Insomniac Games have made a lot of Ratchet & Clank games. I was introduced to the franchise on the PlayStation 3 with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. I followed up with Quest for Booty and then the excellent A Crack in Time. I skipped the rest of the PlayStation 3 entries before checking out the remake, Ratchet & Clank on PlayStation 4. That brings us to Rift Apart which I kept my eye on since its release in 2021.
A lot has happened to Insomniac Games since their 2016 remake; their excellent Spider-man and its follow-up, Miles Morales, propelled them to new heights of popularity and recognition. I was curious what lessons they learned from their time with Spider-man and how it impacted their staple franchise, Ratchet & Clank.
Evidently, its impact was not as transformative as I hoped. For better and worse, this felt like a Ratchet & Clank game. I am certain their were significant playability improvements from their 2016 game that I forgot about, but in my mind, this still feels like Tools of Destruction to me. Combat feels slightly disconnected with no real punch behind shots; no amount of haptic feedback or DualSense trigger tricks made these larger than life weapons feel powerful. The melee combat felt like it always did; flat and nothing like landing the punches in their Spider-man games.
The Ratchet & Clank games were always known for the inventive arsenal, but Rift Apart felt lackluster in that department. Each of the weapons had neat DualSense trigger modes, but those gimmicks quickly wore off and left with what I can only describe as the standard weapon archetypes.
Multi-dimensional hijinks is all the rage these days, so it was fitting to see it take video game form. Aside from the ray tracing, the big claim to fame for Ratchet & Clank was how quickly we were able to transition from one world to another. It was impressive on a technical level, but when the rapid transitions were just part of a larger rail grinding set piece, I couldn’t help but view it as elaborate sky box changes. It 100% wasn’t the case, but it felt like that. I was actually far more impressed with how quickly I loaded into each level.
The story seemingly took advantage of the fact that you may have watched a movie or two about multiverses because it handled the meeting of Ratchet and Rivet quite clumsily and quick. It felt like they wanted to get on with the game and just have you play through the game with the two of them as quickly as possible. Functionally they behaved like reskins of one another with weapons and ability progress magically transferring between the two of them. Personality and story wise? It felt like they didn’t know how to make Ratchet’s contributions meaningful. Rivet had the benefit of origin story and exploration of their home world and dimension, but Ratchet felt like a bit of an afterthought.
Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart didn’t reach the heights of A Crack in Time, but that’s alright. It’s a solid game for newcomers and like all the previous releases, one of the more visually accomplished titles of their generation. It is a looker, but as a long time fan, I was hoping for a bit more than just the discovery of another Lombax from another dimension.
It was okay