Perhaps the most anticipated platformer at this year's E3, Ratchet and Clank is intent on changing the way we play platform games forever. I had some time to sit down with the game today, and to put it mildly, I was amazed. Ratchet and Clank has some of the most beautiful environments the PS2 has ever offered, rivaling games like Drakan in technical aspects, as it appears to really showcase what the PS2 can do. The level I played was huge to say the least, and every bit of it was intricately detailed. At one point in the level, Ratchet was required to swing across many open areas using a hookshot type weapon. On certain areas, Ratchet can swing back and forth and all around, like a space age Tarzan, making what is usually the tough chore of getting from point A to point B a pure joy. Another great example are the barricades that I came across. Instead of finding a way around them or just blowing them up, I was required to use my head to figure out exactly how to get past these obstacles. In my case it required throwing my wrench at an explosive crate packed in with all the normal crates that were stacked in my path.
I also had the chance to speak with some representatives from Insomniac, who offered some further insight into the aspects of the game that I could not play or see. They promised that the story in Ratchet and Clank will most definitely not be your cookie cutter type platformer, but rather one where the characters go through some dynamic changes and experiences, all the while at odds with each other in a very complex and deep story. I also learned that players will be able to use Clank, Ratchets robotic partner, in solo objectives throughout the games 18 levels. In some instances he will only be used peripherally, while in some levels his presence dominates.
Even when not playing solo, Clank is a big help to Ratchet by providing him with several moves that aid their progress. One such move is when Clank creates a helicopter like lift with his arms when Ratchet is jumping over a large area, increasing the distance Ratchet can jump.
Overall, Ratchet and Clank is a very ambitious title that should definitely win the hearts of many gamers with its dynamic gameplay, impressive visuals, and quirky nature. I know that I was sure impressed. Look for Ratchet and Clank to hit stores this winter.
5/22/2002 Ryan Hartmann