Day: May 1, 2021

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Gamescom Impressions

One of the most anticipated PlayStation 5 exclusives is the latest entry in the Ratchet & Clank franchise.

Some early Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart gameplay trailers and other promotional footage reveal that Dr. Nefarious is at it again. He crashes an event celebrating our heroes and attempts to use a Dimensionator to blast Ratchet & Clank into an alternate dimension where he’s an emperor, succeeding in all of his conquering endeavors.

The Dimensionator opens up rifts to alternate realities, which means we’re going to see a bunch of fan-favorite enemies. It also means there’s a possible calamitous multi-dimension implosion in dire need of prevention.

The opening sequence is one of the most impressive scripted events I’ve seen in a video game. Rifts tear through the reality all around Ratchet & Clank. Our Lombax protagonist has a Rift Tether, a gadget sort of like the Swingshot, only it swings him into another dimension… or pulls that dimension into his? It’s a truly trippy mechanic, seamless and visually stunning, to say the least.

In just 8-minutes of gameplay, Ratchet & Clank go through a high-octane rush of platforming adventure — shattering through the fabric of reality. Giant creatures fall from the sky. The Thugs-4-Less rebrand, “Goons-4-Less,” Sand Sharks, Robot Mutts, even a Kraken also attack. Hopefully, we get a Blargian Snagglebeast rematch too. The duo falls down various rifts into other planets in other dimensions. They land on the backs of flying creatures and gleam on grind rails.

The level design is vibrant and layered, with excellent moments of verticality. Controls seem fine-tuned and seeing Ratchet sideflip off a platform evading Goons-4-Less fire, pulling up the quick-select menu, switching to the Bomb Glove, then exploding the arena in a chaotic cluster of bolts brings me the purest joy.

I imagine all the weapon fire and collision make the most of that PS5 controller’s haptic feedback. Every burst has believable energy, props to the sound design for cranking that immersion all the way up.

Some other impressions; Clank looks mad glossy. Dude is shining. I love how the world’s inhabitants react to seeing the duo do battle in the city, and all of the dialogue is classic Ratchet & Clank.

Ratchet maintains his cool, punchy personality. Clank’s quips are wholesome, and his inquisitive nature and morality remain adorable. Damn, I wish I had a super-genius robot homie to go on adventures with… instead, I have Siri spying on me and selling all of my questionable searches to advertisers.

I am always blown away by the Ratchet & Clank franchise’s character designs. They all have masterful squash-and-stretch animation — and filmic expressiveness.

The gameplay trailer and other teasers all end on the reveal of Rivet, another Lombax — most likely filling the role of Ratchet in her particular dimension with Ratchet filling her role in his dimension. Aside from the shared naming convention, the two certainly have similar personality traits.

It’s been a while since Ratchet & Clank used its narrative themes to ride for environmental sustainability and anti-capitalism with the battle against Chairman Drek. Still, the series has maintained fun storylines. This newest entry is shaping up to have one of the more complex narratives in the franchise and is doing phenomenally in building fan intrigue.

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to Allagesofhr@gmail.com

Rohil Aniruth is a producer and staff writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on Twitter @yorohil & see his portfolio at rohil.work

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart State of Play Impressions

During PlayStation’s April 2021 State of Play, we received more stunning gameplay from the much anticipated Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and some juicy deets on the different mechanics players can expect. 

We open on a Nefarious Juggernaught attacking Rivet & Clank in the pursuit of a missing Infobot. Ratchet has also crash-landed in this dimension, in the chaotic, sprawling urban setting of Nefarious City — where Emperor Nefarious, this dimension’s more competent version of Ratchet’s Dr. Nefarious, rules through propaganda.

You had me at “dismantle a regime.” 

The world is one of the most vibrant I’ve seen in gaming. There is a metric-ass ton of activity going on in Nefarious City; sprawling skyscrapers, space crafts jetting around, floating screens and bots, sparks of electricity, holograms, and rifts opening up — all emitting different lighting sources.

It’s bloody impressive how the developers have managed to bring Nefarious City to life and running with minimal frame drops (in this footage). The environment is beautiful. 

Insomniac Games has always shined brightest in its characterization. Ratchet & Clank has some of the most personable, expressive characters in gaming thanks to phenomenal squash-and-stretch animation and sublime humorous writing. Even the smaller moments of scenario immersion dialogue, like Ratchet asking city locals if they’ve seen his charming robot-BFF, Clank, are excellent. 

Clank will be paired up with Rivet for a good chunk of the adventure from the looks of things, and Ratchet has a few more moves to get his parkour on without Clank’s Heli-Pack. Ratchet can chain together dashes and wall-runs, allowing for slicker, more fluid platforming than seen in the previous titles. Can’t wait to ninja-warrior my way to some rare bolts.

The combat will take full advantage of the PlayStation 5 controller’s haptic feedback. The player’s pressure on inputs will shift up how various weapons in Ratchet’s arsenal will fire — and lord, those bits of scrap shrapnel splintering off the bots you destroy is glorious. Particle FX on 100.  

Again, the rift mechanics are jaw-dropping. Ratchet and Rivet use a Rift Teather to pull themselves into alternate dimensions, sometimes into whole other planets, and these aren’t contained arenas — you’re being pulled into completed worlds. I wonder what deal Insomniac struck with The Game Development Devil to pull this off so seamlessly with no significant loading times. 

The State of Play sees Rivet & Clank crash-landed in a Sargasso swamp. It will be a real treat to see some favorite locations further realized and expanded on with the new tech. As expected, Rivet is a somewhat clumsy badass, instantly loveable. She’s actually more of a badass than Ratchet — she lost her arm fighting with the resistance against Emperor Nefarious, so she just built her own robot arm. Respect.

Her dynamic with Clank also seems wholesome. We see Rivet riding speedy swamp creatures and traversing Pocket Dimensions, which have a similar feeling to the dream sequence in Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. It’s like a hazy collision of different dimensions, adding even more environmental variety. I think I spotted a floating big Big Al in one of these Pocket Dimensions. We’ll for sure bump into a few familiar faces, but be warned, they may be a tad different than the versions we remember from Ratchet’s dimension. 

Rivet & Ratchet will share an inventory through the weapons vendor, which is a smart way to deal with two heroes on their respective paths without inconveniencing the player. Also, side note: I absolutely adore the attention paid to the different ways characters hold their various weapons. A subtle animation detail that makes characters feel real. 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will feature open areas alongside the linear paths. There’ll be arena challenges, aerial combat, and Clank dimension puzzles. The game will also feature a ton of accessibility options, and we love to see that. More studios need to be forthcoming with their game’s accessibility during showcases. Getting excited for a game only to purchase it and have it be an unnecessarily, unintentionally difficult, or unplayable experience is a major f***ing bummer. 

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to Allagesofhr@gmail.com

Rohil Aniruth is a producer and staff writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on Twitter @yorohil & see his portfolio at rohil.work