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Ratchet & Clank Collection PS3 Review

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Ratchet & Clank Collection

Ratchet & Clank Collection

Image © Sony
Few franchises are as influential and important in the history of Sony as "Ratchet & Clank." Since the world was first introduced to the adventurous Lombax and his trusty metal mate, they have been front and center in some of the most addictive and enjoyable games on both the PS2 and PS3. Their first three adventures -- "Ratchet & Clank" (2002), "Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando" (2003), and "Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal" (2004) -- have been assembled into one collection, upgraded to HD, given full trophy support, and made available at a low price. With hours of still-stunning gameplay, this is one of the most entertaining packages you could buy all year. Even if you've played these games on the PS2, there's no reason not to revisit them in their newly-polished forms. You'll be amazed at how little they've aged.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Sony
  • Developer: Idol Minds/Insomniac Games
  • ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 and Older)
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Pros: Timeless Gameplay, Clever Storytelling, Incredible Value
  • Cons: Simple Puzzle-Solving, Some Repetitive Action, A Few Last-Gen Camera Issues

It's three games in one! Although you'll want to commit to them in order and not bounce around as Sony makes it incredibly difficult to do so. Once you pick which of the three games you want to play, you'll have to exit out to the XMB to switch to another one. I recommend playing them in order as you'll be both impressed at how consistent they were on a storytelling and gameplay level while also noting that Sony expertly ironed out some kinks and made some notable refinements in games two and three. If you somehow have a favorite or don't want to spring for the entire collection, the PlayStation Network now offers the HD versions of all three games to be purchased individually.

Gameplay

Ratchet & Clank Collection

Ratchet & Clank Collection

Image © Sony

My overriding thought while playing all three of the first three "Ratchet & Clank" games was how much of the excellent gameplay was there from the very beginning. If you're more familiar with the PS3 adventures in the excellent "Ratchet & Clank Future" series (which includes "Tools of Destruction" [2007], "Quest For Booty" [2008], and "A Crack in Time" [2009]), you'll be stunned at how many of the positive qualities with which you're familiar were a part of this franchise from the beginning. There's the clever dialogue, fun locations, and, of course, the diverse array of futuristic weapons that are the trademark of this franchise and they're all there from the very first game.

To be fair, "Ratchet & Clank" got a bit smarter as the series went along. In the first hour or so of the first game, you'll be a little surprised at the simplicity of the entire venture. In fact, the game is little more than a button-masher for most of its running time although weren't they all in 2002? The degree of complexity in gameplay, puzzle-solving, and storytelling ambition was notably upped in "Going Commando" and "Up Your Arsenal" is essentially a perfect game when it comes to this genre. It's fun, action-packed, and just complex enough to be enjoyable for both little ones and their parents or guardians. "Up Your Arsenal" also introduced multiplayer to the series, which seems remarkably ahead of its time for a 2004 platformer.

Everything about "Ratchet & Clank Collection" screams that this was a series that was ahead of its time in every way. I know that "Jak & Daxter" fans will complain that their favorite series did it first but having played that franchise's HD collection recently as well, I have an easy favorite. There are camera issues and repetitive gameplay in "J&D" that just aren't here. There are very few games from the early '00s that look like they could come out today. If "Going Commando" or "Up Your Arsenal" came out this month, they would be on my top ten games for the year to date. They're that timeless and still that consistently enjoyable.

Graphics & Sound

All three games have been upgraded to 1080p and given full support for Stereoscopic 3D. In 2D, they run at 60fps and they look simply beautiful. It's hard to tell the difference visually between "Up Your Arsenal" and "A Crack in Time." Some of the HD upgrades in recent years have been somewhat mediocre, doing the bare minimum to qualify as HD but little more. Perhaps it's because the gameplay here is so timeless that these titles were easier to upgrade but this is easily one of the best "Collection" releases to date of last-gen games for a next-gen console.

Overall

Ratchet & Clank Collection

Ratchet & Clank Collection

Image © Sony
There have been a lot of remastered collections released for the Sony PlayStation 3 in the last few years including releases for "Metal Gear Solid," "Jak & Daxter," and "God of War." Some of them have been more interesting as history than as entertainment. Such is not the case here. Whether you want to see a landmark game in the evolution of the Sony brand or merely want to have an amazingly fun time at a low price point, this title satisfies every audience.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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