Ratchet & Clank 3 PlayStation 2
by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Insomniac Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £39.99
It's difficult to believe that only a year after the impressive Ratchet & Clank 2 we now have Ratchet & Clank 3 given that most games have a development time of at least 2 years. Insomniac must have worked their collective socks off to create another sequel in such a short space of time and best of all they've actually created a very impressive sequel that doesn't looked rushed in any shape or form. Not only that but online play has also been included this time around. Let's take a look at the latest in one of the PlayStation 2's most impressive platform series.
The game begins with Ratchet and Clank watching a TV show, a TV show about Secret Agent Clank! Yes the little robot is now a TV star with his very own show, something Ratchet obviously doesn't think very highly about. This cozy situation is soon changed though with news that Dr. Nefarious is out to cause trouble by attempting to wipe out all organic life. To assist his diabolical scheme he's enlisted the help of the Tyhrranoids, a race of multi-eye aliens. Ratchet and Clank have to go back to Planet Veldin to take on these creatures and attempt to put a stop to Dr. Nefarious once and for all. Ratchet and Clank will also have to enlist the help of Captain Qwark to lead Q-Force which consists of a variety of memorable characters from previous games in the series, although you'll find some new ones here too.
The single player game is around 16 hours long and it's pure enjoyment from the first minute to the last. If you've played either of the first two games you'll find the game has everything which made the previous games so special. The RPG elements, the puzzles and the thrilling action are all here and help to make the game something very special. There are 15 weapons that you'll get to use in the game and most of these can be upgraded up to 4 times (the weapons will improve only if you use them enough though). These weapons can be quickly changed by pressing the triangle button and selecting the weapon of choice with the left analogue stick. The action does pause when selecting weapons in this fashion which means you won't have to worry about being taken out when changing your weapon. You can also hold down the L1 button to enable a first person mode which makes aiming a lot easier although you probably won't need to do this most of the time.
Of course now that we have online play Ratchet & Clank 3 could arguably be the best PlayStation 2 online experience to date. Siege, Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are the games on offer and they're very enjoyable and include a nice range of vehicles too. You'll all know what Deathmatch and Capture the Flag is about as they are pretty much standard modes now in online games. Siege sees two sides with a base and several nodes in between which can be captured and act as spawn points. It's obvious that a few of the PCs key online titles have influenced Insomniacs design choices for the online play because the game feels so familiar and plays surprisingly well. You can create your own games or jump into one against players of your own ability. The online modes do support voice communication which might prove tricky for deaf gamers. If you can't play online however, there's a split screen mode for 2 - 4 players.
Graphically Ratchet & Clank is once again impressive and the actions remains wonderfully smooth throughout. As with the other titles in the series Insomniac have gone with a bright colour palette for the game and this makes it easy on the eyes and cheerful to look at. The games cutscenes are once again impressive and with them being subtitled this time around (see the next paragraph) you'll not want to skip them as they are quite humorous. Ratchet & Clank 3 is an extremely polished title in terms of it's visual presentation and you have to wonder why some games look so ropey on the PlayStation 2 when developers such as Insomniac can manage to get so much out of the console.
Last year the big disappointment with Ratchet & Clank 2 was that the game didn't have any subtitles for the introduction and cutscenes. Insomniac Games have not repeated this mistake though and Ratchet & Clank 3 allows you to enable subtitles which will then allow you to fully appreciate the introduction and cutscenes. The subtitles are in white text and are placed on a black overlay which makes them very easy to read. The subtitles aren't colour coded but this doesn't really matter as the dialogue is never too lengthy and it's always fairly clear who's talking. Tutorial messages are shown in text and you can even access a tutorial for the online game which is also fully subtitled. Mission data can be accessed from the pause menu and you'll also find a Help Log which lists all the tutorial messages you've received and a Moves list that covers all the moves Ratchet and Clank can do.
Ratchet & Clank 3 is very impressive indeed and definitely one of the best games on the PlayStation 2 this year. Some will argue that the single player game is not all that different from Ratchet & Clank 2 and this is a fair point although it doesn't prevent it from being an excellent game. The online games are very enjoyable and will add to longevity to the game which is no bad thing. Best of all though Ratchet & Clank 3 is subtitled which means you'll be able to fully enjoy the game this year and given the quality of it this is very satisfying.
Game Rating: 9.0/10
The single player game may not be all that different from the one in Ratchet & Clank 2 but overall the game is a class act and one of the best games on the PlayStation 2 this year.
Thankfully Ratchet & Clank 3 is subtitled so you'll be able to fully enjoy the game.