Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time Review
By Josh Vance

Keeping The Platformer Alive
 I have been a long time acquaintance of this series since its beginnings on the PS2.  Now we come to its second airing on a next gen console and the series has lost none of the humor, wild and quirky assortments of weapons and gadgets, or colorful fun that has become its trademark.  In today’s vast conglomeration of shooters, racers, and rpgs, the nostalgic platformer is a dying breed.  Too few series have lasted the test of time in this genre and many developers have all but shrugged the platformer off to work on projects that keep up with the online shooter era.  Still, Insomniac continues to deliver us fresh material from their space-faring duo and they have yet to disappoint (aside from Deadlocked of course).

 A Crack in Time continues the story where Tools of Destruction left off.  This means that Ratchet and Clank are separated this time around, and they remain so for the majority of the game.  This was my biggest pet peeve at first, but it adds a fresh new twist to the series and Clank’s missions are very different and a lot of fun.  Ratchet spends the better portion of the game seeking out his lost buddy with the aid of the incessant Captain Qwark and another lombax general named Alister Azimuth.  Clank spends his segregated missions at a giant space station in the center of the universe called the great clock.  He is training with a zany robot to become the new caretaker of the clock, which holds the balance of time in order.  Along the way he learns revelations of his past and the secrets of his father.  

A Crack in Time improves upon the vibrant, colorful worlds and space battles of its predecessor with sharper, more defined graphics and a stunningly smooth frame rate.  I was very impressed with the water effects and how well it reacted to the character.  The mechanics are solid as always, Insomniac has perfected this series into a well honed and timeless shooter/platformer.  Even after the sixth time out, smashing boxes with your omniwrench and collecting all the scattered bolts never grows old.  Aside from the main storyline there are plenty of other things in the galaxy that will keep you busy.  This time around you have a free roaming space that is filled with an assortment of tiny moons for you to explore at your leisure.  At times you will be forced to scour these tiny planets in order to retrieve more Zoni, but they are sincerely worth the trip and are the heaviest platforming sections in the game.  Also you’ll run into many stranded ships and others that are willing to pay bolts for your services in the depths of space. The familiar battleplex element returns once again.  What Ratchet game would be complete without an arena contest, with waves and waves of goons to slaughter with all your high tech gadgetry?

As always, the weapons of this series are its bread and butter.  A few old favorites return, as well as some new ones this time around.  My most missed weapon has to be the nano-swarmers, I relied on them pretty heavily in the last game.  Thankfully, the hilarious groovitron is back to cause your enemies to boogie whilst you blast their hides, and my all time favorite, Mr. Zurkon.  This smart mouthed, little robot hovers alongside you in battle and blasts anyone that dares come near with his mounted turret and arsenal of witty banter.  He made me laugh throughout the whole game.  

The main flaw with this game, as with the last outing, is that it seems to end before its time.  Even with the addition of the explorative moons there just doesn’t seem to be the wealth of content that came with the Ratchet and Clank games of last generation.  Where is the vast ice deserts filled with moonstones for Ratchet to collect?  This is a gameplay element that I dearly wish would return to the series.  It provided hours of fun and exploration that stepped outside the main storyline.  Other than that I had no real issues with this game other than the hooverboot portion of the Dr. Nefarious fight at the end of the game felt a little wonky.  I died several times there and felt it was the fault of the camera and a weird slowdown in the frame rate, but maybe it was just me.  Still this is an outstanding addition to the Ratchet and Clank series.  You’ll be running, jumping and shooting your way through its color filled landscapes with a smile on your face that only a platformer can produce.  If you are a fan of the series, don’t miss it; if its just been awhile since you’ve dusted off your old platforming skills, step up and join in the fun.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9.25
Gameplay: 9
Story: 8.5

Multiplayer: Gasp! There isnt one, lets lower the score!
Presentation: 8.5
Replay Value: 8