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Ratchet & Clank Reminds Me That I Used To Smile When Playing

Sometimes, we underestimate the dramatic changes we've seen in this industry over the past several decades.

And very often, we don't realize that as we get older and as the games continue to change (most have grown with us), we actually experience this hobby differently.

Sure, I was always enraptured when playing my RPGs. I wasn't sitting there with a goofy smile on my face; I was probably pretty intent on what I was doing and though I adored what I was doing, it was a different sort of adoration. It was a different sort of happiness. But as very few games these days are constructed like traditional RPGs, I don't experience them in the same way and as such, I react differently.

Same goes for most modern games when compared to "old" games like, for example, Ratchet & Clank. I never realized just how significant the change is until I sat down and played the recently released remake. After a few hours, it dawned on my that I had spent the majority of my time grinning at the screen. Then I asked myself- "When's the last time you did that?" When's the last time a video game elicited this feeling of pure, engaged entertainment?

Last year, my favorite game was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (and I actually hope Blood and Wine really does hold off until June, just so I have time to sink my teeth into it). I'd say my other favorites were Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Rocket League, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Until Dawn, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, and The Order: 1886. All very different and yet, none of them had the same effect on me as R&C.

The point is, I can't remember the last time a game did have this effect. Just happy as a clam, running around, not wanting to stop, enjoying every ounce of the production. You don't have to think very hard about anything, there's nothing dark or gritty or dirty or grimy to get in the way of the carefree fun, and while there's certainly depth, there isn't enough to make you sit, lost in thought. No, this is just fun. And I've completely forgotten that video games did this at one point.

I'll probably write up my review on Saturday but consider this a preview. And yeah, a big recommendation, especially to those older gamers who might have an inkling of what I'm talking about. :)

Related Game(s): Ratchet and Clank

Tags: ratchet and clank ps4, ratchet & clank remake, ratchet and clank remake

4/14/2016 9:39:10 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (31 posts)


Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:33:57 AM
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The last game to make me smile like that was Skyward Sword. Felt like a kid again. Everything about that game just struck the right chord with me. This one is giving me the same sense of fun.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 9:38:42 AM

Whenever I go back to my Dreamcast I get that kick and a smile, which is why I love it. Sega games from 2000 were like arcade games, made for quick bouts of intense fun.

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Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:43:53 PM

I reallllly hated the dream cast haha I know people loved it but I just couldn't stand that terrible controller. I was ecstatic when Marvel vs Capcom 2 finally dropped on PS2

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/15/2016 12:44:13 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 1:00:22 PM

I didn't like DC, either. Hated the controller and the software lineup was just too arcade-based for me. Was heavy into RPGs at the time and DC didn't really excel in that category; I tried Shenmue and Skies of Arcadia but couldn't get into either, for some reason.

I had a grand total of three games for that system: NFL 2K, Soul Calibur, and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Played the hell out of all three but when Code Veronica came to PS2 later, I just didn't need the DC anymore.

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Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 4:01:43 PM

Yea my friend who owned one loved Shenmue but that was all he ever played on the system in his own. It was bascially an arcade machine for marvel vs capcom which none of us could get good at because of that controller. Ha

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Bio
Saturday, April 16, 2016 @ 12:29:36 AM

The Dreamcast was like the GC for me - 4-5 super awesome games, and then a bunch of crap, and the system overall never clicked with me.

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TheHighlander
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:55:40 AM
Reply

Ben, you have discovered one of the reasons I have less time for games, they are not (broad generalization) fun. I'm glad R&C is, it's one of the games I know I will play this year.

The clue is in the term video games. Games are "a form of play". The first dictionary definition I could locate for the word 'play' is; "engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose". Play is something we are supposed to do for enjoyment, otherwise known as fun.

Somewhere along the road, a lot of people, gamers and developers alike, lost sight of that.

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Hexen
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 10:36:55 AM

Are you by any chance referring to the Soul's games as the ones that aren't fun because I'm pretty sure their fans find them very entertaining.There should be room for all types of games that are fun for varying individuals.Just like there's room for Marvels light hearded movies and DC's dark tone movies.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 10:50:38 AM

No, I think he's referring to different types of entertainment that are designed to elicit different reactions.

"Fun" is entirely subjective, of course. And as I said in the article, I've had plenty of fun with a huge variety of games. I can't stand Dark Souls but I know many have fun with those games as well.

But nobody has the same fun with Dark Souls as they do with Ratchet & Clank. It's night and day in terms of atmosphere and style and our minds react very differently.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/15/2016 10:51:13 AM

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TheHighlander
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:23:19 PM

@Hexen,

No, I had no specific game in mind, I am talking in general. Generally speaking more games now, than before, use large set piece encounters which are designed to be incredible, but take a disproportionate amount of development effort. Some games try to lock you into a daily grind of playing. Vertical progression MMORPGs are a great example of this, assuming you stay on the treadmill it's more job and obligation than actually working for a living, especially if you're in a raid group.

Then there are games that trip over them self to make a point, or social commentary, and there are games that are difficult solely to be difficult. No, I'm not referring to the Souls games, there is a difference in making something devilishly hard to challenge people and making something artificially hard simply to delay the player.

Games that consist of a few huge set pieces, but otherwise disappoint are only fun to play once because you know what's coming. After that it becomes a chore to slog through the game.

What I mean is, if something is hard, but truly mastering the game allows you to overcome it, that's fine, but when something is just hard, and no amount of mastery will help you overcome it, it stops being fun a long time before you beat it. Challenge is part of making games worth playing.

Sure there is subjectivity in play as well, everyone enjoys slightly different things. My point about games not being fun is less a point about difficulty in games like the Souls games, that are intentionally very difficult. It's more about games that look, feel and play like they were built from checklists of features that have to be there, and include artificial difficulty designed to slow the player down.

Sometimes it seems like developers feel that they have to hit certain features for their game to be well received. Sometimes they realize the game is too short, but rather than add more content, they ramp up the cheating AI to artificially make the game harder, and take longer. Sometimes the game designers, and developers simply don't care much about the final product because it's all business.

I guess for me it comes back to the things that make a game fun start with core game play, then characters and setting, and then the overall world design and quality of production. When developers invert that list and work on games maximizing the quality of production, then making the World Designs great, and so forth, only working on game play last, I feel that you generally end up with a game that's great looking but not much fun.

Either way, I stand by my comment that games should be about having fun and that "Somewhere along the road, a lot of people, gamers and developers alike, lost sight of that. "

Last edited by TheHighlander on 4/15/2016 12:24:01 PM

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xenris
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 1:42:55 PM

Then you should play Ni No Kuni :P

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TheHighlander
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 2:19:39 PM

Never.

My heart is scarred deeply by Level 5, D3 and SCEA. Whether or not I forgive them, I will never forget... ;)

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xenris
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 11:50:28 PM

Yeah I know.....BUT, maybe watch a lets play on youtube or something. The story is touching and just so nice. Or maybe you will luck out and find a copy on the side of the road :P

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Gamer46
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 3:35:33 AM
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I had the exact same feeling playing this game. I still play plenty of games but most are 'darker' in tone and while enjoyable the bleak stories don't really lend themselves to simple 'fun.' Ratchet & Clank has been such a refreshing change of pace for me and a nice return to form for the series. I loved the R&C games on PS2 but for some reason the Future series and Into the Nexus, while certainly not bad, didn't click with me. This one however is easily my favorite game for any console this gen and it's great to have Insomniac in top form on PlayStation again. Hopefully the game sells well so Sony and Insomniac see a reason to continue with the series, more of these kind of experiences are needed these days.

Last edited by Gamer46 on 4/15/2016 3:36:50 AM

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TheHighlander
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:27:17 PM

I really don't like the turn to darker stories and settings in games. Outside of casual gaming, games that take the much brighter, light hearted approach that R&C does, are few and far between.

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Gamer46
Saturday, April 16, 2016 @ 12:03:42 AM

It depends on the game for me. I consider something like inFamous: Second Son to be darker but there's still some fun to be had. The Last of Us is very dark and serious in tone but is still an excellent game. I do miss the balance though, you're right that there are too few simple, fun light-hearted games these days and it's a shame. Balance is needed in every industry.

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Banky A
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 3:38:20 AM
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I cannot wait! I knew this to be the absolutely base case.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 9:37:24 AM
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The whole smile thing is how I feel whenever I pick up a JRPG that has turn based play, this big smile creeps across my face.

It also happens with a new Fallout but that kinda wanes after 100 hours.

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BlinkBoy
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 10:04:00 AM

When i went back to Dragon Quest VIII last summer after 10 years since last time, I felt the same way.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 10:50:59 AM

Looooooved DQVIII.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 11:07:07 AM

Who can't smile when you encounter a slime!

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Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 12:45:04 PM

Seems DQ8 is a game that deserves the remake treatment. Or HD at least.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 1:01:49 PM

No remake. They'd turn it into Dragon Quest Heroes, which was just Dynasty Warriors with a DQ skin.

Remaster, where they can't fu** up the gameplay and twitch it out to death. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

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xenris
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 1:43:54 PM

DQ8 is my favourite turn based RPG I think. Game has so much charm.

It would be nice if it released on PS4 store as a PS2 classic with smoothed out visuals.

I beat that game 100% but I would buy it again.

Also has one of the best soundtracks ever.

Last edited by xenris on 4/15/2016 1:45:12 PM

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Jawknee
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 4:02:42 PM

It's coming to 3DS at the end of the year. Gonna get me a New 3DS XL just in time.

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Bio
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 4:13:35 PM

Dragon Quest VIII got a pretty good HD version for mobile a few years back. Looks better than the original by a long shot, plays just fine using touch control.

A solid choice if you're looking to revisit it on prettier terms and don't want to worry about changes for the sake of changes.

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BlinkBoy
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 8:39:30 PM

I played it on PS3 since I still have PS2 b/c on my original phat console. I also tried it on emulator as you can adjust some settings to get things more smooth. I ended up just playing it on PS3 since all I wanted was the gameplay and story, I don't go back for the graphics even though the style make it timeless for me.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 9:00:32 PM

Concerning mobile, can't stand playing real games on a tiny-ass screen.

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Bio
Saturday, April 16, 2016 @ 12:31:13 AM

I can understand that, to a degree, but I played DQVIII and Knights of the Old Republic on my son's 10" Galaxy Tab and frankly it was fantastic. A 10" screen right in front of your face is functionally identical to a 40" screen six feet away.

On a phone, though, yeah, games like that (and The Fall) are hard to really enjoy.

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Hexen
Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 11:01:35 AM
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I'm waiting for my copy and I'm pretty excited to play my first Rachet and Clank.Since I haven't played the others it will be a completely new experience.

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jaytee
Sunday, April 17, 2016 @ 4:55:18 PM
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Ive always loved the ratchet games,have them all from ps1 to ps3 and have always looked forward to the next one that comes out i think except for gladiator wasnt the best!Still play the older ones from the hd collection saves me pulling out the ps2 ...cant wait for this one .keep up the good work insomniac 👍👍👍

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