Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

• written by Flowerstar
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

If you're already a Ratchet & Clank fan, then you've already played better Ratchet & Clank games

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Ratchet & Clank series, it is developed by Insomniac Games and needs no introduction. The franchise is about a space cat (technically a Lombax) named Ratchet and a tiny robot called Clank going on epic space adventures together. As a duo, they kick intergalactic butt while saving the universe on a daily basis while taking names and leaving explosions in their wake. This series is still going strong since the dynamic duo's inception way back in 2002.

Dr. Nefarious rains on Ratchet and Clank's parade and steals the Dimensionator, which Clank fixed. The cosmic duo is separated and is transported to a universe where Dr. Nefarious finally wins and rules with a literal iron fist. Once arrived in the alternate dimension, Ratchet embarks on a solo adventure to find and reunite with his long-time best friend. Meanwhile, Clank meets Rivet, who is an alternate dimension version of Ratchet. Together, they go on a quest to locate Ratchet. On the way, they meet the members of the resistance and new characters and enemies and encounter alternate universe versions of the characters they are familiar with.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Speaking of the story, it contained all of the story beats but none of the charm of what makes the previous instalments memorable to begin with.

The story is somewhat lacking, especially when some of the characters aren’t acting like themselves. For example, Clank didn’t think things through. He should’ve presented the repaired Dimensionator to Ratchet in private instead of giving it to him at a public parade (where any villain could be lying in wait, waiting to snatch it at any given moment). Not to mention, Ratchet is suddenly meek and insecure about himself. Whereas in the previous instalments, he is brave, so sure of himself, confident, levelheaded and mature. If I didn't know any better, Ratchet and Clank acting out of character are making Rivet and Kit look good, personality wise. During one of the cutscenes, Ratchet and Kit were discussing fears about the future in their spaceship as they travelled to Kedaro Station on planet Cordelion. Fearing about the future is understandable and relatable. Heck, even I had a freaky dream about it years ago. The story feels shallow and unpolished but it’s a slight improvement compared to Ratchet & Clank (2016)’s story.

I hated that Rivet is getting all the attention, Ratchet and Clank feel like side characters in their own game. The game is called “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” for a reason.

On that note, Rivet is a one-dimensional character, particularly in the way she reacted towards Kit during their dispute. Trust issues I can definitely understand but robots have feelings too. Despite being machines, they are also sentient beings. What if Kit is afraid of how Rivet will react if she knew the truth? It’s not Kit’s fault she is programmed to cause harm.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

It doesn’t help that Rivet is essentially a gender-swapped, carbon copy, alternate version of Ratchet. She walks like him, she runs like him, she carries Clank/Kit on her back like him, she zooms around on her hoverboots like him… you get the picture. She even have the same moveset as him. Insomniac Games certainly dropped the ball. Both protagonists should have different movesets to differentiate from one another. It makes her unimaginative.

The game doesn’t explain why Ratchet and Rivet have the same gadgets. For example, Rivet eventually obtains the Hurlshot gadget and Ratchet somehow attains one too out of nowhere This can be jarring and will leave people constantly wondering why.

The Rift Tether felt like a cheap gimmick. There is little in the way of describing it. It’s like the Swingshot gadget. When Ratchet/Rivet points their Rift Tether at a rift, it transports them to a different part of the current area they are in. However, the player has to realign the position of Ratchet/Rivet in order to face them in the direction they are looking towards (or shooting their weapon at if the player is engaged in battle with an enemy). As a result, the gadget feels awkward and clunky to utilise.

Kit’s giant warbot form is wasted potential due to the fact that players are denied the chance to play as her in her massive warbot form. If it’s of any indication, at least Insomniac Games seemed to remember that Clank’s giant form still exists.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Unfortunately, time haven’t been too kind on the soundtrack. It’s composed by Mark Mothersbaugh (of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter fame) and Wataru Hokoyama. The only music tracks that stood out are the main theme, Club Nefarious and the remix of "Drunken Sailor". The rest of the soundtrack is laughably forgettable. At least, it's slightly an improvement to the Ratchet & Clank (2016) soundtrack. If the soundtrack is forgettable, no one would care about it.

Dr. Nefarious is much more challenging in Ratchet & Clank (2016) compared to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart than Emperor Nefarious, even on the casual difficulty level. Unless you have the RYNO in your possession in regards to Ratchet & Clank (2016), you're pretty much screwed (excuse the mechanical pun). I still remember nearly emptying all of my ammo on him but I still have trouble trying to defeat him without the RYNO.

I’ve noticed the latest iteration of the RYNO weapon is less powerful compared to its previous versions. It can barely make a dent on Emperor Nefarious, let alone his power suit. Heck, even the RYNO from Ratchet & Clank (2016) is more powerful, considering it obliterated Dr. Nefarious in seconds! Emphasis on the word, “seconds”.

It’s nice and all to see randomly-chosen PlayStation Easter Eggs fall from the sky via a rift ripping open the fabric of space and time but that’s all there is to it. Just a light show. I’m just more disheartened that the latest RYNO didn’t have a lot of oomph to it in contrast to the previous iterations of the RYNO weapons. There is a reason why it lives up to its name after all.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Of course, the arsenal is the main attraction. However, some of the weapons are not very creative compared to the previous weapons from the previous instalments in the series. For instance, Mr. Fungi's dialogue isn't as memorable as Mr. Zircon. The same can be said about the character design of Mr. Fungi.

I'm surprised to see that the Bouncer finally made a comeback and it's surprising to see that it's ridiculously cheap. I could've sworn it costs a measly Bolt. Some familiar weapons also made a return such as the Pixeliser and the Buzz Blades. Meanwhile, Mr. Zircon and his family are taking different roles this time. Zircon Jr. hosts the arena matches, Zirkie is the bartender and Ms. Zircon is the weapons vendor instead of Gadgetron, Megacorp or Grummelnet this time.

I'm glad Insomniac Games responded to the backlash. When it comes to Ratchet & Clank (2016), If you didn't pre-order the game, it's impossible to attain the code for the pre-order bonus which is the Bouncer weapon. Not only is this unfair to the people that couldn't afford the game on the launch day, it makes everybody's weapon arsenal feel and look incomplete. In regards to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, now everyone can obtain the pre-order bonuses, regardless of the situation.

What irked me is according to a Reddit post and another one on the Ratchet & Clank Reddit page, there is supposed to be an e-mail sent to people that earned the platinum trophy which contains new avatars as awards and got nothing to show for it. I earned the platinum trophy on 1st July 2021 at 18:03pm and I didn’t get an e-mail similar to the e-mail shown in these posts. I even searched through my e-mail inbox and I found nothing. Either the award system is exclusive to the US, the award system is only available for some games or Sony initially wanted to award players with avatars but it changed its mind at the last minute or it never went through with sending congratulatory e-mails to gamers that achieved the platinum trophy. What is the point of this e-mail when said e-mail leads to nothing? Is Sony is trying to lead everyone astray? Not only is this taking the mickey, but it also feels like false advertising/literal clickbait. I can even go far to say it kinda feels like a scam. A bunch of avatars as prizes sounds too good to be true.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

One of the most notable flaws is the repetitive enemy types, especially the bosses and mini-bosses. They have the same designs but with different names. Furthermore, they aren't the only ones that look alike. The NPCs also look identical, albeit different skin colours, different names and different job positions.

The arena is also lacking. I can't help but feel disappointed. The challenges look bare-bones in contrast to the challenges from the previous Ratchet & Clank instalments.

To make matters worse, there is no Insomniac Museum in sight. Insomniac Museums are a staple in the Ratchet & Clank series and it's strange that an Insomniac Museum is absent. Heck, even Ratchet & Clank (2016) have one, despite it's rushed. It's not like Insomniac Games to break tradition.

Unlike the previous games, there aren't many planets. I just want to explore more planets. It didn't feel like I got a bang for my buck. This doesn't justify the pricetag of the game.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

In spite of the criticisms, Insomniac Games pulled out all the stops and unleashed the accessibility settings to their full potential, unlike Ratchet & Clank (2016). Toys For Bob and Activision truly need to take notes from Insomniac Games, methinks. Despite Ratchet & Clank (2016) did contain the accursed motion blur, I felt fine. I can’t say the same about Spyro Reignited Trilogy. In fact, it took the British phrase, “do one’s head in”, very literally. In other words, it caused the worst migraine I ever experienced. As I stated in my Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart vs. Spyro Reignited Trilogy accessibility review I wrote for The Migraine Trust, Spyro Reignited Trilogy causing migraines is a cause for concern. You could say Ratchet and Clank “rift” Spyro a new one. Ba-dum Tssshhhh. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an example of why accessibility options need to be an industry standard. Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an example of a poorly-made game disregarding disabled players and migraine-stricken gamers. As a long-time Spyro fan and a life-long platformer fan, I don’t recommend Spyro Reignited Trilogy to anyone, especially disabled players and migraine sufferers.

If there is anything Ratchet & Clank (2016) got right is the fact no matter how near or far away you are from the Raritanium, you can shatter them with practically any weapon. Whereas in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, you can only use your OmniWrench to destroy them.

I can't stress this enough. The hoverboots should've have more abilities to compensate for the lack of Clank's presence. Even if you have Clank/Kit with you, you can only glide down using Clank's Helipack. The long jump and the high jump that normally accompanies Clank's Helipack is notably missing. This makes for some unnecessary frustrating platforming. In other words, without these capabilities, Ratchet/Rivet won't be able to grab onto the ledge of a platform or reach a platform they couldn't reach otherwise. This is another thing that Ratchet & Clank (2016) one-ups Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart needs more time in the oven due to the fact it suddenly crashed on me and I suddenly fell through the level while I was grinding on the rails, chasing Dr. Nefarious during the beginning of the game. Not even once a Ratchet & Clank game have crashed on me in my entire life.

If you're already a Ratchet & Clank fan, then you've already played better Ratchet & Clank games. But if this is your first foray into the Ratchet & Clank franchise, you should do yourself a favour and check out the previous Ratchet & Clank games.

In the meantime, give the Ratchet & Clank Fans Twitter/X account a follow and join the Ratchet & Clank Fans Facebook group!

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