Review: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank are back with a new adventure, on a new console and especially in new dimensions! Rift Apart is a direct sequel to Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus from 2013. But, is the game a worthy sequel? Read it in our review!
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be released on June 11, exclusively for the Playstation 5. This means that the game should make full use of the qualities that the PS5 has to offer. Think of the Dualsense rumble, the renewed processor and graphics architecture and the super-fast SSD. In the teasers and trailers for the game you could already see smooth transitions from dimension to dimension. Can the final game from Insomniac live up to the trailers?
Humor above all
Ratchet & Clank is a series that looks childish, but still has the necessary touches of adult humor. It's like that series you watched as a kid, but now you understand the jokes as an adult. Then ask yourself, what possessed your parents to let you watch this. That's no different in Rift Apart, luckily! Every minute I was lying on the couch laughing like a maniac at the memorable characters, the well-thought-out humor and the necessary lame puns. Humor is a big part of the game, but beyond that Insomniac knows exactly when they want to ruin your emotions. The story is funny, beautiful and action packed. I personally can't really describe how emotional I got with some scenes. It's the kind of game that draws you in so much in terms of story that you can go from laughing to crying within 5 seconds. But, it's a well-written story with some back-and-forths between Ratchet and Rivet.
Rivet? Yes, you've probably already seen this new Lombax in the trailers. She is Ratchet's counter-part in a totally different dimension. The story is like this; Clank wants to surprise Ratchet with an interdimensional weapon and this goes wrong. The dimensions are in tatters and everything is upside down. It's up to Ratchet, Rivet, Clank and a lot of other characters to set this right. What I really like is that Clank gets a much bigger role in this part, with more background and future perspective than in the other parts. So you play alternately between different characters and this suddenly makes an otherwise one-sided perspective a lot wider. In the story you also get a lot of information about the Lombax as a race, something that Ratchet has been looking for for a while. How do you get this? Find out for yourself!
Beyond this, parallel dimensions and universes also bring in the necessary characters. So you see a number of different variants of characters that you already know from other parts, but with a twist. This also makes the humor just that little bit better every now and then. All in all, the game tells a fantastic story that I can hardly notice. The combination of graphics, gameplay and story really makes me feel like I'm playing a Pixar movie.
One Lombax army
In terms of gameplay, there is also very little to complain about in Rift Apart. The game is packed with cool features, weapons and the combat plays extremely smoothly. Every planet you visit brings new features, such as hoover boots with which you can fly around the world quickly and so on. This kept every world very fresh not only in terms of looks, but also in terms of gameplay. The worlds therefore felt better developed than in the 2016 part. Beyond that, you have a full arsenal with plenty of new weapons and gadgets to try out. For example, there is a gun that lets you summon objects from another dimension to crush your enemies. You also have various gadgets with which you can summon little helpers to do 'something' in combat. Anyway, switching between weapons and gadgets always feels like a cool experience because of the amount and uniqueness.
There were some weapons that I was less comfortable with myself, such as the Ricochet Gun, but for the rest the weapons in combat each felt like a breath of fresh air. You actually feel like a one Lombax army with your whole arsenal. Obtaining and upgrading these weapons is also very well done. For example, my standard Blast Gun felt like a Rambo-esque machine gun halfway through the game. The explanation you get about the weapons is also really funny, where a small cinematic with a pretty annoying voice will show you what each weapon does. The combat itself and the alternating between hitting with your hammer or wrench and shooting with your weapons or gadgets just feels very fluid.
The interaction with your Dualsense is also well developed. For example, with your bumper half pressed in, you can shoot more accurately, or only shoot one bullet at a time, instead of more. This and the combination with the Haptic Feedback that is applied well feels like a real next-gen controller experience. You also feel every shot hitting your bumper, which just really adds more immersion. The game is also really challenging enough, even on normal difficulty settings.
Worlds and Dimensions
Ratchet and Rivet both play really great in this part. Especially the way they travel through all the worlds is really well worked out. You have a gadget with which you can dodge, this also makes the combat a lot smoother and so Ratchet and Rivet feel a lot more mobile. In the worlds you can easily travel through a lot of new ways of exploring. You can run over walls, jump over buildings, teleport with your Rift gadget and so on. You will also find a unique way of exploring in every world. For example, you can ride on insects in a swamp to quickly get from point A to B, C to Z. The same goes for, for example, the hoover boots I talked about earlier.
All worlds look fantastic. Every planet you visit feels unique and has a well thought out and elaborated style. Beyond that, there is also plenty of quantity to explore through. Worlds also have a lot of secret places that you can only get to if you pay attention and use your environment and gadgets. But, I especially liked the aesthetics; from a Cyberpunk-esque city to a swamp where the ray-tracing is flying around you. All plants simply look fantastic, with enough diversity in assets. Enemies are sometimes the same for a longer period of time, but more often than not, not very unique. The boss fights and mini bosses are also well developed and often let you really use different types of weapons to reach your goal!
The puzzles that you have to perform with Clank in between dimensions are often quite brain teasers. You use different types of spheres here, which you sometimes have to search carefully and then apply them properly. Also there are puzzles where you play like a hacker spider, here you have to remove literal viruses and this can get very hectic at times. The worlds all in all feel very open and the ways of exploring and solving puzzles makes for an almost real RPG experience.
Clank, you're all glowing!
As one of the first games to take full advantage of the possibilities developers see in the early stages of the Playstation 5, all eyes are really set on Rift Apart. I can assure you, the game looks phenomenal. All assets are sharp and detailed and the ray tracing had me picking my jaw off the ground at times. The game just looks slick every second and I didn't notice any issues in the performance either, in both performance and fidelity mode. I played the first part in fidelity mode, where you play with 30FPS and open all graphic options. After the Day One patch, I obviously tried the performance mode and performance RT mode, which I also really liked. Everyone can play the game with his or her choices in graphics and performance options. The color palette is also very extensive and Rift Apart is a very colorful game. Just Clank sitting on your back has so much reflection that you could stare yourself blind at it. It once again felt like you were playing a real Pixar movie!
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The way this game uses the super-fast PS5 SSD is also something to write home about. The game loads complete levels without you even noticing it and also starting the game takes seconds. Loading screens are really a thing of the past here. In some scenes you also just noticed that Insomniac cared about it, switching smoothly between 4-5 planets or dimensions without any stutter or a loading screen. I also didn't notice any pop-ins or assets that had to load. As someone coming off a fairly fast gaming PC, I was very surprised with the speed of the SSD in Rift Apart!
Audio and Dialogue
The spoken dialogue for every character, even the characters you only see for a few seconds, is well spoken. There was little to fault in dialogue in any way. The humor and emotion could be heard everywhere. The audio in-game itself could be quite chaotic during hectic combat moments, but the sounds you hear can be placed anywhere.
The photo modes in Rift Apart are a lot of fun to play with. You can choose light incidences with ray-tracing and thus actually throw ambiance into the mix. Completely converting a boring photo into an atmospheric intention is no problem at all. Even more features are added in the Day One patch. I think we're going to see a lot of fan-made creations in the Communities on PS5. Even if you normally don't do anything with a photo mode, I can still advise you to take a gamble. Below you can see how I converted a fairly boring photo into a nice atmospheric photo, purely by applying light.
Apart from a few minor aspects, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a seamless experience with a funny yet very cool storyline, gigantic worlds, jaw-dropping graphics and the fluid combat that we are used to from Insomniac. I have almost no complaints about the game and in my opinion it is a perfect entrant for the Game of the Year awards at the end of this year. I hope every Playstation 5 exclusive will show this kind of quality and this title only makes me even more curious about what the future has to offer! Still, for me, this is the first real next-gen experience that actually seems worthy of next-gen in almost every aspect.
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