Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy: Classics HD (2012)

Genre: Platformer  |  Players: 1 / Up to 8 Online (R+C 3 only)  |  Developer: Insomniac Games (original PS2 editions) / Idol Minds (PS3 port) / Mass Media Inc. (PSV port)

Replaying the first three R+C games was even more fun than I'd expected it to be, and my hopes were pretty high to begin with.  The revisit brought to light something that can be viewed primarily in one of two ways: it either shows how little the series changed over a short number of years (2002-04), or it highlights how spot-on the devs at Insomniac got the formula on their first try.  I sit firmly in the latter camp while acknowledging the former from afar.

I'm not implying that the first game is perfect.  It clearly isn't.  It’s the only one of the three without a strafe manoeuvre, making it a lot harder than it could've been otherwise.  There’s a workaround but it’s not ideal.  On the plus side, Clank’s first words are of the series-defining innuendo variety.

The second game, known as R+C: Locked and Loaded (EU); R+C: Going Commando (US); or simply as R+C 2 (JP), remedied the lack of strafe and nailed the voices that we've come to know and instantly recognise.  The platforming and guns were better, and there are more forgiving checkpoints throughout.
For my money the only stains on an otherwise perfect gaming experience are the frustrating glider sections that require a lot of patience and more than a little trial and error, and the awful Clank on the Moon missions.  In fact, in all three games the Clank parts are more of a necessary chore than an enjoyable break.  They were included to offer gamers variety, but if they could be removed it would make R+C 2 a strong contender for the best 3D platformer on a Sony machine.

R+C 3 (EU + JP), known as R+C: Up Your Arsenal in the US, tweaked the formula a little more, but with R+C 2 being so good there wasn't a lot they could do besides add more inventive weapons and not cock-up anything that already worked perfectly.  To that end, they cranked the innuendo lever even harder.

The replay value of each game is more than generous.  If it takes X amount of time to finish, it’ll take at least 2X to mop up the bonus stuff.  You've access to even more destructive weapons on your second playthrough, known as Challenge Mode.  During C Mode you keep the majority of your inventory and every bolt you've earned.  Being fully armed from the start means it’s easier to progress, but the enemies are more dangerous so it’s not completely effortless.

The port from PS2 to PS3 by Idol Minds doesn't harm the games in any way.  They even kept the multi-player aspect of R+C 3 intact, making it fully playable over PSN.  I didn't care to try it, but it's a notable addition, nonetheless.

It's one of Sony's 'Cross Buy' titles, but I can't comment on the PSV versions.  I'm not one of the half-dozen people in the UK that actually own a PSV.

4 socioeconomic disparities out of 5

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