- 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.
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" , "Quest For Booty" , and "A Crack in Time" ), 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.