Joystiq impressions: Ratchet & Clank Future (PS3)

First off, does Ratchet look this good? The answer is clear: yes. But, is that enough to make the upcoming PS3-exclusive Ratchet & Clank Future worthwhile? Not necessarily.

As innovative and new as the graphics may appear, the gameplay feels identical to previous iterations of the Ratchet series. Of course, that's not a bad thing -- the franchise has rightfully earned its legions of fans. However, we couldn't help but feel as though we've played Tools of Destruction before. It feels more cinematic than before, but we were running, gunning, and swinging our wrench as though nothing had changed. Some may point to the new Groove-a-tron weapon, a colorful new weapon in Ratchet's arsenal. But, there are no significant gameplay ramifications: enemies will simply dance, instead of attack Ratchet. There's also a free-fall sequence, where the player must tilt the Sixaxis controller to navigate Ratchet past flying cars. But, these tilt controls do little to add a feeling of innovation to the series.

The polish of the game's presentation is certainly commendable, but we were puzzled by the lack of an adequate targeting system. The on-rails platforming, a series trademark, had us bored. Jumping left or right to avoid oncoming trains was tedious, at best. The utter simplicity of the sequence had us feeling like we were simply going through the motions. We're also disappointed to know that Insomniac has opted to remove a crucial component of the franchise in this latest rendition: multiplayer is gone.

Tools of Destruction might not end up being a bad game, but it did very little to convince us otherwise. We're sure that hardcore Ratchet fans will love it for its story, which will focus on the mysterious origins of its star. Although playing it safe might work for Insomniac and its fans, it's pretty obvious to us that team spent a lot more time focused on its graphics technology than what really matters: gameplay. As it is now, Tools of Destruction is an uninspired experience, one that feels like a backwards step for the series.


This article was originally published on Joystiq.