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.

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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

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