Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Extremely eagerly anticipated by PlayStation 5 owners and followers, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has almost arrived. We took a look at the next big exclusive for Sony’s new flagship console.

With the recent announcement that the upcoming God of War game will also be released for PlayStation 4, we’re having a tough time listing 1st party exclusives for the PS5. That might change during E3 and/or other (digital) trade shows this summer, but after Returnal’s release all eyes were focused on Ratchet & Clank, as it was the only game with a fixed release date still on the horizon. That’s a lot of pressure, but Insomniac has delivered with a class act of a game.

After the PS4 reboot/remake in the series, Rift Apart is the first truly new adventure for the titular duo in quite a while, and it marks a return to the classic formula of the iconic trilogy that were the first three games in the series. At least, at its core, where it’s a brilliant third person action platformer with gorgeous visuals and stellar set pieces.

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If we had to fault the game for anything, it’s that Insomniac has tacked on several elements that are hit and miss and feel like distractions and padding at worst, and perfectly functional at best. These include bits where you have to hack computer systems with a robot spider as well as light puzzle sequences starring Clank – the latter being more fun than the former.

The game is absolutely gorgeous though, especially during the platformer/adventure sections of the game. The trailers and early gameplay demos had already demonstrated this, but it’s great to see that level of quality holding up over the course of a 10+ hour adventure. The game actually looks like the 2016 animated movie in cutscenes, and those seamlessly transition to gameplay in impressive transitions before a new mission starts.

The story’s a bit more forgettable than the gorgeous visuals, revolving around a Dimensionator that was built by Clank so that Ratchet could search other dimensions for fellow Lombax. Just as Ratchet is about to be presented with the tool that might unite him with his family, archenemy Dr Nefarious swoops in, takes it for his own and tears apart time and space in the process. Ratchet and Clank get separated, as we’re introduced to Rivet, a female equivalent to Ratchet living in another dimension.

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You’re somewhat free to select your next mission, but the choice is usually between Rivet or Ratchet’s side of the story – with missions equally divided between the two. And while the two share their arsenal of weapons and have similar control mechanics (strafing and shooting still reigns supreme), they feel unique enough thanks to subtle difference in controls and standout personalities, realized though excellent voice acting. Several other characters, including Dr. Nefarious, also have otherdimensional counterparts – but we’ll leave those for you to discover as it’s part of the fun.

The aforementioned arsenal of weapons is nice and diverse, as we’ve come to expect from the series. From ‘standard’ rocket launches and blasters to more eccentric options like the ability to turn your opponents into plants for a few seconds, it’s all there. What’s also noteworthy is how well your arsenal works in combination with the DualSense controller, with adaptive triggers and haptic feedback making sure that each weapon feels as different as it looks on screen.

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Looking beyond the controller, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart also utilizes the PlayStation 5’s power for other effects. Some are visual in nature, with raytracing and lighting being used to great effect – the second level where we meet Rivet inside a lush forest area where light pierces through the canopy and particles glisten in the sunlight was truly breathtaking to see. It’s not just visual polish though – the ‘multiple dimensions’ mechanic is also used to let Ratchet and Rivet zip through several dimensions in a single rail sequence, which makes for some great set pieces.

In addition to the recognizable action platforming, Rift Apart also features a Battleplex Arena that lets you engage in wave-based battles for some extra cash, as well as optional side missions – some of which are entirely based on collecting objects inside larger environments that you get to explore and traverse. We completed about half of the optional objectives during our playthrough, but there’s content here for those looking for that 100% score beyond the story campaign.

The core “Ratchet & Clank” experience here has been polished almost to perfection, and Rivet is a great addition to the franchise. While the little minigame/puzzle sections don’t add much to the experience as a whole, Rift Apart is an adventure that long time fans as well as new PlayStation 5 owners won’t want to miss. It’s not overly challenging at its default settings, but at least that means you get to take in all of what the game has to offer – a gorgeous sci-fi adventure for a new generation.

Score: 8.7/10

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