After two other games of build up it’s finally here. It’s the finale to the Future trilogy of Ratchet and Clank. I enjoyed the other two games in spite of how short they are. Does A Crack in Time keep the quality at the same level as the other two games? Read on to find out.
The story of the future trilogy as a whole has done a good job of focusing on both characters. Ratchet had Tools of Destruction, and Clank has Crack in Time. In this game the story revolves around why the Zoni have taken Clank. It turns out Clank is the caretaker of the “Great Clock.” The Great Clock is a device that is used to keep time. It turns out that Dr. Nefarious wants to use the clock to make it so that villains would win, and protagonists would always lose.
The framing device is decent enough for this. The classic Ratchet and Clank characters return for this game, but some new characters are here as well. There are two new ones of note. They are notable because one of them I like, and one of them I do not like at all.
Let’s start with the one I do like. His name is Sigmund. Sigmund lives inside the great clock and acts as Clank’s tour guide for the missions you play as Clank. Sigmund is hyperactive, and childish but manages to stay likable. It’s obvious he cares about the clock and it’s well being, and despite his bumbling nature, he will do anything to protect it in the face of danger.
The other character I do not like. Now my reasons for not liking him are spoiler based so be prepared. The character is Allister Azimuth. Now when he’s introduced he seems like he should be an interesting character. He is one of the few Lombaxes left and he’s around because he was exiled for allowing the Lombaxes to disappear in the first place.
This on it’s own is a very interesting conflicted character. He wants to go back in time to change the fate of the Lombaxes, but Clank consistently tells him no. The clock isn’t meant for that. So a heel turn from the General is imminent. It’s just when
Well the turn comes at the very end of the game. To the point that the main bad guy of the story isn’t the final boss, Azimuth is. After having a pretty awesome battle with Nefarious, you have a pretty meh battle with Azimuth. Then after you completely obliterate him he sacrifices himself in a last minute face turn.
This is why I don’t like him. He wants to kill Ratchet for not letting him rewind time. Fine. Then after losing he still wants to rewind time, and Ratchet says no a little more firmly. Now Azimuth realizes the error of his ways and sacrifices himself in an explosion to prevent the destruction of the clock. That all happens within the span of fifteen minutes. There is so much more that could have been done with that. There’s even a point where Azimuth kills Ratchet, but this problem is solved in five minutes.
I understand they were at the end of the trilogy, but the game could have benefited from an interesting turn of events like that. Still it is a decent enough story. It isn’t as engaging as Tools of Destruction, but the characters are much more interesting than in Tools. As such it gets a 33 out of 40.
There’s really not much to say here. The gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a Ratchet and Clank game. The shooting gameplay is very well handled as always. The guns are very fun to use. In Tools of Destruction I had a couple of weapons that I always fell back on. In this game that’s true to some extent, but I was much more willing to experiment in this game because each one was fun to use and upgrade.
One thing that really works in this games favor is how the platforming has been drastically improved. In Tools of Destruction, and to a lesser extent in Quest For Booty, the platforming segments handled terribly. In this game everything has been smoothed out. The platforming segments are relegated to side missions in space. They are clever and actually reward you with upgrades to your ship.
On it’s own this game will probably only get you about 9 hours, but if you collect everything that number is drastically increased. The game does a lot to keep your interest as well. There’s more than just the average go to point a on a map and kill everything in said place. Aside from the clever space missions I mentioned earlier there are a few excellent missions that take place when the player controls Clank.
Throughout the game the player assumes control of Clank doing his caretaking job at the Great Clock. These missions have many puzzles around the concept of slowing time and going back in time. These missions are extraordinarily clever and some of the later ones can be pretty challenging. They’ll test your problem solving, platforming ability, reflexes, and timing to solve.
If there was a part of the gameplay I didn’t like it was the boss fights. They were just too easy. The game itself isn’t a cake walk, especially with those time puzzles, but the regular combat is easy, but not dreadfully so. The boss fights however seem to ratchet down the difficulty. (excuse the pun) Most bosses have two sections. There is the one part where they try to shoot you, and then there’s the part where they go invincible and sent minions after you. Their patterns are easy to exploit, and their minions are easy to kill, and your ammo is usually replenished quickly.
In the end the gameplay is what you’d expect from Ratchet and Clank, although improved greatly. The only thing that went down was the boss fights. Sure there were a couple of cool set pieces. Like when fighting Nefarious you use the hover boots to fly around a destroyed ship. The rest however aren’t very interesting. So the gameplay for Ratchet and Clank Crack in Time is a 36 out of 40.
These games always look fantastic. Playing these games is like a low end Pixar movie, whereas the cinematics are like watching a high end Pixar movie. Needless to say the game looks great.
In the last game I had a problem with Ratchet’s eyebrows phasing through his head, but that problem seems to have been alleviated. The game is bright and colorful and the art style is as creative as it’s ever been.
As with the previous games the guns are the most interesting things to look at, the particle effects are nice.
If the game has any problems it comes when there’s a lot on the screen. If there’s a large number of enemies, items, and projectiles the game takes a noticeable dive, but otherwise runs at a smooth clip.
The voice acting is well done in this game, with each actor playing their part well. Some characters have annoying voices (the fongoids) but other than that the audio in this game is well done. Overall not much to complain about.
As such the game gets a presentation score of 19 out of 20. It’s graphically fantastic, but it’s framerate issues hold it back from the perfect 20.
So in the end Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time gets a
33 out of 40 for the story
36 out of 40 for the gameplay and a
19 out of 20 for the presentation equaling a
88 out of 100 or a B+
As soon as you get them, level up the Blades. They’ll wreck any boss when leveled up.