The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy Review

The Ratchet & Clank trilogy is intended to remind us that the present is much more complicated than the past. All too often, we feel like we’re done with the days when players found the satisfaction of running and jumping with a key, denigrating crates for the eternally satisfying zing that explodes from your speakers when you get another shiny bolt. I’m afraid we’ve just lost those moments of simple and uninterrupted fun.

Still, we have at least one HD remaster of the original trilogy to tickle our nostalgia glands: the original Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet & Clank 2: Locked and Loaded, and Ratchet & Clank 3: Up your Arsenal are all included, and through all three games there’s an impressive amount of content in the show. All three are humorous and charming, with a sympathetic cast of wacky characters that make up a mix of good, bad and downright crazy. Choose to progress in each game in order, and you’ll watch the evolution of Ratchet’s relationship with his monotonous robot partner Clank as you save worlds from notorious villains one bolt at a time.

These PlayStation 2 classics have aged remarkably well, and it’s almost impossible to say, even with most eyewitnesses, that the first game now 10 years old is extremely respectable. The dynamics of colors and aesthetic diversity are the key to the games, and the cartoon style helps them look timeless. Unfortunately, the cutscenes aren’t as impressive, often abruptly going from 16:9 to 4:3 and losing the crisp clarity that makes the rest of the game so appealing. It is a small problem, but very noticeable when it happens. 3D support is also presented, but at the expense of a silky resolution 60fps and 1080p, which, in my opinion, defeats the point of owning an HD collection.

Each game consists of different planets, climates and environments, with most environments having large open areas – which was especially unique to the platform genre a decade ago, and the freedom to walk through that space gives the games themselves a charming sense of carelessness. There is no unnecessary fat bulky experience, however, and only a sometimes irritating camera manages to disrupt the fluid gameplay.

Compared to after titles, the first game feels simplified but also little adventurous and limited, the games taking variety as they progress in the series. The set piece missions deviate from the standard model of enemy action and bolt collecting, repelling feelings of excessive familiarity.

Ratchet’s unique set of weapons also maintains the potentially unique atmosphere of ranged action. Each tool of destruction is an absolute boom to use, and they each bring an irresistible charm to the subtle art of booming your enemies. The thirst for new weapons is deep in your subconscious, forcing you to collect screws by the thousands to spend upgrades and new items.

But while beautiful visuals reinvigorate Ratchet in modern life and weapons like the Sheepinator keep the action fun and exciting, some numbers reveal the true age of the series. The issues aren’t as visible in the two subsequent games, where action has been amplified and refined, purchasable weapon upgrades bring an RPG-lite vibe to progress, and the controls are much more responsive, but the original stumbles often. It’s cumbersome, offers little challenge and you won’t worry about looking back once you start playing its successors.

If you can ignore these problems and this dubious camera, then there is no reason why you should not get up from your chair, walk around the stores with your arms raised and buy this collection right now. It’s more than just a journey of nostalgia, Mind; it’s a trilogy that plays well, looks even better and freezes together more perfectly than any other HD collection I’ve played so far.

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