Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (Review)
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
It’s been four years since Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time was released on the PlayStation 3, and after several shorter game releases, a sequel finally surfaces entitled Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Developer by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Into the Nexus will see players following their two protagonists as they make their way through five different worlds in this action-packed, third-person platformer.
At the beginning of this adventure, players will be able to choose between Cadet (Easy), Hero (Normal), and Legend (Hard). A Challenge mode is also unlocked once you complete the game, allowing you to go through the game again, but with all the weapons, armour, and health you obtained your first time around. When you’ve selected your difficulty, you’ll jump into the game as Ratchet, carrying your trusty pal Clank around. This time, Ratchet is in charge of escorting the cold-hearted Space Witch, Vendra Prog, and her brother Neftin to the Vartaz Detention Center, when the siblings pull off an escape that leaves our heroes stranded far away from their destination. Eventually, Ratchet and Clank will find their way to the planet Yerek, and begin the hunt for Vendra and Neftin. Newcomers be wary, as some of the main plot points and references require you to play A Crack in Time beforehand, as there are many characters that make cameos (such as Talwyn Apogee) and act as if everybody, including the player, know what’s going on based on events from the previous game. For example, the main villain has an entire backstory that isn’t explained in this game, yet returning players will understand her motivations, as much of it was seen in A Crack in Time.
If you were hoping to use Clank this time around, or have a choice between him and Ratchet, you may be disappointed, as Clank can only be used during instances with very simple 2D platforming missions. It’s too bad, too, as the platforming missions (while integrated into the storyline) feel more like filler and an attempt to satiate players’ longing to utilize their robotic buddy than a challenging feature of the game. As far as the 3D platforming environment, Clank will nestle safely on Ratchet’s back while you hop, shoot, and hover your way around the different planets, and he provides commentary when the storyline deems it necessary. The witty banter between Ratchet and Clank during Into the Nexus is a welcomed form of entertainment, and brings fans back to the kind of endearing voice acting they heard during A Crack in Time.
Many of the familiar weapons return to this game (like the Fusion Grenade that acts like a Sniper Rifle), with a couple new toys like the Vortex Cannon, which shoots a black hole out that drags your enemies into the void, or the Winterizer that turns your enemies into immovable snowmen. While firing the Winterizer, the music also changes to Christmas–themed – a nice added touch that’s sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. Players swap between weapons using the Triangle Button on their controller, aim with L1, and fire with R2, and there are a total twelve weapons in total players can get in the game. While many of the weapons are neat to use once or twice (like the Winterizer), they don’t offer much in the way of a new tactical advantage, and begin to feel redundant rather than exciting when you pick up new items.
Each weapon seems to have the same basic strengths, and perform the same job just in different animated ways. Most people will try a new weapon out once or twice and revert back to the basic attacks, as other than the initial appeal there doesn’t seem to be a tactical difference between them. That being said, the weapon fire and game mechanics are smooth in their transitions, whether on solid ground or in the air, and graphical glitches or issues seem to be few and far between. The only time you may run into choppy or slow graphics are when the screen is overrun with enemies, making for a generally solid playthrough with little to no interruption.
Exploring each planet is something that helps to make Into the Nexus feel a little less claustrophobic, though the game is still sectioned off and linear enough to keep you on track. Nevertheless, if you get lost you can easily pull up the Planet Map with the Select Button on your controller. Every planet visited has its own unique appeal and style, with 3D-animated CG scenes that are beautiful while still maintaining their rubbery, cartoony nature. The layout and design of Kragg is reminiscent of the planet Corellia from SW:TOR, showing smooth grey pavement with gold trimmings, and soft lighting bathing the entire area, and the slightly more cartoonish greenery growing on the broken down, wood-panelled houses with submarine windows in Silox almost feel like a less science fiction game and more like a pirate adventure.
Finding a game that can be entertaining for adults and still appropriate for children can be difficult to accomplish. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus fits the bill with its less realistic cartoon violence and fun-loving characters. The game itself is much shorter than A Crack in Time, being only about five hours in total from start to finish with only the Challenge mode to entice new playthroughs, but for what the Into the Nexus offers, it’s a solid buy for 3D platformer fans or previous Ratchet & Clank series lovers alike.
About This Post