LTTP: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart [PS5]

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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

Ratings Guide

Humanity [PS5] Review

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I started playing Humanity after reading some positive impressions and wanting to ensure I didn’t miss its time on PlayStation Plus Extra. I just subscribed to the service and missed out on Stray because I thought it was going to stick around for longer than it did. The trailer featured an amusing style, Enhance Games were involved, and it featured a Shiba Inu which might be my favorite dog breed. 

The conditions for a good time were present and if it wasn’t for the music, I may have enjoyed it a lot more than I hoped.

I never played Lemmings, but I am familiar with its concept of guiding as many followers towards a goal. As the ghostly Shiba Inu, it was up to me to guide these humanoid figures towards the light through different puzzle rules. One set of puzzles of asked me to place commands on the ground in real-time, while the next set of puzzles asked me to plot out the entire route ahead of time. Additional variables such as switches, golden collectibles, and hazards were thrown into the mix to challenge and elaborate on established rules. 

A few puzzles held me up for quite some time, but I was often able to overcome most puzzles through trial and error. The snappy resets and fast forwarding removed a level of frustration that may have discouraged me from finishing it. I’m glad they were so liberal with these aids; they even included a solution video which I never actually clicked on. I imagine it would have shown me how to solve the puzzle.

What really irritated me was the music which I found increasingly grating as I played. I had to quit levels to select a different track at times because some of those default choices were so grating. I had the benefit of sometimes getting lost in a puzzle and not even noticing an annoying track, but my poor wife who wasn’t paying attention often lamented on what she heard coming out of the game. 

I ended up liking the game. It took me longer to complete than I originally anticipated though. I was close to dropping it several times after trying to have extended sessions with it, but I eventually settled to playing one or two levels per day. That cadence of bite sized Humanity made it much more palatable. 

I liked it

LTTP: Marvel’s Spider-man: Miles Morales [PS5]

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loved 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-man game by Insomniac Games; it was easily the best Spider-man game to date and one of my favorite games in recent memory. Having said that, I didn’t have the desire to jump in and revisit New York City in 2020’s Marvel’s Spider-man: Miles Morales. Sure I enjoyed Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse and the 2018 game, but after hearing how familiar it was to the first game by Insomniac, I felt the need to create more distance. 

After nearly three years , a subscription service launch, and a pretty attractive sale, I decided to finally play the “standalone expansion”. Unsurprisingly, it was both familiar and enjoyable. I found Insomniac did well to channel the vibe of Into the Spider-verse while creating their own take on Miles Morales. I was pleasantly surprised with their own take of The Tinkerer. 

The entire setup of having Miles take care of New York while Peter was out vacationing with Mary Jane was cute. We got a little bit of Miles and Peter which gave me a glimpse of what Spider-man 2 could look like before it was Miles’ game. Many of his moves felt familiar to Peter’s, but the Venom bioelectric powers made Miles very distinctive. He felt more powerful and stealthy thanks to his bioelectric powers and the ability to just turn invisible. I found myself not utilizing many of the web gadgetry or web related moves much at all due to the Venom moves.

The strength of this game was still the main story thread and the swinging. I like the idea that Spider-man takes a vacation and leaves it to the backup that is Miles Morales. The new Peter Parker was indeed Tom Holland-esque, but it’s honestly been so long that you could have kept change from me and I wouldn’t have bat an eye. I was pleased with the brisk pace of the main story. They set everything up well enough to the point where the main antagonist was a believable and worthy adversary to Miles. I had no idea Insomniac Games did their own spin on the Tinkerer character until I checked the wikis. An excellent job!

The technical and graphical feats was equally commendable. I played the game on the 40FPS mode and it looked and ran great. The ray traced reflections held up well during gameplay, but even with that little nicety, it was clear that this was a PlayStation 4 game at its core. The city and nearly anyone who wasn’t the core cast were noticeably a step down in detail and quality.

Spider-man: Miles Morales was a good way to revisit 2018’s Spider-man without having to replay the exact same game. Some would argue that you’re doing just that with Miles Morales, but I think that’s a bit too refutative. It had the same open world weaknesses, but it also had the same strengths with it spectacular set pieces and compelling story. It’s a strong PlayStation 5 launch game and if you didn’t play it yet, it’s also a very strong PlayStation Plus Extra title; it’s a good time no matter when you end up playing it.

I liked it

Ratings Guide

LTTP: Resident Evil 3 [PS5]

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Resident Evil 3 Remake felt like an expansion to Resident Evil 2 Remake which made the original $79.99 asking price a tough one to stomach. On its own, Resident Evil 3 Remake can be seen as “too short” and “too straightforward”, but I bought it for less than half the asking price and as a standalone expansion, it was fine. There wasn’t much exploration and its hook, Nemesis, was more of an ongoing gag than something to be feared.

The return of Jill Valentine was the highlight of the game; it was good to see her back in action. She held her own and didn’t take nonsense from the other characters which fed to the mystique as a “super cop” and veteran of zombie fighting. 

Carlos actually felt like a soldier equipped to handle a zombie apocalypse which made his segments more of a cakewalk than I was expecting. However, it wasn’t a foreign feeling as the RE2 Remake’s alternate character sections felt similar. I just wished they didn’t have to lean into “finding the cure” trope again.

The predecessor was a lengthy adventure, but it was padded retreading familiar territory twice.  RE3 Remake intertwined with the timeline of RE3 Remake, which meant visiting familiar territory for a third time, but thankfully the vast majority of the game was new. 

Jill and Carlos felt more nimble thanks to their newfound ability to dodge attacks. They also discovered knives that didn’t shatter through the course of a 6 hour adventure. Those two gameplay tweaks along with the muscle memory developed by playing RE2 Remake made for a breezy feeling game. There were spots of uneasiness, but I have to admit, RE3 Remake felt like a romp compared to my first run through the RE2 Remake.

I enjoyed my time in Raccoon City again; especially for the very modest price of admission nowadays. It’s a well made modern Capcom developed Resident Evil game which wasn’t something we could count on not so long ago. It may not be as meaty or impactful as its predecessor, but it’s still worth checking out Jill Valentine being a super cop.

I liked it

Ratings Guide

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