Flashback Zone – Ratchet & Clank

Flashback Zone - Ratchet & Clank 1

I’m cheating here, but I don’t care. I should write about the original Ratchet & Clank, what with this being a series about old games, but I feel that I’m perfectly justified in writing about a remaster… so screw it, let’s do this!

The new Ratchet & Clank game is a beautiful remastering of the original game and might well be one of the best games on the ps4 at the time of this article being written. It is such a loyal remastering of the original for long-time fans, and is a game that will definitely bring in many, many new fans.

First, look at this video comparison of the original and the remaster from PSgaming on YouTube:

A very promising start, wouldn’t you agree?

The general story follows true to the original. Clank, a defective killbot created by the Blarg, escapes the factory that created him and crash lands into a planet. He is discovered by a Lombax named Ratchet, and together they must save the galaxy from the Blarg invasion.

The game does, however, deviate a little from the original. For example, Captain Qwark is narrating the whole thing. This change is more than acceptable to me though because the man is hilarious, especially when he makes you feel like a moron for not being able to do something he just told you to do.

Flashback Zone - Ratchet & Clank 5

One big thing that has changed is Ratchet and Clank’s relationship. In the original Ratchet and Clank don’t see eye to eye at first. Ratchet is often snarky and abrupt with Clank, while Clank continues to try to convince Ratchet that they need to save the galaxy. In the remake, however, Ratchet is immediately up for going to the galaxy’s aid and they are buddies from the get go.

These changes don’t really mess with the game’s spirit though as Insomniac have done a tremendous job at keeping the characters fun and lovable.

Flashback Zone - Ratchet & Clank 4

The gameplay is just fantastic. You fight your way through gorgeous worlds and areas, with highly entertaining enemies and weapons. Some areas can prove challenging, which is both surprising and impressive for a game that is clearly meant for people of all ages. The challenges in the worlds are various and a great way to flesh out the world and force you to explore the beauty that the game’s creators have made (not that it takes much forcing!). Although it must be said that returning to completed worlds (which the game clearly wants you to do!) is a little disappointing. Before they were full of enemies, but upon returning they are all pretty much empty and quite boring.

One particular challenge that kept me stumped for a long time was finding all sixty telepathopus brains on Gaspar in order to get an upgraded wrench. I searched for ages for those brains, but at no point did I feel that the game was being unfair to me. In fact, I wanted to find them all because it was bugging me that I couldn’t. That is the sign of a very well made game.

Flashback Zone - Ratchet & Clank 2

Sure, they reuse some enemies on the multiple worlds, but each enemy is unique in its style and form of attack. From the sandsharks hordes that jump out the sand and chase you with their gigantic teeth, to the Blargian soldiers that shoot you from a distance using weapons, ships, or turrets.

Bosses are challenging and it’s fun figuring out their attack patterns and weaknesses. Some weapons work better than others against certain enemies, for example the sandsharks can quickly be dealt with by using the proton drum to send shockwaves through the area that decimates any that pop up out of the sand.

And oh, these weapons. Insomniac has a reputation for originality with weapons and Ratchet and Clank’s are no different. You have everything, from a flamethrower, to a grenade glove, to the aforementioned proton drum, to the truly hilarious Groovitron that shoots a disco ball at enemies that causes them to dance and thus become vulnerable to attacks.

The Groovitron in particular can produce hours of fun. Every enemy and NPC can be forced to dance to the funky beat. Check out this video of just some the fun you can get up to.

The weapons system in the game is fantastically crafted. Each weapon has its own unique ability, and can be upgraded at weapons vendors. The upgrades can be anything from collecting more currency per kill, dealing more damage per shot, to having a wider area of effect. Not only this but the more you use a weapon, the more powerful it becomes by the way of leveling up. Plus as the weapon levels up, you unlock more upgrades. This is a great idea, though it did result in me relying heavily on only 3-4 weapons and basically ignoring the rest. I had to force myself to use the others just to see what they did.

By far my favourite weapon though is Mr.Zurkon.

Flashback Zone - Ratchet & Clank 7

This absolute badass is back and will accompany you into fights making macho quotes such as “You thought you’d seen the last of Mr. Zurkon?” and “Mr. Zurkon doesn’t need bolts; his currency is pain.” This guy is just awesome and nobody should play through the game without this Schwarzenegger wannabe fighting alongside them.

To wrap things up, because trust me I could talk about this game for hours without issue, this game is just a fantastic remastering of a classic that without a doubt has revitalized a series people long thought was dead. If you haven’t already, you absolutely need to buy and play this game!

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