The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Insomniac Games/Idol Minds – Genre – Platformer/Action – Players – 1-8 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS2

I think platform characters are often good inspiration for us all. Whatever happens in their universes, these cartoon characters always seem to have a smile on their face. Look at Ratchet as a role model – whatever his troubles, he just keeps on smiling, and the Ratchet & Clank series is one that has a made of lot of people smile over the years, so, bundling the first three together is hardly something for us to cry about.

The titular Ratchet and Clank are a furry cat like creature and mini robot respectively, whom both meet at the beginning of the first game in the series. All the games have a charming sense of humour, and the two characters have a lot of chemistry. The voice acting is also very well done and Clank’s almost evil sounding laugh is sure to cause plenty of people to chuckle.

When Ratchet & Clank was first released back in 2002, it was something a little bit different from the norm – a platformer with lots of action. Developer Insomniac Games dreamt up some very imaginative weapons for the game as well as for the subsequent releases, and the series is certainly renowned for its variation as far as weapons and gadgets go.

In all three of the games, Ratchet, the primary controllable character of the duo, wields the OmniWrench 8000, a giant wrench that can be used as a melee weapon. But, aside from this, it’s also possible to find and purchase additional weapons and gadgets. There’s everything from machineguns, flamethrowers, rocket launchers, and more imaginative weapons such as the glove of doom, which releases little killer robots, and the Suck Cannon, which is able to suck up smaller enemies that can be cannoned out at other foes.  The two sequels feature a system in which weapons become upgraded through use, adding in some perks that weren’t previously there.

In all the games, purchasable items are added to your repertoire in exchange for bolts. Bolts are found all over the place and make a very satisfying jingle as you collect them, and you’ll also earn them for completing missions. A wealth of weapons and gadgets can’t only be purchased, but you also will find the need to stock up on ammo, and the third game handily allows you to quickly purchase full ammo for every single one of your weapons, just as long as you have the required bolts.

Out of the three included games, the original is definitely the easiest of the lot. I would be lying to say that I didn’t find certain stages of the two sequels maddening, as there are some truly nasty difficulty spikes and badly placed checkpoints. Such difficulty certainly comes as a shock to the system, being that the majority of games in this day and age are a lot easier to conquer.

Moving on, and, for those unfamiliar with the games, it will certainly be interesting for them to see the evolution across the three games. The first sequel added in the ability to strafe for example, making combat situations a lot smoother for the players, and Clank’s rare playable sections are also all the more varied. Ratchet & Clank 3 added in 2D platform sections in which you take control of Captain Qwark, you’ll even get to control a giant-sized Clank in certain sections of the game, and finally a decent online and local multiplayer mode was added.

Typically for such collections, the visuals have been remastered in HD, and, considering their ages, the games still manage to look really nice, with each one proving to be prettier than the last. If you are looking at how HD remasters should be achieved, then The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy, with its crisp and bold visuals, is certainly one of the best examples. It’s just a shame that the FMV sequences are in 4:3 as opposed to widescreen and are still presented in SD, although, given the quality of the remastering seen elsewhere, this is only a very small grumble. If you have the kit, all the games can also be played in 3D.

Celebrating its milestone 10th anniversary in business, The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy was certainly released in a timely manner, and, even more importantly, developer Idol Minds has treat these three games with all the respect that they deserve, retouching in all the areas that matter most. Despite their flaws, there’s not a bad game to be found in this collection, but rather hours upon hours of action platforming fun. If you like this sort of thing, you’ll find it almost impossible to say no to, and that’s a very good thing.