Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction PlayStation 3
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Insomniac Games
Release Date: Out Now
If we're being honest, we would have to say it's been a lukewarm year for the PlayStation 3. Quite a few titles have been put back until 2008 and quite a few multi-format games have been better on the Xbox 360. That said there have been some games that have stood out such as Resistance: Fall of Man and Colin McRae DiRT. Thankfully we now have another PlayStation 3 title that's truly worth the asking price in Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. It may not be the Ratchet & Clank experience that everyone was hoping for but it really stands out as one of the better PlayStation 3 games to have arrived in 2007.
The game begins with Ratchet and Clank on the planet Kerwan, preparing for takeoff. They are just running through a few checks when they receive a message from Captain Qwark who, in a roundabout way, is pleading for help from Ratchet and Clank as he's being held prisoner. Even though their craft isn't ready for takeoff, Ratchet and Clank rush to help Qwark. It soon becomes obvious however, that it's Ratchet who is being targeted and his pursuer is Emperor Percival Tachyon. He's not happy that Ratchet is the last remaining Lombax and is determined to distinguish the race entirely. The game's storyline is more humorous than it is interesting but the action itself more than compensates for any deficiencies in the storyline.
As in previous Ratchet & Clank titles, the game involves using some crazy weapons and platform game elements. You'll mainly control Ratchet but there are a few levels when you'll control Clank. The weapon choice is again impressive ranging from the ever-present wrench to the powerful Ryno IV. As before, your weapons are upgradeable and the more you use a specific weapon, the more it will level-up. Once again you'll be collecting the bolts from your defeated enemies and you'll use them to purchase various types of weapons, armour and items from the vendors you'll encounter during the game. Some of the items in the game really are bizarre and add to the game's unique humour. The Groovitron for instance, is a type of disco ball grenade that causes your enemies to boogie which makes them easy to defeat. There's also the Transmorpher which turns your enemies into penguins. The motion-sensing abilities of the Sixaxis have been put to various uses within the game and the results are fairly good. There are some puzzles to solve where you'll need to tilt the controller and there are times when you'll control Ratchet's flight with the controller and these work fairly well.
Tools of Destruction has taken almost everything that made the previous games in the series great and adds a nice polish to it. I say almost everything because there's one thing that hasn't been included this time around: multiplayer modes. It's really disappointing that the first Ratchet & Clank game to arrive on the PlayStation 3 doesn't offer any online play, especially when you consider how good a multiplayer experience the series has been on the PlayStation 2. With the PlayStation 3 attempting to provide a good online experience for gamers you would have thought that Tools of Destruction would have come with an online mode. Sadly it doesn't provide any online or offline multiplayer modes.
There can be little doubt that Tools of Destruction is one of the best looking PlayStation 3 titles to date. The game keeps the same visual style as the previous games in the series but with the extra power of the PlayStation 3, the developers have really been able to increase the visual quality. Many PlayStation 3 titles thus far have been plagued with performance issues but Tools of Destruction has a frame rate that rarely flinches, even when the action is really intense and there are a lot of enemies on screen at once. From a visual standpoint at least, Tools of Destruction is impressive.
The game does offer subtitles but they are disabled by default. The subtitles allow you to enjoy the game's cutscenes and follow the storyline. The subtitles don't have any character names or portraits placed alongside the text but it's always clear who is saying what. All tutorial messages are displayed in text. Mission data and objectives can be accessed from the menu that is displayed when you press the start button. Clank occasionally gives you pieces of information and these are not subtitled. Thankfully they are of no great importance but it would still have been good if these comments were subtitled.
Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction is just the kind of game that the PlayStation 3 needs right now. It's a quality game the like of which you can't currently find on the Xbox 360 or Wii. It's a very similar experience to past Ratchet & Clank games but many will only see that as a good thing. The real disappointment comes from the fact that there is no multiplayer content here. Given the quality of the single-player experience though, this omission is easy to overlook. It's definitely one of the better PlayStation 3 games to date.