Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: PlayStation Studios
Genre(s): Action, Platformer
Platform: PlayStation 5
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 11/6/2021
A copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer.
Ratchet and Clank are PlayStation icons, with their futuristic escapades giving 3D-adventuring masterclasses ever since the PlayStation 2 days. I remember playing and loving the original game, whilst every entry since has been top class too. They have been welcome faces on the platform since 2002, with their adventures certainly standing the test of time.
Given their history, it’s only fitting that they make their triumphant return in the debut year of the PlayStation 5. Whilst we’ve seen plenty of excellent exclusives though, this feels like it truly harnesses the power of the console. Beautiful visuals? You got it. Immersive DualSense functionality? It’s here. A brilliant (and very clever) use of the SSD? Yep, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart does it all.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart truly demonstrates what the PlayStation 5 is capable of. It also just so happens to be a a lot of fun to play, with the dynamic duo’s latest adventure a revolutionary release in the stellar series.
An interdimensional escapade
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart continues the story told across the previous entries, with the titular protagonists established and appreciated heroes in the galaxy – so much so that they’re actually having a celebration in their honour at the start of the game. It’s nice to be loved, right? Of course, things take a sour turn when Clank reveals he has fixed the Dimensionator (a weapon that lets users travel between dimensions) in order for Ratchet to find his Lombax kin. Series villain Doctor Nefarious ends up stealing it, causing the dimensions to fracture and fall apart on themselves.
This sees Ratchet and Clank separated and in a whole new dimension, but one that feels oddly familiar. It’s here that Clank meets Rivet, a female Lombax looking to take down ‘Emperor Nefarious’. Yep, it turns out that this dimension’s take on the antagonist is much more successful and a real threat – not only to this new dimension, but to ALL of those across the universe. It’s up to Ratchet, Clank, Rivet and fellow newcomer Kit to stop him.
The tale offers exactly what you’d expect from the series, with intergalactic hijinks aplenty as players travel between planets. It’s charming, quirky, and inoffensive, albeit with no real surprises that’ll catch players off-guard. It was nice to see a new Lombax hero in Rivet though, who fits the bill perfectly as an ongoing protagonist in the series. It was cool to see a take on Dr Nefarious that wasn’t erratic and completely useless too…
Fidelity or Performance?
One of the first things players will have to do is decide which graphical mode to play the game in. There are three in total, but I’m only going to detail two: Fidelity and Performance RT.
‘Fidelity’ offers the most luscious visuals with extra detail and lighting. It really looks magnificent and, if you excuse the cliché, almost like a Pixar movie. You won’t find many games that look this pretty, but it is limited to a 30fps frame rate.
‘Performance RT’ on the other hand isn’t quite as pretty as Fidelity nor does it feature as much environment density. It runs at a lower resolution too, so it isn’t quite as sharp. However, it still looks good and includes ray-tracing, which adds more flair to each environment in the game. It does all of this at a consistent 60fps frame rate too, which looks silky smooth in-game.
The best one to play on will ultimately come down to player preference, but after trying them both I went for Performance RT. Whilst it wasn’t as pretty as Fidelity, it still looked stunning and the 60fps frame rate made everything look marvellous in motion. Switching between them both regularly actually made the 30fps frame rate of Fidelity feel a little jarring – if you’re intending to play in Fidelity mode, I’d recommend not checking out the other modes otherwise it might make everything feel a bit sluggish.
Tools of Destruction
As far as gameplay is concerned, a lot of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart offers exactly what players would expect from the series. Varied levels with different challenges, insane weapons, plenty of enemies to shoot to pieces… it’s all there. There are plenty of different collectibles too, so players will certainly be kept busy. That being said, I managed to 100% and platinum the game in twelve-hours, so it isn’t too long. But hey, it’s quality over quantity, right?
And believe me, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is oozing in quality. The varied weapons feel outrageous to use, whether that’s blasting away at foes with the Enforcer, charging and unleashing bursts of energy with the Negatron Collider, slicing away at enemies with the series’ iconic Buzz Blades, or even atomising foes with the mini-gun style Blackhole Storm. And, of course, you can call upon the help of minions with the Glove of Doom. There are plenty of different weapons to use and they’re all befitting of the series with their insane powers. Best of all, they add plenty of variety to each showdown, with the switching of them adding destructive style to each battle and ensuring nothing in the game grows stale. They’re even better when upgraded too, so there’s more to look forward to as players progress through the game.
More than just running and gunning
There are plenty of showcases outside of battling, especially with the inter-dimensional antics. Using the power of the PlayStation 5’s SSD, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart will often send players to different dimensions and entirely new planets in milliseconds, both in the outrageously brilliant set pieces and when hunting collectibles in the varied pocket dimensions. I was worried this would feel a bit gimmicky, but they were some of my favourite moments of the game. It never failed to impress me how smooth the transitions felt, with Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart’s interdimensional shifting simply not possible on previous generations of consoles.
The set pieces of the game are magnificent regardless of dimension-shifting though. Whether racing with an alien slug-like creature, evading the destructive powers of enemies, or avoiding a GIGANTIC robot on rails, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart adds plenty of variety to all of the traditional gameplay to keep players on their toes throughout.
There are some neat additions that add a refreshing twist to the formula too. The hacking mini-game sees players control a spider-like robot and blast away at viruses; whilst unspectacular in design, it felt different enough to the main game to be a worthy addition. Then there are the dimensional anomalies that see Clank having to solve some tricky puzzles. Ever play Lemmings or, more fittingly, Krusty’s Fun House? It’s exactly like those, with Clank having to use orbs with different powers in order to lead a group of minion-Clanks to the exit. It might sound a little baffling, but they were always fun to solve… I’d actually be happy to play a game consisting of JUST them.
I had an absolute blast playing through Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, but it isn’t completely flawless. Some of the enemies in the game could grow repetitive, with the same foes faced over and over. This wouldn’t be so bad if there were more varied boss battles, but they’re often the same too. Of course, the series’ strengths have often come with the variety of its arsenal as opposed to the foes players face, but it would have been nice to see a few more enemy types.
The flying section found later in the game was poor too. I don’t know how perfectionists like Insomniac Games made flying feel so unsatisfying, but it was just frustrating. It’s only a short-lived section so it’s not too bad, but it’s one players won’t want to re-visit.
Then there is the DualSense functionality, which can be hit and miss. The haptic feedback is OUTSTANDING, with weapons, cutscenes, and different actions all feeling super immersive in-game. Players will feel the pulse of everything, whether they’re blasting away at foes or trotting about on unfamiliar terrain. The adaptive triggers, though? They got tiresome and made shooting feel awkward at times. Admittedly, some weapons feel great, but others could feel like a hindrance to use.
Whilst Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart does have some minor flaws, it is as close to perfect that the series has ever been. Insomniac Games have done an outstanding job utilising the PlayStation 5’s power, with everything in the game feeling sublime. Whether it’s when shooting through enemies with the insane weapons, exploring the stunning worlds, or being blasted through dimensions in some spectacular action-packed set-pieces, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is simply jaw dropping and a must-own game for PlayStation 5 owners.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can purchase Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart on the PlayStation Store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.