Ratchet and Clank has rather struggled as of late. The series was near-universally loved on PlayStation 2 and in it's early tenure on PlayStation 3. However, it's two most recent instalments have had a mixed reception (though we liked All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault). Those who found themselves dissatisfied will find themselves placated by this new release, which has a pleasing back-to-basics approach.
You're thrown back into the world of Ratchet and Clank in spectacular style. It begins with a simple escort mission; you have to transport dangerous prisoner Vendra Prog to a prison. However, all does not go as planned, and the stakes become very high. Indeed, for a game that's meant to be an epilogue to the Future trilogy, it doesn't skimp on creating drama of it's own.
The story is one of the game's strengths, with the main villains and heroes having clear motivations for their actions. There are also many references to games in the Future series and further afield in the franchise, which helps this game to feel like a fitting ending to this era of Ratchet and Clank.
However, the franchise's trademark humour misses the mark, with many jokes falling flat thanks to poor delivery. It's a real shame to cringe when you should be smiling, but many of the 'comic moments' feel forced, whereas it is still possible to laugh at the plumber sliding down a sewer pipe in the original Ratchet and Clank. Ratchet's now comparatively-serious persona doesn't help matters.
The production values are still high for the most part, though, with the game engine mostly holding up. The PlayStation 4 will hopefully make environments look a bit more convincing: distant environmental textures can be poor, and it's still frustrating to see skyscrapers enshrouded by fog. The game also suffers from not having populated worlds, as is usual with the franchise; there is not much character interaction even outside of gameplay, so this makes the universe feel more empty than usual. This solace may have been intended, since there is a mild horror element. Yet the solace and the horror itself feels tonally at odds with this series' usual lightheartedness.