I’ve played about with the Ratchet and Clank games now and again but Size Matters on the PSP was the only one I played from start to finish. A Crack in Time follows on from the last two PS3 outings and this time you mostly play as Ratchet as you explore the universe whilst Clank gets an outing now and again as he navigates a time machine in space called The Great Clock.
This time, your enemy is Dr Nefarious, a mechanical tyrant whose green dome head bears a resemblance to Amy Winehouse’s beehive. Joking aside, Ratchet tries to reunite with his sidekick and along the way helps another Lombax who once knew his father in the process.
If you’ve played any of the previous games you’ll know what to expect. The characters are funny, the controls are tight and nuts and bolts rain from everything you destroy which you can use as currency for some strange weaponry. Enjoyable weapons include the Sonic Eruptor which features an alien’s head which belches sound waves, the Spiral of Death which fires rotating blades at enemies and my favourite, Mr Zurkon, a robot which floats by your side dealing death to everyone and coming out with many an amusing phrase.
There are also areas of the game where you once again slide along Grind Rails, and now you have some cool hover boots which let you zoom round the levels at break-neck speed. And when flying between planets in space you can now stop off at various mini planets and do some Super Mario Galaxy inspired platforming to pick up bonuses and modifications for your weapons and ship. There’s also some shoot-‘em-up action if you want it and of course you’re rewarded with yet more bolts for succeeding.
Clank’s gameplay is a lot more surreal as it’s mostly set in a virtual world when you step into the Mnemonic Chamber. Clank can throw time bombs to slow down time and has to unlock doors using a puzzle mechanic I haven’t seen in a game before. Basically you have to record your movements to open doors and then use these recordings alongside your actual movements in order to continue. It’s tricky to explain but the result is some brain bending puzzles which are very satisfying to solve.
Although the game’s single player only, it’s at least twice as long as Modern Warfare 2 and should please fans of the series as well as anyone new to the franchise. With tonnes of things to collect and your weapons and Ratchet himself levelling up the more you fight, the game just keeps on giving. It will also make you laugh out loud with its great story and funny set pieces.
Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time is the best of the series yet so it gets 9 out of 10.
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