The Ratchet and Clank Trilogy is utterly wonderful. Everything holds up excellently, and the games feel fresh even to this day.
Nostalgia is a curse. You revisit the classics of your youth, only to discover a crack in the rose tinted glasses you adore so much. Trying to remember what you enjoyed about the game in the first place, eventually it all becomes a futile effort in forced enjoyment, a forced march down memory lane. Sometimes, nostalgia gets it right, and Insomniac’s first three Ratchet and Clank games are a testament to this. A brilliantly restored package, if somewhat lacking in extras, The Ratchet and Clank Trilogy is fantastic through and through.
Collecting the first three games in the series, you’ll jump around alien worlds and mercilessly slaughter thousands of their inhabitants, all the while using the sort of arsenal that would make Q blush. To put it reductively, the first Ratchet game is very much a standard platformer with some heavy exploration thrown in, the second is a planet hopping RPG, and the third is something akin to a Disney channel corridor shooter. Aside from some weapons carrying over from one adventure to the next, all three journeys are thoroughly excellent, and utterly fantastic to play through again. Going through each game in turn showcases just how much the series changed and evolved in just a few years, from the introduction of experience points to Ratchet 3′s introduction of a lock strafe control scheme. You’ll feel a bit naked without them in the first two games for a brief period, but eventually you’ll figure out the best tools for the job in each entry in the series.
Of course, all the fantastic gameplay in the world wouldn’t mean too much if the game’s ran terribly, so i’m thankful that Idol Minds managed to pull it off wonderfully. The games run at a near constant 60 frames per second, with only brief periods of slowdown emerging here and there. The games look great, sound excellent, and everything still works like a charm. Idol Minds even went the extra mile and completely rebuilt Ratchet and Clank 3′s multiplayer, meaning that you can still hop online and go a few rounds with whoever else is hanging out there. The multiplayer is still as fast and insane as it used to be, and the included split screen modes mean that you can even take a buddy online with you. There are a couple of glitches here and there though, and I encountered a few in the early stages of Ratchet 3. At one point, my ship disappeared entirely during the takeoff sequence, and I certainly recall falling through the world at least once. I was intentionally trying to see if I could break the game at that point though, so I suppose I succeeded. Either way, the HD remasters look fantastic.
Don’t expect to be going in to this HD collection with anything special in mind though. Although it’s the 10th anniversary of Ratchet and Clank, the package does precious little to showcase this. A single extra logo in the introductory sequence lets you know the significance, but the menu art for selecting the games is ripped from All 4 One, and there’s nothing extra whatsoever. Granted, the Jak and Daxter collection had nothing either, but those games didn’t have a prominent anniversary this year. This collection could have done with the Team Ico treatment though. A couple of themes, a documentary on the series, but what we’re left with here is a rather bare bones package indeed. It just feels a little sad really. Even the box art is from the PS3 games.
Regardless, The Ratchet and Clank Trilogy is utterly wonderful. Everything holds up excellently, and the games feel fresh even to this day. There’s still nothing like transforming an enemy into a sheep, and playing through these three games got me wondering what we could see from the series on the next PlayStation. I’m sure there’s a lot of potential arsenal insanity untapped yet.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
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Developer:Idol Minds, Insomniac
Release Date:June 2012
Players:1-4 (Local), 1-8 (Online)