"So the engine had to be cut back to make it work as a downloadable title, right?" I asked, seeing no evidence that this was the case, but assuming the worst. "Actually," the Sony rep replied, "Quest For Booty looks slightly better in places than Tools of Destruction. We've improved the lighting engine since then." My mind boggled, I continue playing the upcoming downloadable "sequel" to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction.
It's clear from the start that the emphasis is placed more firmly on exploration in Quest For Booty. There are plenty of characters milling around with which you can chat and as you perform the necessary tasks, a larger and larger area will open up to you. After a Metroid-style "oh noes, I lost all my weapons!" opening, your wrench is your only friend. You'll collect a few weapons as you progress, but much of the game's emphasis is on using the wrench's new ability.
Your wrench is infused with electromagnetic energy, which allows it to manipulate objects from afar. There are plenty of puzzles that utilize this in order to open your path as you try to find your pal Clank. It's not a huge addition, but it does the job of breaking up the usual rail-grinding, platforming and energy-tether swinging.
Quest For Booty is an experiment of Insomniac's; the game has been in development since more-or-less the end of Tools of Destruction and, depending on its reception, could be the first in a series of episodes. Or it could just be a one-off bridge between two Blu-ray games.
At "around the 2 gigabyte mark," Quest For Booty is a large download, but when you consider that it currently playtests at between three and four hours, this is a small price to pay for the game. As is the $15 cost. Instead, the game could probably have been downloadable content for Tools Of Destruction, but as a standalone game it has the potential to pull more people into the series.
Sadly, Quest For Booty will not support trophies and, while it will be out before the end of the Summer, there's no solid release date. They're aiming for a worldwide simultaneous release and Europeans will be able to pick the game up as a Blu-ray disc as well as downloading it from the PSN. This is something SCEE specifically asked Insomniac for and the disc will not feature any extra content.
I'll take all the Ratchet & Clank I can get, so this is a must-grab. If you're not into the series, this game won't be for you. If you haven't yet given it a shot, $15 seems like the perfect price to dip your feet and give it a go.