Friday, 3 January 2014

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (PS3)

Back in 2002 Insomniac games introduced us to the world of Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 2 and for me, my world was changed forever. I loved that game and the two direct sequels (Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal) that grew alongside the popularity of the PS2. I ended up skipping Deadlocked as it wasn't a full story-driven adventure but I did consume the Size Matters offering on the PSP before they made the move to the PlayStation 3.

With the new platform came the new series dubbed "Future" with Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time which I found great. I skipped "All 4 One" and "Full Frontal Assault" because again they deviated from the full adventure formula that I have craved since back in 2002.

Into the Nexus marks the return of the traditional formula I fell in love with in 2002 and also the last that will arrive on the PlayStation 3. It's a full blown adventure that incorporates many of the improvements the series has seen over the years and takes advantage of a world that is both familiar and yet fun to explore.

The game is a mix of platforming and shooting, with a dash of puzzle solving thrown in. There are collecting quests which are optional but fun and of course you can try and collect all the parts necessary to build the RYNO (Rip You a New One) - the ultimate weapon in the game. I defeated the final boss without it but it would certainly make quick work of 'him' if you had the weapon, but I didn't even realize I was at the end until it was over. My biggest complaint about this game is that it's over far too quickly, although it can be expected since the game is budget priced.

Your trusty companion Clank has some gameplay elements here to experiment with. Gravity plays a large role in this game for both Ratchet and Clank as the latter enters "rifts" that see him experimenting with shifting gravity in four directions. The puzzles here reminded me a lot of Limbo and if you've played that excellent downloadable title you will likely get the same feeling I did. It's not a bad thing, just a familiar one.

The best elements of the series are all present with the light RPG elements of levelling up both yourself and your weapons intact as well as the ability to upgrade your weapons using Raitanium found by defeating certain enemies or in the world in hidden spots. You will take on arena challenges, take short rail rides and experience some other elements like hoverboots and jet packs. It's like the developers looked back at the entire series and picked out the best elements and brought them together into the this one game. Oh wait, I think that is exactly what they did.

The controls are tight in this game and intuitively as well. I never found myself lost and I wanted to explore the spots I hadn't been to. There are new elements here too but overall this game is definitely made for fans of the series. If this is your first Ratchet & Clank game, you might feel a little bit lost in the characters or story but it's still an enjoyable experience overall.

Finishing the game is bitter sweet as I am not sure if this is the end of line for the Lombax and is robotic pal as there are currently no announced plans for a PlayStation 4 version of the franchise. That doesn't mean there won't be, so here's to hoping.

Over twelve years later and this series still makes me smile.

- Syd Bolton

The Good:
- Great story that wraps up loose ends from the previous installments
- Fast paced action with tight controls
- Fun to play with varied gameplay that is paced perfectly

The Bad:
- The game is somewhat short
- Although there are some new weapons, most are rehashes or ones we've used before
- A tad too easy

Score: 9.0 / 10

Syd Bolton surrounds himself in thousands of classic video games as Canada's top video game collector at the Personal Computer Museum ( in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.