[PlayStation 3] Ratchet & Clank: Q Force

DarkVincent07

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Mar 4, 2008
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#1


Ratchet & Clank: Q Force (known in the United States as Full Frontal Assault) is the fifth Ratchet & Clank title for the PlayStation 3. It is the series' second 'mini adventure', which of course, means short. Similar to Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, Q Force was released on the PlayStation Network as a downloadable title, but also sold at retail in PAL territories.
Ratchet & Clank means a lot to me, it was my first PS2 game and I have played every title and spin-off since. I practically grew up with these characters. Insomniac has always done an exceptional job with all of their franchises, from Disruptor to Resistance. Even games that performed less than stellar critically, I enjoyed. Needless to say, the hype meter was high for Q Force... but unfortunately it's not the game I was hoping to celebrate Ratchet's 10[SUP]th[/SUP] Anniversary with.

Note: There is also a PlayStation Vita version of this game that comes free with the PS3 version, but at the time of writing this is not available yet, so this review only covers the PS3 game.


Story:

Unlike almost every other title in the series, Ratchet & Clank: Q Force's story is meaningless, unsatisfying and almost non-existent. The game stars Ratchet, Clank and the self-obsessed Captain Qwark. After Qwark failed to be re-elected as Galactic President he has dragged Ratchet and Clank aboard the Starship Phoenix II to team together as the 'QForce' to defend the galaxy. This was established before I even realised it started, so you may miss it. The heroes are contacted by a dastardly villain whom is as per usual trying to kill them and take over the universe.

Aside from setting the stage for some interesting gameplay mechanics, story then takes a back seat only to appear in brief cut scenes between missions. It overall seems pointless as isn't at all compelling.




Graphics and Presentation:

Ratchet and Clank titles have always been visually stunning, and Q Force is no exception. The graphics are charming and could stand up against animated films by the likes of Disney and Dreamworks. Character models are extremely detailed to the point where Ratchet's hair is visible and fuzzy. Surfaces look like they are supposed to and have qualities that give them personality; metals shine and reflect while ice is frosty and looks cold to touch. Lighting is impressive as well with many explosions and weapon effects filling the screen. Chaotic moments in Q Force are a visual treat, with the added bonus of no slowdown or screen tearing. Not to say there aren't any bugs though, on more than one incident I found myself stuck on an enemy or between a rock and a wall.


I do have a gripe with the character designs for Ratchet and Clank though. In the previous title, All 4 One, these two had heads that were slightly bigger than usual, giving them a more cartoon-ish and distorted look. This 'larger head' style is also present in Q Force and I personally find it distracting. Granted, the core design for Ratchet and Clank has slowly changed over the years and I have never had an issue with it, but this redesign doesn't sit right with me and quite honestly, it looks stupid.

All of the menus are slick and fast and the in-game HUD is well designed to show all necessary information at once. The map appears slightly larger than it did in previous titles, as it needs to be constantly referred to during gameplay. With the press of a button the map increases in size filling almost the whole screen and shows the location of key areas and enemies. This is a welcome feature and I found myself using it frequently.




Sound:

The music in Q Force is standard for the series, it provides some decent sci-fi and space themed tunes that set the scene. But, in the end nothing in particular stands out or is memorable. This is a shame as most previous R&C titles have had much superior soundtracks. On the other hand the sound effects excel and every sound of construction or destruction fits well and sounds great. Sounds are sometimes buggy and either play later than they should have or don't appear at all. Odd, since this has never happened in my experience with the series.

Luckily, the trademark humour and wit return to liven up the uninspired story. Although there is very little dialogue and banter between characters, what is there is high quality and true to the brand. While playing, characters often speak, but in a gameplay driven way. I mostly played as Ratchet and upon collecting bolts (the currency) sometimes he would say “I'd better build more defences”. This kind of dialogue is welcome as it helps out the player, but is not over used. There is also some humorous in-action dialogue too. When defeating enemies without getting damaged the characters say things along the lines of “15 down and not a scratch on me!” which is a nice touch. Series staple Mr Zurkon also makes a hilarious return and expresses some great one liners.





Gameplay & Controls:

QForce is played like a mix between a platformer and a tower defence game. This is where the game really starts to disappoint.
Each level starts off with you playing as either Ratchet, Clank or Qwark at a base in which you must build up and defend against increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Similar to tower defence games the enemies make their way to the base from various locations on the map. The foes do not constantly attack your base but do so in waves. The main goal is to run around the map and find 'key nodes' that must be activated. These then unlock access to the opposing force's base in which you must successfully attack, then travel back to your base and survive a final enemy assault.

The concept is there, but it has a lot of shortcomings. As a level starts you have only a melee weapon. Weapons are found in drop pods that are scattered around the map. This does give the game a sense of progression as the levels do slowly get harder, but finding the weapon you want or need is difficult and often random. From just using them these weapons level and this is crucial for later levels. Turrets, mines, walls and other defences can be purchased to help you out and this is the only purpose of bolts. As usual bolts are found from dead foes or in crates around the relatively open levels. But are solely used for that level and serve no greater purpose. There are gold bolts to be found for those who like to explore (when their base isn't being invaded) and these unlock extras.

Controls are mostly solid and are comparable to previous R&C games, most of the time you will just be using the left and right stick to move and aim, while holding R1 to fire. Characters are equipped with rocket boots that with the press of R2 sees them speeding through the map. These are highly necessary when the base is being attacked from multiple directions. Camera control can be annoying sometimes and get stuck in walls and the environment though.

On the whole it is an interesting take on both genres, the gameplay is serviceable, and the game works. But at no point is it particularly engaging or truly fun .It is unlike a good Ratchet title and it often feels soulless. The difficulty is inconsistent; it started as beyond easy and at level four there was a spike so high I had to replay the later part of the level 5 times before I scarcely completed it.




Multiplayer:

QForce's single player difficulty is drastically reduced when playing with a buddy. This can be done in split screen or online, and with a second player the game seems more manageable. In fact levels – with their multiple lanes – feel like its essential to have two players to be able to finish them effectively.

Online multiplayer also makes a return and is similar to the multiplayer modes in R&C 3. It involves two teams, of either one or two combatants a side. Each team has their own base to defend and build defences for, while also trying to capture nodes around the battlefield to give them extra weapons and reinforcements. This was rather enjoyable the first few times, but there is a low number of maps and being so similar to the single player (which I found boring), I only played five or six matches and had enough. The single player has re-playability due to skill points, timed scores and challenges... but the multiplayer barely has any incentive to jump online aside from a few token trophies.




Conclusion:

As such a huge fan of the Ratchet & Clank series, I am open to ideas and spin-off titles. I enjoyed the likes of 'All 4 One' and 'Secret Agent Clank', but Q Force was ultimately not an enjoyable experience. I commend Insomniac on taking a risk, and don't get me wrong this is still a good, above average game that has its moments, but Q Force is not the game I was hoping for.
Hopefully Insomniac gives Ratchet a well deserved rest and the next time we see him is on a new fully fledged adventure on the PS4.

+
Great graphics
+
Lots of fun to shoot things....


-
...but not so much fun to defend your base
-
Lame story
- Repetitive and tedious
- Unnecessary difficulty spike


6/10
 
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DarkVincent07

Trying not to break stuff...
Mar 4, 2008
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#2
The reviews are always fine when I have them ready to post but as soon as the thread is created a lot of the text always doesthis and words randomly jointogether. Its really annoying, but anyone who is reading it now, bear with me!
 

DeviousOne

Forum Sage
Jul 10, 2012
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#3
Nice review bro I just downloaded at ratchet and clank game all for one off ps+ for free. My first time ever playing the series its awesome I love the game!!
 

DarkVincent07

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Mar 4, 2008
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#5
[QUOTE="DeviousOne, post: 5961004]Nice review bro I just downloaded at ratchet and clank game all for one off ps+ for free. My first time ever playing the series its awesome I love the game!![/QUOTE]

Cheers. Yeah All 4 One isn't known for being the best R&C game, but its a lotttt better than this one.

When you're done and if you really enjoyed it I HIGHLY recommend you play Tools of Destruction. So much more freedom and adventuring and its one of the best games in the series.

[QUOTE="Ghost-Rhayne, post: 5961009]Awesome work! Updating index now.[/QUOTE]

Thanks man, I tried! I feel like it may be a bit long and people won't read it, but I think its an enjoyable read. And I just wanted to cover as much as possible to justify my opinions ><
 

Sir_Scud

Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
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#6
This shit is never too long, don't shorten anything! As for the review, damn...that's disappointing. Just seems like the game is shlock.
 

Ghost

Administrator
Staff member
Aug 12, 2009
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#7
[QUOTE="DarkVincent07, post: 5961264]
Thanks man, I tried! I feel like it may be a bit long and people won't read it, but I think its an enjoyable read. And I just wanted to cover as much as possible to justify my opinions ><[/QUOTE]

Nah the length is good. This place is like a buyer's resource. People will come here to get opinions on games, and longer reviews give them more info to use in order to make a decision. :)
 

Fenix

Elite Sage
Aug 19, 2007
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#9
*scrubs Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault from buy in the future list*

Thanks vincent, you saved me $20 worth of headache. R&C sure has been disappointing the last few titles :/
 

DarkVincent07

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Mar 4, 2008
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#10
[QUOTE="Fenix, post: 5961563]*scrubs Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault from buy in the future list*

Thanks vincent, you saved me $20 worth of headache. R&C sure has been disappointing the last few titles :/[/QUOTE]

It sure has.... as I said, hopefully we see a new trilogy or something on the PS4...

Maybe I should just buy the HD collection and play 1-3 again :lol:
 

Fenix

Elite Sage
Aug 19, 2007
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#11
Lol I'm actually tempting to put R&C HD Collection where I had this game on my list. Even though I own em and played the crap out of em on PS2. It seems like the only way Ill get that R&C experience I want, which IMHO has been lacking ever since the first Future title (Dont get me wrong, Quest for Booty and ACIT were good but they were missing something)
 
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DarkVincent07

Trying not to break stuff...
Mar 4, 2008
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#12
[QUOTE="Fenix, post: 5961655]Lol I'm actually tempting to put R&C HD Collection where I had this game on my list. Even though I own em and played the crap out of em on PS2. It seems like the only way Ill get that R&C experience I want, which IMHO has been lacking ever since the first Future title (Dont get me wrong, Quest for Booty and ACIT were good but they were missing something)[/QUOTE]

Yeah Tools of Destruction was definitely the best PS3 title.

and I also own them all on PS2 but want to buy them again just so I can play it on a console with wireless controller on a big screen and it NOT looking bad :p
 

F34R

Legend
Feb 11, 2008
40,334
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#13
I liked the review. It's pretty much spot on. It's one of those games that you have to like certain aspects, regardless of how much you like the IP. Great write up. I played enough of it to agree with your description of everything, and then your own opinion on how those things hit for you.

[QUOTE="DarkVincent07, post: 5960988]The reviews are always fine when I have them ready to post but as soon as the thread is created a lot of the text always doesthis and words randomly jointogether. Its really annoying, but anyone who is reading it now, bear with me![/QUOTE]

Use the Preview Post option. ;) One other thing.. resize your images down to 550 on the X, and keep the aspect ration the same so the Y auto re-sizes properly . That'll keep the "Click this bar to view full image" "header" off there.
 

DarkVincent07

Trying not to break stuff...
Mar 4, 2008
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#14
[QUOTE="F34R, post: 5962222]I liked the review. It's pretty much spot on. It's one of those games that you have to like certain aspects, regardless of how much you like the IP. Great write up. I played enough of it to agree with your description of everything, and then your own opinion on how those things hit for you.



Use the Preview Post option. ;) One other thing.. resize your images down to 550 on the X, and keep the aspect ration the same so the Y auto re-sizes properly . That'll keep the "Click this bar to view full image" "header" off there.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it and glad you agree with me :)

and okay will do, when I find some time ill fix em up
 

Fenix

Elite Sage
Aug 19, 2007
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#15
So with the news when the vita version of Qforce/Full Frontal Assault drops we also get Deadlocked on PS3 for free, would you say its worth it to pick it up for $20?
 

DarkVincent07

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#16
[QUOTE="Fenix, post: 6005739]So with the news when the vita version of Qforce/Full Frontal Assault drops we also get Deadlocked on PS3 for free, would you say its worth it to pick it up for $20?[/QUOTE]

I didn't know that at all, cool news!

It wasn't a BAD game for the asking price, but it wasn't particularly good. l I payed $25 AUD for Q Force and didn't regret it but was just disappointed. I DID feel like it got my $25 worth out of it though. So yes, the addition of Deadlocked/Gladiator is rather worth it
 
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Fenix

Elite Sage
Aug 19, 2007
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#17
Welp, I feel like an idiot. I assumed PSU/NA PS Blog saying Full Frontal Assault getting Deadlocked free when the VITA version launched would be the same for you EU region folk and QForce/Gladiator (Wtf is with the name changes for EU regions.. lol) but it turns out me assuming that was wrong. I did some digging JUST in case and it turns out EU regions are getting Motorstorm RC, and not gladiator.

I'm sorry if I got your hopes up.. I shouldnt of assumed these things :/
http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2013/02/07/ratchet-clank-qforce-ps-vita-update/

EDIT: It seems the way EU is doing it is rather.. stupid, something about playing it and getting emailed a code. NA just has to select disc benefits.. the fuck? lol

Also thanks, wanted to get your general opinion.. going to go pick up the disc based FFA as soon as I can.
 

DarkVincent07

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Mar 4, 2008
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#18
Haha its no worries. I don't play many remakes anyway and wasn't really anticipating it, but if it was there and free I'd play it ><

MotorStorm RC isn't too bad... but yeah dude... get the disk version then at least you can re-sell it for SOMETHING if you're unhappy
 

KyleOnTheRun

PSU Editor-in-chief
Jun 1, 2012
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#19
I'm a little late, but nice review Vinc. Thanks for being honest about a series you love - like yourself, I grew up alongside Ratchet & Clank, but some of Insomniac's recent experimental moves have definitely disappointed me. Especially when I consider Crack in Time as the best in the series!

Would you have any interest in seeing your review up on the PSU.com homepage, after our editing team gives it a scrub?
 

DarkVincent07

Trying not to break stuff...
Mar 4, 2008
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#20
[QUOTE="KyleOnTheRun, post: 6006573]I'm a little late, but nice review Vinc. Thanks for being honest about a series you love - like yourself, I grew up alongside Ratchet & Clank, but some of Insomniac's recent experimental moves have definitely disappointed me. Especially when I consider Crack in Time as the best in the series!

Would you have any interest in seeing your review up on the PSU.com homepage, after our editing team gives it a scrub?[/QUOTE]

Yeah that would be awesome, if possible