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Review: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart finally makes next-gen make sense

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart finally makes next-gen make sense

In the 15 years that Insomniac Games has been around, they’ve always been known for releasing big, ambitious triple-A games with an eye toward both presentation and gameplay. If it involves a fast-paced shooter, big swinging robots, or shooting while swinging, then chances are Insomniac has got their hands in it. So it isn’t really a surprise that they’re at the helm of the Ratchet & Clank series. Ratchet & Clank: Rivals doesn’t completely nailed the formula, but it’s a fun little time waster for non-hardcore R&C fans, and the first game in the series to be released on the PS4.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a PlayStation 4 exclusive that was exclusive to Sony’s console until now. If you’re a Ratchet & Clank fan and own a PS4, this is an absolute must-have. The game takes players on a journey to the distant planet of Veldin to bring in a villain who’s taken over the planet, and to do so, players must use a collection of vehicles and weapons inspired by Ratchet’s history as a galactic hero.

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You may have noticed that there have been a lot of games released lately that are just as good (if not better) than last-gen titles on the PS4. But what do these games that are not on the PS4 have? Well, they likely utilize the PS4’s new features, such as the share button, the game streaming, and also the Remote Play feature. What is Remote Play and how can you use it to play Ratchet & Clank: Rift?

It’s not easy for a property, whether it’s a book series, a movie, or a video game, to improve in 20 years. Eventually, creative rot sets in and everything becomes monotonous and boring. Ratchet & Clank is a testament to the genius of Insomniac Games: Rift Apart is arguably the best game in the series to date, and further proof that Insomniac Games is perhaps Sony’s most loyal asset.

For anyone who, like me, has been waiting for a game that finally shows off the true potential of the next generation of consoles, now is the time – at least for the PlayStation 5. Finally we have a game that justifies the hype, with hints at systems and features you wouldn’t think could have appeared on last generation hardware.

Lombax lore

Screenshot via

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart begins as our main characters enjoy a party in their honor. At that point, they had saved the universe several times, and the commemorations were underway. Let’s not forget Nefarius, who tries to drag Ratchet and Clank into a universe where he always wins, destroying the creature itself in the process.

Partially successful, Nefarius becomes emperor in this new reality, and Ratchet and Clank are separated. Ratchet is alone until he meets another robot named Keith, and Clank is eventually found by another Lombax, the new star of the series, Rivet. Rivet, played by Jennifer Hale at her best, becomes the emotional heart of the story as it progresses.

The player alternates between Ratchet and Rivet, but it’s the Rivet sections that stand out for the simple reason that they give Insomniac more room to work with one of its chosen themes – the idea of self-doubt. While Ratchet often wonders if he can live up to the legend of his ancestors, Rivet suffers almost endless defeats at the hands of the Inhumans of his universe. Compared to her, Ratchet is a superstar with a constant winning streak. Rivet has no food to help her overcome her insecurities, and more importantly, she has no friend like Clank.

Rift Apart gives you all the action you’ve come to expect from Ratchet and Clank, but also a meaningful story about self-confidence, friendship and overcoming the challenges life can throw at you.

Next-gen looks

Screenshot

To say that the Rift Apart is beautiful would be an almost criminal trivialization. Multiple performance modes allow players to prioritize rigor, frame rate, or a combination of both, taking ray tracing out of the equation. It doesn’t really make sense that a game that looks this good could come out of a $500 box. If this isn’t Sony’s first next-gen stunt, it’s the most impressive.

The immersion into the stunningly realized environments, especially in the first half of the game which is designed to impress the audience with stunning visuals, is a real wake-up call that we are finally entering a whole new era of gaming.

The PlayStation 5’s new features aren’t just about making things look better. Load times are so short as to be almost non-existent, and the use of portals to move through locations or dive between worlds is inspiring and admirable. On the contrary, the greater number of enemies in combat gives Rift Apart a special feel compared to other games. Battles can get incredibly hectic due to the sheer number of enemies, and this time around there are some big changes to the game.

This includes the introduction of the I-frame destruction envelope. With Phantom Dodge, the player can run in any direction and leave a ghostly trail behind. You can dodge flying projectiles, but you can’t shoot. Combined with more traditional dodging, this gives the player strategic options during frantic battles where a split second always seems to count.

Escape maneuvers combined with wall running and traditional series mechanics like grinding and swimming make exploring or chasing really fun. Walking through some of the environments is like a perfectly orchestrated dance, and the game engine provides beautiful visual effects.

Intergalactic arms dealers

Screenshot

The weapons in Rift Apart are largely characters in their own right. As usual, expect a strange, inventive and fascinating mix of destruction tools. This time there are mushrooms that fight with us, weapons that turn enemies into plants, and all sorts of other weird gadgets.

Weapon levels are upgraded in two different ways. The first is simple use, where the more you kill with a weapon, the more its level increases until it reaches its final form. Each level also unlocks new upgrades that can be purchased for a resource called Raritan, which players can find by exploring the levels.

The weapon also illustrates Insomniac’s use of the DualSense controller, which uses haptic feedback to create weapons that offer multiple shooting options depending on how hard you pull the trigger. It’s intuitive and natural, and it really helps to experience the game from moment to moment.

The verdict

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the best game ever released for the PlayStation 5 and confirms Insomniac as one of the best development teams in the business. The finished game is virtually flawless, polished to perfection, and contains errors so small that mentioning them seems like a monumental problem. The only real problem are the occasional pacing issues, as the game has introduced mechanics designed to interrupt the main flow of the story, but that’s about it.

Besides, Ratch & Clank is currently more the result of extreme polish than true innovation. While the game is visually stunning and the handheld format looks like a sleight of hand by the developers, it doesn’t feel revolutionary in terms of gameplay.

But when you compare that to such a beautifully made experience, it seems like a trifle, especially in light of everything Ratch & Clank was: Rift Apart does this incredibly well. Anyone who bought a PlayStation 5 and is considering this game is doing themselves a disservice. This is the best use of this device yet, and it deserves to be played.

+ The greatest console game of all time.
+ The story manages to be both meaningful and funny, with a perfect balance between the two aspects.
+ The battles, as always, are incredibly engaging, made even more so by the greater density of enemies.
+ Every aspect of the game is just excellent and polished to perfection.
Sometimes the game loses control of its own pace and drags a bit.

Disclosure: This review was written using the game code provided by the publisher.It’s been a long road for PlayStation VR and virtual reality in general. From the first glimpses of PSVR back in 2013, to the slew of mixed reviews of the headset to the long wait for the headset itself, the many bumps along the way have left some gamers unsure of what to expect. But after playing through a three hour campaign in Ratchet & Clank: Rift, I can say that I’m glad we waited this long.. Read more about ratchet and clank ps4 review and let us know what you think.

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