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A familiar trek through Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Andrew Yoon, @scxzor
September 11, 2009
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Insomniac Games has a winning formula with its Ratchet & Clank franchise. Problem is? They're almost too reliably good. The franchise has been known for its mix of platforming and sci-fi gunplay, and the latest, A Crack in Time, is no different. The requisite improvements necessary for a sequel are all in play: better (and more stylized) graphics, more explosions, and even more powerful weapons. However, A Crack in Time has a genuine chance of being the best Ratchet & Clank ever, thanks to its increased focus on challenging platform stages.

The weapons have always been the stars of the franchise, but A Crack in Time's time-bending theme makes for some interesting and ingenious moments that are, put simply, fun. You've already read about the unique Clank stages, in which players must record copies of themselves to solve puzzles. These interludes make for a far more thoughtful game than previous iterations in the franchise and emphasize the kind of depth Insomniac is trying to add to the experience.

Gallery: Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time | 34 Photos

A Crack in Time feels like the most full-fledged game in the franchise so far, adding space exploration and weapons customization. However, long-time followers of the series will most appreciate the story. There is a very hefty narrative at play, as A Crack in Time promises to conclude the trilogy of Ratchet & Clank Future games. Unlike the previous iterations in the franchise, the two main characters start in very different places. The narrative, at least at first, feels somewhat disjointed, as it feels like two separate games crashed into one. It will take an encyclopedic knowledge of the series to keep track of exactly who's who and how all the events of the game transpired. There is a cute "previously on" segment that starts the game (and cleverly hides the mandatory installation process), but it serves more as a refresher of events from Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty rather than a CliffsNotes summary for the uninitiated.

Some may be off-put by the incredibly lengthy Final Fantasy-esque opening cinematic that reveals exactly what happened to Clank, and why he's of such great importance to the Zoni and, more importantly, Dr. Nefarious. Others will revel in the stunning animation work created by Insomniac. The writing, once again, is as irreverent as ever, with pop culture throwaways and puns littering the script. Like the gameplay, the writing is unsurprisingly funny, in the comfortingly consistent way Insomniac is known for. Captain Quark, who accompanies Ratchet on his adventure, proves to be a real gem, offering colorful (and oftentimes absurd) commentary throughout the adventure. We're glad to see him back, especially after his absence in Quest for Booty (something the game directly acknowledges in some jokes).

While A Crack in Time won't push any revolutionary boundaries, it's incredible polish, beautiful graphics, and solid gameplay, have us eager to play more.










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