The latest entry in the Ratchet & Clank series was easily one of the most impressive games unveiled in the PlayStation 5 reveal event last year, showing off intricacies that were technologically too much for even the PlayStation 4 Pro to handle. Now that it’s finally out, it’s not a stretch to say that it’s a must-own game for any lucky PS5 owner willing to spend the premium price for the game.
What Is It?
Including the 2016’s video game remake of the movie based on the original game, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart represents the 10th entry in the long-running series nearing its 20th anniversary.
The game once again stars the lombax and robot duo, this time celebrating their victories over the years in the form of a grand parade where Clank plans on gifting Ratchet an interdimensional transporter that’ll allow him to perhaps find other lombaxes. Of course, it ends up in the wrong hands as the evil Dr. Nefarious ruins their ploy once again and transports everybody into a parallel universe where nothing is in anybody’s favor, and to make matters worse — Ratchet and Clank have been separated.
Why Should I Care?
Unlike a good amount of games in the series, albeit a bit cliched with a story taking place in several universes, Rift Apart has a solid plot that the game does a good job adhering to.
While I personally own most of the games in the series, the only ones I’ve admittedly sat down and played through were Secret Agent Clank (which probably doesn’t count) and the 2016 remake. That said, the 2016 remake’s story felt very convoluted, introducing the player to characters that were barely relevant to the time you met them and forgettable shortly thereafter.
Rift Apart introduces players to a host of new characters that are actually just interdimensional forms of the characters fans know and love, and none of them are as charming as Rivet–the female lombax based in the dimension that our heroes have unfortunately been transported to. Aside from her striking visual cute looks, there are layers to her character that begin to unfold as you continue to play the game, and the PS5’s overall power in showcasing such visual fidelity easily enhance the experience.
If you’ve played a traditional Ratchet game before, there really isn’t anything all that new here. It’s still the same 3D shoot-em-up action platformer fans know and love, and as much as I’d love to nitpick — there isn’t much to criticize here. Rift Apart blends the combat and platforming as perfectly as it can possibly do it, and that’s what makes the game great.
What makes the entry particularly significant is that it’s the third real PlayStation 5 exclusive title in its eight month of existence. As baffling as it is to only have that many, the things the game does to showcase what the PS5 is capable of are pretty evident, and it’s all in the game’s name–Rift Apart. There will be plenty of setpiece events in the game where you’ll be transported to new worlds, universes, and areas in an instant, and the frame rate doesn’t skip a beat. The aliasing is as close to as perfect as it gets, and it really makes you feel like you’re playing something out of Pixar or Dreamworks. Load screens in the game might as well have been optional considering they all have tidbits of information that are too long to read no matter how short they are, with just how fast everything loads. It’s all really impressive stuff.
If Rift Apart features any weaknesses in its design, it’s the fact that the pacing dies down when you get to the puzzle sections you have to clear as Clank (as well as other non-lombax characters that we won’t mention for the sake of spoilers). The brain-teasing puzzles are all completely doable, but they’re also a far cry from the action-packed segments you’ll have playing as Ratchet or Rivet. That said, if these bog down the experience a little too much, you actually have the option of skipping them all. Since these are all tied to the actual story, you’ll actually be given a brief synopsis of what actually happened, so you don’t have to feel any guilt for skipping out on them. Not only that, but if you choose not to finish a puzzle, it won’t affect the trophies tied to them. It’s a win for accessibility, and it’s great for “cutting the fat.”
Going on full nitpick mode, somewhat disappointing is the game’s lack of use of the DualSense’s features. Aside from the triggers showing more sensitivity at given points, there isn’t anything out of the ordinary that Rift Apart does with the PS5’s innovative controller.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Platformers are hardly ever known to be high-budget pieces of tech, so the fact that Ratchet & Clank sells at an MSRP of $69.99 will turn plenty of people off–not to mention the fact that the last entry was a $40 budget title that doesn’t look very much inferior to this game (and that 2016 game is free if you have PlayStation Plus), but the fact of the matter is that $70 is the going rate for a PS5 exclusive, whether we like it or not.
Whether you look at it that way or not, the PS5 is a platform starving for exclusives, and Rift Apart is one of only two (not including the packed in Astro’s Playroom) and is easily the more widely forgiving for most players since Returnal is a roguelite.
At that, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is, by most accounts, Ratchet & Clank perfected, so if you’re a fan — you definitely owe it to yourself to pick this one up if you have a PS5.