play as Ratchet or Rivet, but also with other characters in parts that we can call minigames. In one of these minigames, the players play Clank to solve puzzles to repair the rifts. In another series of games, you play as Glitch, a resistance IT bot, cleaning up viruses in various computers.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of minigames in general. I think they have no function other than distracting the player and breaking the game’s pace, but I know some players like them at certain doses. Ratchet & Clank uses these minigames in the correct amount, I think. Their frequency and length are good. They also seem integrated into the story, but narrative-wise, I don’t think they have any function. Maybe they could be better integrated into the story and should affect its progress. Otherwise, they weren’t completely irrelevant or frustrating, so I’d say they were tolerable enough.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, technical aspects
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is not very demanding regarding system requirements. As you can see in the “Can You Run It?” results below, my system doesn’t even meet the recommended hardware configuration, but I didn’t have any speed or performance issues with the game. It was nice and fluid throughout the whole gameplay.
One of the negative things I can point out in this regard is that the game crashed my graphics driver a couple of times. Once, I needed to even completely remove all the graphics card drivers and utility programs and reinstall them. These weren’t too frequent but were on the brink of making me stop playing. To be honest, I am unsure if these were the game’s fault or if something was wrong with my PC. (In the can you run it results it says my driver is out of date, but there must be something wrong there since I reinstalled the latest one after the game crashed.)
Another thing is that the graphics were too grainy, especially in close-ups in cutscenes. This didn’t look like it was random or caused by something technical; it looked deliberate, like a design choice. I ramped up the settings and completely removed the film grain effect in the game, but I couldn’t get rid of it. Although it took me time to get used to it and gave me a slight headache during the playthrough, it didn’t make me stop playing.
Ratchet & Clank Gameplay
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a console game; you can feel that every second of the gameplay. This is not something negative; it’s just an observation. But sometimes, the character becomes a bit hard to control, especially on ledges or small surfaces to step on. The character sometimes may become unpredictable and hard to control, but it’s rare.
The game subtly assists you with what you need to do next or where to go in the form of secondary characters, giving clues, asking questions, or offering perspectives. They also sometimes do it not very subtly by pointing to a button or a bolt crank. It’s good enough not to be interfering. But sometimes, when exploring the maps, finding out how to reach a certain point to get an item can get a bit confusing. This mainly occurs in maps where there are level and height differences. Besides these, the game is fluid and fast-paced enough to be expected from a console game. The game also doesn’t neglect to reward the player for exploring the maps and putting effort into their character.
One character I love is Mrs. Zurkon, your weapons dealer and upgrader, which brings us to the weapons. The weapons are upgradable by the use of Raritariums, and some of them become devastating when fully upgraded. Although there are some interesting and funny weapon designs in the game, most of them are familiar, being counterparts of a shotgun, minigun, rocket launcher, etc. I would recommend not rushing to buy the new weapons as they came up, though. Although getting the resources to buy all of them is not an ordeal, picking them according to your play style would be wiser and offer a more fun experience. A final piece of advice about guns: Pick the ones that shoot fast and have lots of bullets. The gunfights in this game can become chaotic, with numerous waves of enemies, lots of jumping to evade projectiles, and tons of shooting.
Final verdict for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
I’m more inclined to games like Fallout, Skyrim, Far Cry, and Call of Duty when it comes to “shooting games.” I wouldn’t say Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart made me an action-adventure player from now on, but in general, I liked this game and the experience it offered. I liked its light-hearted story, chaotic gunfights, and the feeling of friendship among its characters. In the first half of the game, I was anxious to get Ratchet and Clank together after they had been “rift apart,” which indicates that the story immersed me enough to feel for its characters. It looks like a game for children, but it has much to offer to adult players, too. It’s deep enough to provide some challenges but doesn’t require you to invest an immense amount of time and effort to enjoy it. So I’d recommend it, especially if you are looking for a cheerful, positive story and a game that will take your mind off of things without tiring you up a lot.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
Developers: Insomniac Games, Nixxes Software
Initial release date: June 11, 2021
Genres: Platform game, Adventure game, Third-person shooter, Adventure
My score: 81
- Tons of action
- Easy aiming
- Easy to evade enemy fire
- Good story
- Nice cutscenes
- Good characters
- Good graphics
- Occasional dizzying camera angles
- The character may move unpredictably
- Minigames could be integrated into the narrative
- Hard to explore some parts of maps
- Grainy graphics