Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault Preview

Full Frontal Assault, the next installment of the highly-championed Sony exclusive Ratchet & Clank series, which is doing a second outing on the Playstation Network here in the US, seems to have found a love for tower defense. This new gameplay flare is not only much needed, but seems to fit well within the confines of the Ratchet universe. Much like your normal tower defense game, you’ll face an onslaught of enemies, each wave wanting more and more to get into your base. You’ll build various devices to help hold their offense at bay, turrets to bring the enemies to their knees, mines–which have various effects such as slow down–or you can level up the ol’ faithful barriers.

Enemy variation is also a key part of tower defense, and that is no exception here. The regular enemies will relentlessly knock at your door, not paying much attention to any defense or offence you have built. Then there are enemies that will prioritize your turrets and extra defense. The combination of the two can sneak up on you quite quickly, being a force to reckon with and also something to fear.

Between each wave you get to take Ratchet on a bit of exploring throughout the level, finding precious bolts, new weapons, and stray enemies to pummel out of existence. New weapons seem to be one of the big keys to success here as your starting pistol weapon shouldn’t be strong enough to last you throughout the plethora of waves. All weapons, with Ratchet tradition, are upgradeable. From what we had seen at the PAX demo, they’re on a basic upgrade path, only getting stronger with use.

Bullets fly with ease, like in every Ratchet game, keeping the fast-paced series as blistering as ever. Weapons have a nice weight to their sound design, bringing in plenty of low-end to make them feel like they could actually do some damage. And that ever familiar smashing boxes “crash” people purposefully hit boxes with their wrench to hear is back, of course. People who love the pipes of James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Ratchet, will be more than pleased. The entire voice cast is back and in outstanding order.

The sandbox in which you work is as colorful as always. Ratchet looks, as always, fantastic, moving around the world effortlessly with the easier integration of his hover boots. In traditional Insomniac style, everything is beautifully animated bringing so much life into their world.

With the waves coming to an end, two monstrous generals want to turn you into a sobbing Lombax, slowly moving into your base while taking massive amounts of damage– your turrets can’t save you here. You take Ratchet into the game and pour ammo into these machines. As they get closer, nerves start to get to you while you’re worrying about your poor generators getting slaughtered. Finally, BOOM! The generals go down, leaving nothing but smoke, scrap, and the sweet feeling of success left.

Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault is headed to both PSN and PS Vita, supporting the new cross-buy initiative introduced by Sony, as well as featuring cross play between the systems. The game will be released in fall 2012.