Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time – First Impressions

Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time is the newest entry in the Ratchet and Clank series, which has been around since 2002′s Ratchet and Clank. The series had a rough first entry, in my opinion, caused purely by the lack of a strafe button which made the controls more awkward than needed. The 2003 follow up Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando vastly improved on the series, but 2004′s Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal was when the game became perfect. The controls were the epitome of smooth, precise and intuitive, the humor was incredibly well done and the game’s pacing was spot on.  When the series made the jump to the PS3, I took a hiatus due to my lack of a PS3, but I have picked the game up again with Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, and I must say I am a bit disappointed, although the game does seem quite good.

Up Your Arsenal used a control scheme that I found to be perfect. The left stick moved Ratchet, the right stick aimed, one shoulder button fired and one shoulder button jumped. Frenetic combat was incredibly smooth due to this system that allowed you to never move your fingers off of a stick or button. You didn’t have to move your thumb off of the aim stick to jump or fire. A Crack in Time appears to have done away with this system, and instead used a more standard system where you can shoot with R1, but Circle is used to jump. While this leaves it as a purely normal system, I’m disappointed
with the removal of what I consider to be the finest control scheme ever implemented in a game.

On other issues, the game carries the torch of the old series just fine. The humor is intact, the characters are likable, the explosions are intense and the action is chaotic. It feels very much like the old game series I came to love. At the moment, I’ve only seen old, familiar characters – Ratchet, Clank, Quark and Dr. Nefarious (plus his hilarious butler Lawrence), so I am excited to progress through the game and see new characters that were not in Up Your Arsenal (the most recent Ratchet game I have played).

At this stage in the game, I am liking what I see, but I do think they took a step back on the controls front. I hope they left the weapon upgrade system in place (or improved upon it), but at the moment, I haven’t upgraded any of my weapons. I don’t think this game will top Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for my PS3 Game of the Year, but it can give it a good challenge.

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