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Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Review

23 October 2007

We all want to see the future, or know it in some form. The future is vibrant with things never before seen: flying cars, hectic air routes, and what not. A person only dreams of seeing such wonderful things even in his/her dreams. Luckily, now they can experience it through the journey in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. The future can be very unpredictable, and dangerous. Thankfully, we wield the powers of a very sly Lombax, Ratchet, and his robot assistant, Clank.

Over the years, Ratchet and Clank have gone on many hazardous adventures. From saving the Solana Galaxy from the evil Chairman Drek to getting imprisoned on a galactic game show to being shrunken down to the size of mere ants. Their journey on the PlayStation 3, however, offers a much more breathtaking experience. There’s robotic space pirates, huge aliens operating giant mechs, and vivacious environments filled with bustling activity. Our main protagonists, Ratchet and Clank, begin the game relaxing on a rooftop before getting an emergency video call from Quark. The captain alerts the pair that a force of “insect people” (properly called Cragmites) have invaded Metropolis and are destroying everything in their path. But before Quark's message can even finish, the city begins to blow up and all hell breaks loose. Time for action.

 

The visceral bang in the destruction of Metropolis plunges players straight into the action. This invasion of Metropolis is deviously schemed by the game's main bad guy, Emperor Percival Tachyon. The emperor is out for revenge against all Lombaxes in the universe, and will stop at nothing until they are dead and extinct. From this, the players delve into the main storylines archetype. Tools of Destruction's story is all about unraveling Ratchet's origins. Who our hero was before we stumbled upon his life as observers, where his family has disappeared to, and where the Lombax people originate as a part of a larger unsolved mystery. Finally, in RCF, we will get those itching answers.

There is devastation everywhere as Cragmites rip into the surroundings and cause mayhem. Of course none of the flying cars notice. They are flying faster than the speed of sound. Such environmental changes make for an immense platforming element which has never been witnessed in any game. Expect plenty of falling debris, and explosions. Our furry Lombax and hard-metal Clank, attached to Ratchet’s back, in their Pixar-like graphical quality, approaching the main Metropolis, filled with bustling activity and future wonders. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the aqua-critter Drophoyds gracefully approach our main heroes to bash their faces in. Luckily for us, there are many ways to deal with such enemies.

Insomniac gives players plenty of room and options to smack on an enemies face. So let’s snap back to reality for a minute, and take our minds off the realism of the graphics, and onto the true action: gameplay. So, the enemies approach to attack us full force. But we have a couple of weapons in our arsenal—and we can’t up our arsenal here (get it?). For one weapon, we have a typical combustor. Press the shoot button towards the enemy’s general direction, and be amazed as all the fine details of every single piece they’re built from burst into the air in all their glory. Even though this blow up sequence lasts for a total of 3 seconds, if you pay close attention, you can experience the magic in slow motion with your own eyes---make its ray of sun last a lifetime. For a more pacifistic approach, go ahead and throw the disco ball. But don’t expect to remain the gentle Lombax that you are. You’ll eventually have to destroy them---which no one will mind once stunning beauty is seen in the surprised reactions of the AI getting hit while they were happily dancing. There is also the Pyro Blaster (flamethrower-type weapon) and an explosive cannon that lights the ground on fire. For more intense action, there are the Buzz Blades. Throw them and watch as they ricochet off walls, and create a field of havoc for the enemies. For easier blast action, throw Fusion Grenades. In addition to fusion, there are also plasma weapons. Plasma Beasts, which are essentially poisonous monsters that swarm and defeat their foe, can definitely help in tight situations. If you like penguins, release a transmorpher grenade that turn aggressive enemies into penguins. Furthermore, weapons range from gases to nifty leeches and everything in between.

Another very cool weapon is the Tornado Launcher--which fires off cyclones that can be controlled via the Sixaxis functionality. For more Sixaxis slice and dice action, players can skillfully control the Visicopter gadget. Also similarly controlled with the Sixaxis, the Visicopter flies around independently of Ratchet and fires missiles off at whatever targets get in its way. A very fun way to battle your enemies as the AI responds so realistically and humorously.

 

Weapons is not the only aspect with variety. Enemies offer stupendous variety too. Some bring shields, others electrify themselves, some have blasters, and others try to bite you. With the variety of weapons and enemies, combined with superb gameplay, Ratchet and Clank is undeniably one of the best platform shooters out to date on any console.

The city of Metropolis is very expansive and detailed. It is covered with a real sense of drama, nuance and sensitivity. Some environments were designed to provide a space for 'free fall', an amazing gameplay interface which makes use of the SIXAXIS motion control. When a platform blows up spectacularly, gravity takes effect and Ratchet heads down. The players then swerve left, right, forwards, and backwards to avoid oncoming cars. Stages are definitely twice as big as previous levels. The outer brim of Metropolis paints a luscious and colorful portrait of details of the uniquely stylistic foliage. Anyone who uses the word “cartooney” to describe this game should be smacked across the face. Or made to dance with the Groovatron.

 

Throughout the game, the details of the environments supplement themselves to other facets of the gameplay that make RCF livelier. The nature of this title's gameplay emphasizes variety. You'll see a plethora of mini-games and alternative modes of play, like space combat, that break up the usual 3D platforming and shooting sections. RCF probes deeper into the emotional storyline, not only in regards to Ratchet's past, but also in his relationship with Clank. Apparently, strife will erupt between our two heroes, due to Clank's sudden visions of ethereal, semi-robotic creatures known as the Zoni, visible only to him. Luckily, this drama in Ratchet and Clank does not affect the overall gameplay experience.

The players couldn't care less if the enemies are approaching to slice them up. As soon as the game starts up, no one can help but be in marvel at the detail and scope present in the environment, but also the magnificent detail on the character models themselves. All of these features combined give the game a feeling reminiscent from only those in Disney Pixar films. In Ratchet: Deadlocked, the Lombax hero had 112 joints in his entire body; in Tools of Destruction our hero has 90 joints in his face alone. Consequently, the fluidity of the animation system with the game’s custom engine, allows R&C Future: Tools of Destruction to take us beyond our own imaginations, and make our vision of the future a vivid reality.

The massive 60 frames per second makes this game quite astounding to watch, since there is rich graphical detail not only in the character designs, but more noticeably, within the environments. Insomniac was clearly striving for very colorful and vibrant planets, with a massive range of characters to boot. Each character was planned from the ground up to vouch a captivating and alluring role, which should lead to gripping characters and story. Insomniac stated that their experience with Resistance: Fall of Man (an incredible launch title) has given them great insight into developing "next-generation" titles, and it clearly shows.

Insomniac’s title has given a sense of life to the future in an enormous way. Not only does it make us experience something brand new and unique, but Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction redefines our idea of the future with amazing controls, gameplay, graphics, storyline, and virtually everything in it.

-The Final Word-

Insomniac's second PS3 title gives a sense of realism to the word "Future". You will be immersed in an incredible environment, and captivated with an interesting storyline. The game is nothing short of astounding. If you have a PS3, get this game.
  • Amazing storyline
  • Pixar-like graphics in real time
  • Best platformer to date on any console
  • No multiplayer or online modes
9.5
See PSU's reviews scores on Metacritic and Gamerankings

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