Published by Sony Computer
Developed by Idol Minds/Insomniac Games
Here’s another trilogy of classic games from the PlayStation 2 archives. This collection features the first three Ratchet & Clank games which have had their resolution increased to look better on HD displays. In a nutshell that’s all there is to say about this package and in many respects you couldn’t ask for more given that we are dealing with three PlayStation 2 classics. However, the original releases of the first two games in the series were not the best for deaf gamers so let’s take a look to see if that oversight has been rectified for this compilation.
Whereas the original PlayStation console had Crash Bandicoot, and the early games in that series were excellent, the PlayStation 2 had Ratchet & Clank. In many ways the Ratchet & Clank games surpassed those early Crash Bandicoot games. The platformer elements were just as tight and responsive but the humour and the action were significantly better. The characters of the animal-like Ratchet and the small robot Clank are enduring characters and can be considered as one of the most memorable gaming double acts over the last decade. It’s not just the game’s main characters however as the supporting cast, such as the egotistic Captain Quark, have always managed to provide some laughs and keep the storylines interesting.
Whilst the humour isn’t something that has always been accessible for deaf gamers, due to a lack of subtitles, the other strong elements of the series, the platformer elements and the combat, can be fully appreciated. The platformer elements have generally been excellent with tight and responsive controls allowing for a minimum of frustration whilst traversing the large universe of Ratchet & Clank. Likewise the combat is also excellent. There’s always been a wide range of weapons that you’ll collect whilst playing the games and from the second game onwards these weapons even level-up with use and become more powerful. The combat in all three games, and particularly the second and third, is excellent and hasn’t dated at all. Check out our reviews of Ratchet and Clank 2 and Ratchet & Clank 3, the game which introduced online play to the series, for full details.
Visually The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy looks good and the developers have done a good job in making these PlayStation 2 games feel at home on the PlayStation 3. The only disappointment is that the game’s cut scenes are in their original resolution and haven’t received the upgrade that was given to the main game. As a result of this you’ll see thick black borders and either side of the cut scenes when playing the game on a HD display. Each of the games offers PlayStation Network Trophies and support for 3D televisions. The only grounds for complaint with the game’s presentation is that nothing other than the three games has been included. Surely for a series as beloved as Ratchet & Clank some extras could have been included if only to celebrate the series’ tenth anniversary.
Of course the main question that deaf gamers will want to ask is whether the first two games in this trilogy are now fully accessible for them. Disappointingly the answer is no. Subtitles can be enabled in Ratchet & Clank and most of the in-game dialogue conversations are subtitled but there’s a good of dialogue that isn’t subtitled. The cut scenes don’t have any subtitles meaning you’ll miss out on some of the game’s storyline and most of its humour. Ratchet & Clank 2 isn’t subtitled at all. There’s an option for subtitles in the game’s option menu but it’s greyed out and cannot be selected. The third game fares better with in-game and cut scene dialogue being subtitled and is the only game of the three that could be deemed accessible. Tutorial information for all three games is given in text.
The PlayStation 2 was blessed with great platformer action games and the first three Ratchet & Clank titles that we have here are some of the best that the PlayStation 2 had to offer. Priced at under £30 this trilogy is a package that’s very easy to recommend for most people. However, on the whole there isn’t a lot of support for deaf people across the three games with only the third game providing adequate subtitles. In terms of gameplay the games are still excellent however. The controls are as responsive as ever, the combat is still a lot of fun and at no point does it ever become tedious. Trophy support for each game is welcome but it is a little disappointing that no additional content has been included to make this more appealing for longstanding fans of the series. In short you’re getting three truly classic games but it’s just a shame they hadn’t been fully subtitled.