It is hard to believe the Ratchet and Clank series has been around for over a decade. In this timeframe, five full games and more than a couple successful spinoffs have added to the ever-expanding universe of Ratchet and Clank. The tiny robot and lombax have etched their names into the history of video games and will be forever remembered by their quirky jokes, cartoony animation style, and bountiful arsenal of destructive weapons. The latest addition, Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus, calls our heroic duo out for another adventure and serves as an epilogue to the Ratchet and Clank Future saga.
What Is It?
Into the Nexus starts off with our heroes transporting a space witch by the name of Vendra Progg. Their ship is attacked by Vendra’s brother Neftin along with the help of mercenaries known as Thugs 4 Less. After failing to fend off the attack, Ratchet and Clank find themselves stranded on a planet in an abandoned sector of space while Vendra is free to complete her own grand scheme. Our heroes take it upon themselves to bring Vendra and Neftin to justice, and along the way, they learn the mysterious source of Vendra’s powers.
As with all Ratchet and Clank titles, gameplay with Ratchet involves intense gun fights and gladiator arenas while Clank’s gameplay involves something different to break up the monotony of battle. The duo meet a scientist who grants Clank the ability to slip into rifts between dimensions and while in these rifts, the gameplay changes into a three dimensional side-scroller in which Clank has control over the direction of gravity. His overall purpose in these puzzle levels is to navigate into the Netherverse to wake a sleeping Netherbeast and lure it back through the level and out of the rift to open up passages for Ratchet.
Gadgets like the Gravity Boots and Swing Shot have become iconic items of the series, and in Into the Nexus, the Grav Tether could quite possibly be the next memorable gadget to be expected in future Ratchet and Clank titles. The Grav Tether allows for Ratchet to suspend gravity between two given targets which allows him to cross large gorges or reach higher places without relying on platforming. Although the Grav Tether puzzles in this title are shallow and predictable, this mechanic has the potential to incorporate a new level of platforming difficulty for future Ratchet and Clank titles.
Why Should I Care?
Before going any further, I would like to restate that this game serves as an epilogue to the Ratchet and Clank Future saga. An epilogue is defined as a concluding part added to a literary work; if you can consider the written scripts of all the Ratchet and Clank games, this definition can be applied to Into the Nexus. Why Insomniac chooses to do this is a question that should probably be left alone for the time being, but the length of the game does not take away from the actual experience the game has to offer.
As with all Ratchet and Clank titles, the arsenal of creative and deadly weapons made available to our heroes is what makes this game worth playing. The usual archetypes of weaponry are seen in this game: a pistol, a grenade glove, a shot gun, a sniper rifle, a rocket launcher, a handful of silly but useful weapons, and the latest version of the RYNO. Each weapon has its own ability as well as its own upgrade tree in which the player could use Raritanium to determine what attributes are added as the weapons are leveled up. The unique abilities of each weapon allow for the player devise their own strategies for bringing down waves of enemies or huge bosses, and the addictive nature of upgrading the weapons encourages multiple playthroughs.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
When originally released, this title was priced around $30 and new copies included another short Ratchet and Clank game (Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty) as a digital copy. Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus is essentially a half of a regular title with a game time clocking in around six hours, so fans expecting a full length game are likely to be disappointed. Although this title has its own short plot, it’s purpose is not to add a new chapter to the series, but to close a chapter in the series; and it does so very well.
Unlike Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, Into the Nexus offers a new way to upgrade Ratchet’s arsenal, a challenging set of puzzle levels with Clank, and an awesome new gadget which will hopefully be seen in later installments of this series. Fans of this series can appreciate the return back to the usual Ratchet and Clank formula and should not be deterred from picking up this title. Hours of fun are to be had and the stage has been set for the next installment of this great series.