Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing Games With Fantastic Gameplay, October 7, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ratchet & Clank Collection (Video Game)
I've been known to get my hands on a lot of games and play them. During the PS2 era I managed to get my hands on a ton of games. Strangely, however, I never actually picked up Ratchet and Clank. Despite the games being one of the biggest selling franchises on the PS2, I never got around to playing them. My first foray into the Lombax's universe and the little robot backpack was playing Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Upon playing that game, I was in pure awe of everything it had to offer. As I planned to dust off my PS2 and find the previous three games used, I was told by the clerk that perhaps I should wait, as an HD collection was right around the corner. Sure enough, that collection hit and I got to experience the first three games for the very first time in splendid HD.

It has been ten years since Ratchet and Clank debuted, and as I sat there playing the collection I found myself in awe. They were amazing games. Games that, with each installment, actually got better and better. And what was remarkable about this progression was that at no point in time did I ever feel one game had to "fix" the flaws of another. No, rather each new game just adds the right amount of new stuff to keep it interesting and make the experience more rewarding.

HD Collections are slowly being debated about in the gaming industry. But Ratchet and Clank is most certainly one of the better ones. When it comes to gaming and graphics one little known aspect that is hardly talked about is the aesthetics themselves and how sometimes that is what makes a game hold up. During the Playstation 2 era a lot of games tried to do character models that were closer to looking photo-realistic or something along those lines. This makes HD Collections like Metal Gear Solid look great, but their age shows a little bit more. A game like Ratchet and Clank, however, uses incredibly vibrant colors and cartoon like qualities. And one thing seems to be certain: These kinds of aesthetics most definitely age better than the ones going for a more "realistic" look. Case in point, if you didn't know the Ratchet and Clank games were originally Playstation 2 titles you might not assume they were right off the bat. There's A LOT of detail put into these games and they've actually aged rather well. No, they've got nothing on say... Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, but it's still admirable the amount of detail put into these games. In crisp HD they're amazing on the eyes. It is by far one of the best looking HD Collections you can find. It made that transition smoothly.

There are moments where the aspect ratio is still 4:3 and, of course, that can't be helped. They're pre-rendered cutscenes. But at the very least these scenes were updated as well. This is really only noticeable in the first Ratchet and Clank, however. The sides of your television will be black for these scenes. However, it's a step up from some HD collections that left their pre-rendered stuff untouched. There are moments in game, however, where it's still kept at the 4:3 ratio when it could've been stretched. Again, this mostly noticeable in the first one, as it has a lot of those moments.

Gameplay wise, Ratchet and Clank is familiar. You usually play as Ratchet, running around with Clank on your back. You'll be able to buy and find an assortment of weapons throughout the entire experience of all three games. In the first game it's merely finding and equipping them. But in the second there is more variety and they level up. By the time you get to the third you'll have a whole host of weapons to play with. As you move from one game to the next you can also carry over some weapons from one game to the next. Although with some weapons there isn't much point to carrying them over. For instance, in Going Commando, you start off with a Gravity Bomb that has a huge blast radius as it is. There's not much reason to carry over the original Bomb Glove from Ratchet and Clank in this instance. Often you'll find the new arsenal in each new game better than the last.

As with most HD Collections, however, you begin to see how some games have really aged. Despite just being ten years old, it may take some gamers a bit of time to adjust to some of the controls. In the instances of swimming it took a moment to adjust. It also took a moment to adjust to the camera controls and to the idea of pressing the O button to fire when most modern day games rely on using R1. These are, of course, minor complaints. Namely because the Ratchet and Clank games were state of the art. It's just how games were made in 2002. The controls, for the most part, don't really improve much as you go from one game to another. This is actually not so bad as once you settle in you'll pretty much be okay for the whole set. The games aren't long either so you'll easily pass through all of them. There is trophy support added for those who want it, though, and some of them are quite fun to try for while others just seem silly to go for (collecting 1 million bolts in the first game is just tedious without exploiting a well known glitch).

That's not to say everything about the collection is perfect. There were times when there was some noticeable frame rate issues. And normally this happens when a game is overcrowded with a lot of data on screen, but this wasn't the case here. Sometimes the frame rate seemed to dip for essentially no reason. Likewise, sometimes when the audio would loop it would hiccup for just a second or two.

It's actually quite amazing how well the games have aged. I am sitting here playing these games for the first time after having played Future: Tools of Destruction and it's hard not to be impressed. Certainly the controls aren't up to speed, but they're still solid and tight that learning them is all that is necessary. It never really trips you up. The progression through each planet is also simply amazing. It's also nice to see how the games evolved in every standpoint. The production values in the first one are stellar as it is, for instance, and jumping into Going Commando once I was finished with my first adventure showed a major step. Simply put, each game just kept getting better in every sense of the word. More weapons. More variety of levels and exploration. Other aspects just simply got better. The cutscenes in each game looked and sounded better. The voice acting got better with each game. The writing got better with each game. The humor got better with each game. And most important, each new adventure was better.

It's hard not to recommend the collection. All small hiccups aside, these are phenomenal games. There are hardly any platformers out there that can best Ratchet and Clank. Many come close but few truly eclipse it in terms of quality and substance. Not to mention it has moments of just pure action and amazement. To revisit them in HD or (as is my case) to discover these gems for the first time is well worth the investment.
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4.7 out of 5 stars (319 customer reviews)
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S. Rhodes

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