Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: High Impact Games
Release Date: Out Now
The Ratchet & Clank series is one that never seems to disappoint. For this reason alone, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for the PSP has been a highly anticipated title. The series has always managed to combine humour with top class action and superb weapons. It also helps that the series has always had great production values and even on the PlayStation 2 it's managed to look great. In fact it's fair to say that what the PSP really needs is a quality Ratchet & Clank game to show just what the PSP is capable of. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters certainly does not disappoint and the game is one of the most impressive I've seen on the handheld console.
The game opens with Ratchet & Clank sunning themselves on a beach. They are approached by a little girl who wants to take some photos of Ratchet in action for her report on heroes. Ratchet obliges and this opening segment acts as a nice gentle tutorial. It all goes wrong however, as the girl is kidnapped by some robots, and it's up to Ratchet and Clank to rescue her. Initially it appears that the kidnappers wanted the girl but in the aftermath of the kidnapping, Clank discovers what appears to be a Technomite Artefact. Ratchet doesn't believe it's a Technomite Artefact. In fact he doesn't even believe that the Technomites exist at all. Nevertheless they work on the assumption that it is a Technomite Artefact and head off to find the young girl.
If you've played any of the previous Ratchet & Clank titles you'll know pretty much what to expect here. It's the same blend of action and platform game elements that the series has always carried off so well and it's just as impressive as in the previous games that appeared on the PlayStation 2. The weapons (such as the Acid Bomb Glove and the Lacerator) are once again very impressive and they level-up with continued use, so essentially the more you use a weapon the more powerful it will become. Weapon upgrades can also be purchased. From time to time you'll find superior armour that can be equipped. Even your health is upgraded as you progress through the game which is just as well as enemies become more difficulty and more numerous.
The single-player side of the game is just as enjoyable as ever and you're probably looking at around a dozen hours to complete the game in its entirety. When you're done with the single-player game, there's some multiplayer fun to be had. You can choose to play either over an ad hoc or infrastructure connection which is certainly good to see as not enough PSP games support the infrastructure mode. When playing the multiplayer game it's not quite the same experience as the modes, such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag etc, focus on the shooter elements and not really on the platform game elements. Still the multiplayer modes support four players and they are fairly enjoyable.
You may be forgiven for thinking that Size Matters might not look as impressive on the PSP as the other Ratchet & Clank games do on the PlayStation 2. That assumption would be wrong however, as Size Matters looks as impressive as any other game in the Ratchet & Clank series. The character models are as impressive as ever, the weapons look superb and levels are as colourful and well designed as you could hope for. The general presentation is as slick as ever and there are no performance issues with respectable load times and the frame rate generally impressive. Due to there not being a right analogue stick, you do have to control the camera with the L and R shoulder buttons and whilst this works fairly well it's not as comfortable as another analogue stick but that's a limitation of the PSP rather than a problem with the game. You can set the camera to move automatically if you prefer and it does a decent job.
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters does offer subtitles although they are disabled by default. The cutscene subtitles are displayed in a blue tinted dialogue box which makes them easy to read. You don't have any character names next to the dialogue to indicate who is saying what but this shouldn't cause any problems. The tutorial messages are all subtitled. All communications you receive during a mission are subtitled. The game auto-saves your progress and an icon in the bottom right hand corner shows you when the game has been saved. You're also notified in text when a temporary checkpoint has been reached. In short, deaf gamers shouldn't have any problems with Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.
The PSP is beginning to get its fair share of great games and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters definitely deserves to be classed as one of those. The game is essentially the same formula that made the PlayStation 2 instalments so enjoyable and it's very impressive indeed to see that winning formula being translated so well to the PSP. Whether you have a personal preference for platform or action games you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. Even if you have never played a Ratchet & Clank game before you'll really enjoy the experience as it's so entertaining and accessible.
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is one of the best games you'll see on the PSP this year and can definitely be classed as a must own title.