For this year’s E3, Insomniac gave Ratchet fans a closer look at just what its series reboot is going to look like, and what it looks like is a true return to form for the Ratchet series! After making the like of All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault, it looked like Insomniac was determined to find a new direction to take Ratchet and Clank in. However, with the release of Into the Nexus in 2013 and now this reboot in 2016, it looks like our favorite Lombax/robot duo is back doing what they do best: platforming their way across the galaxy and blowing stuff up in new and creative ways!
Yes, we will once again be traveling the galaxy with our heroes as they shoot up enemies and entertain with their trademark dry wit, but honestly that’s exactly what a Ratchet game needs to be. It’s commendable that Insomniac tried to explore new directions for the series with All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault, but neither cooperative play nor tower defense proved to be a favorable addition to the established formula of light platforming and shooting aliens with ridiculous guns. In general, perhaps those additions struck fans as complicating something that used to be simple. Personally, neither really felt like a real Ratchet & Clank game; more like spin-offs put out there until the real game came out. Into the Nexus definitely felt like a refreshing step into familiar territory, but its shorter-than-average length held it back from feeling like the full and proper entry I was hoping it would be. However, if this trailer proves to be an accurate depiction of the final product, we’ll be seeing changes that will feel like a natural progression of the classic Ratchet & Clank gameplay rather than the other, less delicate changes we’ve observed so far.
Based on what we’ve been shown so far, this is going to be a remake in all the right ways. The game is returning to where it all began, but it looks like the story won’t quite be playing out the way we remember. All our favorites are their along with the voices we’ve come to associate with them, but unless I’ve just forgotten “Brax”, we’ll be getting some new additions to the cast! Supporting characters have rarely been memorable in the Ratcht games, so hopefully we’ll get a new one to add to the cast of fan-favorites!
They’ve returned to the classic mix of platforming and crazy guns, but it appears to be polished to a level we haven’t yet seen in the series. Ratchet’s move set looks familiar, but the way he moves seems so much more fluid than it was before. Ratchet turns on a dime, and seamlessly transitions from free controls to strafing. The environments he’ll be traversing also appear to have had an upgrade. In contrast to past Ratchet games, whose environments tended to function purely as either gauntlets or arenas, the hazards and impediments Ratchet was forced to overcome in the trailer’s train segment showed us something that actually felt alive, and made Ratchet feel more like he was actually a part of the game world. The guns on display made for a good tease as well. The standard blaster was there of course, but Insomniac’s creativity was also on display with the “Pixel Gun” and that flamethrower-whip thing, and the especially the grand return of the one and only Mr. Zurkon!
As a Ratchet & Clank fan, this trailer has me feeling very hopeful for both the upcoming game and the future of the series. It would be easy to look at this game and see it as a mere return to a tired formula; it is based on the same gameplay as most every Ratchet game released since the series began in 2001 after all. However, I don’t think that would be an accurate appraisal of what’s on display here. Additions and refinement aside, if the base gameplay is inherently good, then it’s not something that has an inherent expiration date and therefore there’s no reason to change it (something many of us learned from All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault). What we’re seeing here is a long-awaited return to form that started with Into the Nexus and which will hopefully be firmly established with this latest entry in the series. I don’t about the rest of you, but I can hardly wait!
Who knows, maybe the tie-in movie might actually wind up being good too!
Any other Ratchet & Clank fans out there? What’s your take on the trailer?