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UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

‘Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’ game review

Michael Tracey, Reporter

The beloved video game characters Ratchet and Clank are back for their exclusive debut on the newest PlayStation console. “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” is the 16th installment in Sony Interactive’s long-running franchise that has gained worldwide recognition since it started in 2002. This time around, Ratchet and Clank are on a multi-dimensional adventure that can only be possible with the technology behind the PlayStation 5. 

“Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” is a shooter with a third-person perspective that involves platforming and puzzle-solving. It’s an action-adventure game that shares a heartfelt story that both new and returning players of the franchise will enjoy. “Rift Apart” isn’t only the first must-play experience on the PS5; it’s a serious game of the year contender as well. 

Photo courtesy of Insomniac Games.

The story begins with Ratchet and Clank joining friends in a celebration of their past heroics. It’s fitting, considering this is their 16th adventure. As the event progresses in the opening sequence, The robot Clank surprises his best friend Ratchet with a gift for the occasion. Clank reconstructed a device from the past called “the dimensionator,” which allows the handler to open portals from other dimensions. 

The gift necessarily isn’t the device itself; it’s granting Ratchet the ability to search for his mostly extinct species of Lombaxes. Unfortunately, aside from Clank’s good intentions during the event, they both realize that a villain can quickly exploit the power of this device. Within moments, the villain Dr. Nefarious crashes the festivities and steals the dimensionator.

Both parties are responsible for damaging the device during the fight, affecting the nature of time and space. Ratchet and Clank get separated after traveling through multiple dimensional rifts colliding together. The battle with Dr. Nefarious proves to be more than Ratchet and Clank bargained for, and they’re in for a wild ride. 

Photo courtesy of Insomniac Games.

Clank zaps into another dimension that’s intimidating but familiar at the same time. Shortly after arriving, Clank stumbles upon Ratchet’s female counterpart, Rivet. She is aware of the villain, but he’s known as Emperor Nefarious in her dimension. What she’s concerned about is all the mayhem caused by the conflict between Dr. Nefarious and Ratchet and Clank. She primarily cares about fixing the rifts and saving the people she loves before it’s too late. Rivet and Clank team up in search of her fellow Lombax Ratchet in an attempt to make things right and stop the evil Dr. Nefarious together. 

“Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” does an excellent job balancing the playability between both Ratchet and Rivet during the story. Some games pivot after introducing a new character, forcing the player to fill their shoes instead. Many even have you play as that character most of the time. Not to worry because I felt there’s a healthy balance between the two Lombaxes in “Rift Apart.”

The developer, Insomniac Games, designed Rivet similar to Ratchet in many ways, so while you’re playing as her, you don’t miss him as much. I was hoping for contrast in weapons and customizing outfits, but it’s not there. It’s practically a similar experience when you’re playing as Rivet, even if it makes sense since they’re the variation of each other. However, the standout differences from Ratchet are in her personality. Rivet is one of the best parts about “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart,” and she’s solidified as a favorite character in the franchise for me now. 

Photo courtesy of Insomniac Games.

I won’t share more about the story for spoiler reasons, especially considering it’s brief. It took me around 15 hours to 100 percent the entire game. Each hour swiftly passed by, and my dimension ceased to exist because of how much enjoyment I was having. 

From the moment the first scene began to its cliffhanger conclusion, I couldn’t stop smiling. “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” makes you believe you’re behind the wheel of a Disney Pixar animated film. It’s hard to put the controller down because the narrative moves forward at a fast pace, and everything else about the game feels so good all of the time. 

I’ll admit, this is only the second “Ratchet & Clank” title I’ve played since I joined the PlayStation ecosystem in 2019. I’m sure there were subtle nods and easter eggs from past games, but nothing made me feel left out of the loop narratively. 

Now that I’ve loosely covered what to expect from the story let’s talk about the gameplay. There’s a lot to happily embrace about the new adventure of Ratchet and Clank, even though it has a short story and a $70 price tag.

Photo courtesy of Insomniac Games.

If you’ve ever played a “Ratchet & Clank” game before, you are well aware that it features the most insane weapons found in any game, period. There are numerous options at your disposal, and each one you unlock is as unique as the next. A few are returning weapons, and the other four that are new I will save as a surprise. 

The PS5’s Dualsense controller enhances the gameplay during “Rift Apart.” The haptic feedback and adaptive triggers allow the game to be more immersive with its sounds and vibrations while never distracting your attention. Instead, every pull of the trigger is satisfying even after hours of playing. A great deal is happening mechanically on the screen at once, and it’s truly awe-inspiring to see.

Visually, “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” is a graphical masterpiece that oozes with life on every planet you visit. I can honestly say that I never had any frame drops during the most intense combat scenarios while rapidly platforming around.

Photo courtesy of Insomniac Games.

It’s essential to include that the power of the solid-state drive in the PS5 lets Insomniac Games seamlessly fill each location with rich detail between its enemies, items, or visual effects. As expected with the new generation of gaming, there isn’t a single load screen during its entirety either.

I recommend turning on performance ray tracing mode in the settings for the best results. Ray tracing is applied in video games to show realistic reflections on surfaces creating even more immersion. This performance mode keeps a stable 60 frames per second without losing ray tracing like other games. 

The technology that comes with the solid-state drive also grants unique capabilities only featured in “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.” For example, finding rifts in the game allows players to warp to them in seconds. Doing so lets you get an edge while battling enemies or includes added options for exploration. Jumping through rifts never gets old, no matter how many times you do it. 

There are also pocket dimensions that incorporate a platforming puzzle with a prize at the end for your troubles. It’s remarkable to see how easily you can transition between two worlds rendered together. Additionally, there are dozens of collectibles to find, so exploring is encouraged and rewarded.

Photo courtesy of Insomniac Games.

Besides the short-lived duration of  “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart,” I want to add what’s keeping me from rating it a solid five out of five Spinnaker sails. Overall, there wasn’t enough variety amongst the enemies. Even the lesser bosses were almost identical throughout the game. This example might be something minuscule in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something I noticed. 

I believe advertisements before the release date led to expectations of how the dimensional rifts were going to work. As a result, PlayStation fans anticipated that this would be the first game to showcase the full potential of the PS5. I don’t want to undermine how fun the rifts are during cutscenes and gameplay. But I won’t lie that it was a slight disappointment that Insomniac Games didn’t experiment more with other ideas to push the envelope. Instead, “Rift Apart” plays it safe but is a standard of what’s possible as we advance to the second year in the new generation. 

Still, “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” sets the bar for what the PS5 is capable of and gives the community exciting hope for what’s to come in the future of PlayStation.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Spinnaker sails. 


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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