﹛﹛Ratchet and Clank have been doing the whole ※saving the universe§ thing for quite some time, and their latest adventure, Rift Apart, amusingly acknowledges that right from the start. But the duo＊s age doesn＊t show at all thanks to an amazing outing 每 their first new one in nearly a decade 每 that is a gorgeous and expertly crafted example of what PS5 exclusives can look and play like. And even compared to great work building out a universe for Spider-Man, Rift Apart may be Insomniac＊s most emotionally resonant game yet. With more touching and clever writing that makes good on the promise of a multi-dimensional trip unlike anything the series has done before, Rift Apart makes old characters fresh and new additions so indelible it＊s hard to imagine the series without them. …Even if “Ratchet and Clank and Rivet” would be a pretty long name.
﹛﹛Whether you＊re new to swinging Ratchet＊s wrench or a veteran of the DreadZone, Rift Apart＊s mix of third-person shooting and platforming is immediately easy to understand. Ratchet has always been a series about exploration and combat, and thanks to the dip-free stability of the 30fps Fidelity mode, the latter in particular has never felt so good. And while I’ve only gotten to spend a bit of time with them so far, the Performance and Performance Ray Tracing modes are even smoother at a steady 60fps (watch our Rift Apart Performance Review below for direction comparisons that highlight the differences). I’m completely okay with sacrificing some of the visual effects on my Challenge mode run thanks to how well the higher framerate keeps up with Rift Apart’s controlled chaos. That sensation of never slowing down is also thanks to the spectacular load times, which are, as promised, practically nonexistent. Whether you＊re jumping through rifts to a new location on the same planet or an entirely different one, or switching characters, I never noticed so much as a hitch, pause, or stutter. Some loads are cleverly hidden behind smart cuts and cutscenes, but for all intents and purposes, Insomniac has delivered a seamless adventure from start to finish.
﹛﹛That＊s achieved despite the fact that this is the prettiest PS5 game yet, and one of the best-looking games I＊ve ever played. Insomniac has used its cartoony color palette to create a dazzling array of interstellar locations, like the densely packed metropolis of Nefarious City or the lush greenery of Sargasso that benefit from impressive use of ray tracing reflections. Back in the day we used to see ※Ratchet and Clank looks almost like a Pixar movie§ comparisons; with Rift Apart, it has kept pace with much of the work in recent hits like Incredibles 2 and Soul (though Pixar＊s pre-rendered animation definitely has an edge in certain scenes). It＊s not just the varied vistas that frequently stopped me in my tracks, it＊s the little details 每 like the gears moving on the familiar Buzz Blade weapon 每 and the sheer variety of them. I didn＊t know I needed to see Ratchet＊s fur in such glorious fidelity, but the more advanced animations and 4K textures allow the entire cast to be more expressive than ever.
﹛﹛This is the prettiest PS5 game yet, and one of the best-looking games I＊ve ever played.※
﹛﹛Rift Apart also gives Pixar a run for its money in its ability to tell an emotional story while also maintaining its excellent comedy. While it＊s the funniest game I＊ve played in some time, the writing strikes just the right balance between that comedy and the heartfelt, the silly and the sincere. Additionally, it＊s not obsessed with referencing past games to the point of alienating newcomers. I can only speculate here due to my own familiarity with the series, but I＊d bet that Rift Apart＊s best moments will land regardless of your experience with the pair＊s previous adventures, especially thanks to the multiverse concept that allows the developers to introduce new takes on familiar characters.
﹛﹛It＊s through the exploration of the multiverse that we see the debut of Rivet, a playable parallel of Ratchet who proves to be one of Insomniac＊s best-written characters ever and yet another memorable performance from voice acting veteran Jennifer Hale (known for female Commander Shepard, among many others). A resistance fighter against Emperor Nefarious in her previously unseen own universe, Rivet is a strong-willed do-gooder, and you can certainly see the shades of Ratchet in her characterization. But Rivet isn＊t just a gender-swap; she＊s a distinctive personality all her own, with unique wants and hopes, including trust issues that come from years of fighting without a parallel Clank by her side. Where her story goes and how it＊s intertwined with Ratchet and Clank＊s quickly makes her a vital part of this series＊ DNA. While it＊s a little disappointing that Rivet doesn＊t get her own set of moves, it at least means you don＊t have to worry about upgrading and equipping the two protagonists independently when you land on a new planet and are automatically switched from one to the other.
﹛﹛Rift Apart has a surprisingly deft approach to dealing with mental health topics.※
﹛﹛That＊s not to say the headlining duo gets the short end of the intergalactic stick. Ratchet＊s internal struggle over whether he actually wants to find the rest of his catlike lombax race looms large, while Clank＊s own sense of self-worth in the face of injury is moving. Rift Apart has a surprisingly deft approach to dealing with mental health topics among its entire cast in ways that feel honest and deep, and it＊s all wrapped up in this exciting, bright, and bubbly adventure.
﹛﹛We＊ve gotten hints and teases about the existence of other dimensions before 每 with the Dimensionator specifically serving as a cliffhanger from 2013＊s Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus 每 but Rift Apart makes good on the multiverse idea in hilarious, charming, and even surprisingly touching ways. Sometimes it＊s played for laughs, like with alternate-reality takes on existing characters, and other times it＊s used in mechanically clever ways, such as when Ratchet or Rivet hop between two versions of the same planet to find pathways that are closed in one dimension are open in another, but also with more danger lying in wait.
﹛﹛Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Photo Mode Screenshots
﹛﹛Rift Apart includes the series＊ first-ever photo mode, and after Insomniac＊s great work with this option in the Spider-Man games it＊s an excellent addition, especially given how beautiful these worlds are. I actually didn＊t spend a ton of time with it during my initial playthrough, but that was largely because I knew if I did I may never get around to actually playing. Rift Apart offers beautiful photo op after beautiful photo op, and the customization options 每 including changing out armor pieces, adding in light sources, and other standard features 每 makes it one of the most robust photo modes out there.
﹛﹛The story is told via Rift Apart＊s world-by-world approach 每 that＊s a standard formula for the Ratchet and Clank series, but in this case a lot of work was done to make every planet unique, and each with its own stories and structure that＊s distinct from one another. Each world＊s story, incidental dialogue, and encounters feel tuned to the personality of whichever lombax you＊re controlling there: the furball Sargasso denizens you＊ll meet as Rivet are all named Mort and bring with them a kindly American midwest tone and accent to their conversations, while Zurkie’s serves as an interstellar crossroads bar and battle arena for travelers like Rivet. Later planets play more with the multiverse idea in some surprising and genre-hopping ways, including one that draws heavily on some of the games Insomniac has made since the last time we saw Ratchet and is executed better than when Naughty Dog tried a similar thing with Uncharted. Each world also has a side quest outside of the main adventure, which allows for a bit more local color to be added and usually some more intriguing platforming sections to pull off.
﹛﹛Later planets play more with the multiverse idea in some surprising and genre-hopping ways.※
﹛﹛The art direction at large allows the impressive level of detail to remain surprising throughout, thanks to the variety of worlds you＊ll explore. Yes, some interiors will share similar metallic, futuristic vibes, and gameplay-relevant surfaces like spots for your gravity boots to stick to will repeat so that they＊re instantly recognizable no matter where you go. But every world has its own visual identity that＊s a treat to discover, offering different tones, geography, and ensembles of memorable characters.
﹛﹛Moment-to-moment gameplay also has new nuances for returning fans to explore. Ratchet and Rivet＊s movement has been fine tuned since the 2016 reboot on PS4, and simple additions like a beautifully animated dash move and wallrunning make a world of difference. It not only allows for trickier and more intricate platforming sections and more varied collectible placement, but it brings new nuance to combat as well. The dodge ability allows the lombaxes to phase through incoming attacks, and timing a dash just right to get in close and deal big damage is a consistent new thrill.
﹛﹛Timing a dash just right to get in close and deal big damage is a consistent new thrill.※
﹛﹛Ratchet can do melee damage with his wrench (and Rivet with her hammer), but in Rift Apart I＊ve used his standard weapon a lot less frequently than I did in previous games thanks to the increased scale of battles. In Rift Apart, you need to be more clever with your use of the array of wacky weaponry, and the rifts scattered throughout come in handy for both battles and scouring the environment for collectibles. They＊re conveniently placed in most combat arenas to let Ratchet get to higher ground or cross the battlefield, and they saved me more times than I＊d care to admit. It＊s certainly reminiscent of jumping through a portal in, well, Portal, but the on-screen effect of the new location hurtling toward you coupled with the DualSense＊s haptics gives the mechanic its own distinct flair, while adding much more tactical variety to combat than the series has ever seen. It＊s never not cool to leap across the battlefield and leave enemies confused in your wake or surprised by your sudden appearance as you gain a momentary upper hand. The best uses of them certainly come during big action moments when rifts hurtle you far greater distances 每 namely, from planet to planet while mid-chase or boss fight. It＊s especially amusing to come across a later world and realize you saw it for a brief moment while dodging a massive robot＊s fists.
﹛﹛Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – Every Weapon and Armor Set Revealed So Far
﹛﹛And Rift Apart＊s great arsenal of weapons let you make the most of those opportunities. Even though I miss some of my old series favorites like the Sheepinator and Groovitron, I have to give Rift Apart credit for some instant classics: the Topiary Sprinkler, for instance, transforms enemies into whackable weeds, and the Ricochet shoots a pinball-like pellet at enemies that, properly timed, can deal more damage on subsequent hits. That just scratches the surface of the more than a dozen options, and yet none of them feels redundant or superfluous. Because you＊re facing more enemies at a time than in the previous games, and often different combinations of them, I also found myself switching between weapons more than ever before. Yes, I＊d gravitate toward my favorites, like the powerful shotgun-like Enforcer, but if you＊re not taking advantage of crowd-control options like Mr. Fungi to fend off waves of smaller enemies like the returning Robomutts, or defensive weapons like the intriguing Void Repulsor to block fire from the reptilian Goons-4-Less and their constant barrage of blaster rounds, it＊s easy to be overwhelmed. That＊s especially true when Emperor Nefarious＊ massive robotic minions, who shoot various lasers and rapid-fire energy bursts or wield giant mace-like arms, enter the fray.
﹛﹛After the great strides Insomniac made with accessibility options in its Spider-Man games, it＊s nice to see an even more varied group of options present in Rift Apart. I am by no means an expert or in the best position to fully know how useful each of these features actually is for those who need them, but the number of visual and audio adjustments you can make, all without affecting completion rates or trophies, is an important inclusion in such a large game. One that feels particularly useful is the ability to allow you to slow the speed of the entire game to make time-sensitive inputs like platforming and combat less frenetic and demanding. There are multiple speed levels to choose from, and it can be turned on and off at will if you only need it for a specific section or fight. For a deeper conversation about what Rift Apart offers, be sure to watch our spoiler-free Podcast Beyond discussion.
﹛﹛These weapons are, of course, where you＊ll also get the most use out of the DualSense＊s haptics. Each weapon＊s firepower, from the wild booms of the Enforcer to the short blips of the Burst Pistol, is mirrored in the controller＊s advanced rumble. One of the most fun and frequent effects, though, is passing through a rift. As I threw out the rift tether to pull myself through space, the sensation of the rift coming closer to and then surrounding me was always neat in the midst of a battle＊s chaos. (The use of the adaptive triggers is a little disappointing 每 in the PS5＊s first six months, alt-fire for weapons being the difference between a half and full pull has been just about the only real use for them in a combat-heavy experience like this.)
﹛﹛The sensation of a rift coming closer to and then surrounding me was always neat.※
﹛﹛Naturally, Rift Apart isn＊t all combat, as any action-platformer worth its bolts/coins/studs/rings/etc. will find ways to vary up gameplay. However, some of these segments were the only parts of the campaign where I felt the momentum was lost. For instance, there are occasional bits where Ratchet or Rivet have to hitch a ride on a speedy space slug to avoid poisonous waters; it＊s amusing the first time or two, but never really becomes anything more than getting from point A to point B. And aerial combat on the back of an intergalactic pterodactyl sounds awesome but it occurs only once and is fairly rudimentary. Neither idea is bad, per se, and they＊re only meant to be momentary diversions, but they stand out from the rest of the campaign because they don＊t quite match the ingenuity of nearly every other style of gameplay.
﹛﹛To be fair, there are many other twists that fare much better. Clank has several physics-puzzle sections that require you to use the right combination of power orbs to move a series of ethereal Clanks along a pathway and fix interdimensional anomalies. None are particularly difficult to solve, but they quickly and consistently make me feel clever as I find the right path along which to speed up, weigh down, or lift up all these Clank copies as he waxes philosophic with another character about the journey, and his emotional state, so far.
﹛﹛There＊s also a series of optional pocket dimensions hidden throughout Rift Apart＊s worlds which offer clever platforming challenges that will test your timing like little else, and a new battle arena where you can earn some extra upgrades in between story missions. Most of these battles have some amusing twists, too, like limiting you to a specific weapon or introducing a massive column of spinning blades that＊s constantly chasing you as you take on other foes.
﹛﹛I looked forward to every Glitch sequence because of just how damn endearing their personality is.※
﹛﹛But one of my favorite additions is the introduction of Glitch, a spider-like robot whom Ratchet calls on to battle computer viruses, depicted as literal viral blobs and monsters infecting a number of technological pathways. These behind-the-back, third-person shooting sequences are relatively simple and become a bit rote by the end, since you＊re limited to either a quick burst fire or a series of more powerful rockets, but I looked forward to every Glitch sequence because of just how damn endearing their personality is. Glitch is neurotically self-aware, anxious, and wary of taking on bad guys, but their journey of self-discovery and finding the confidence to be a valuable team member, nudged along by Ratchet＊s encouragement, is positively charming.
﹛﹛Rift Apart also includes a set of collectible armor sets that come in three parts, which can be mixed and matched on either Ratchet or Rivet. But more importantly, regardless of whether you ever wear one (which I didn＊t for my initial playthrough because I love the base character designs so much), collecting these sets will earn you some welcome stat buffs, like more damage against specific sets of enemies. Gold Bolts are also littered throughout the lands, and each one offers its own set of bonuses, including new photo mode options, weapon cosmetic options, and more. Attaching those rewards to them makes collecting the bolts much more engaging to collect along the journey, rather than just for post-game cleanup.
﹛﹛Rift Apart＊s standard difficulty is a relatively breezy one.※
﹛﹛I eventually finished Rift Apart＊s campaign after about 16 hours, having completed 90 percent of everything, including those collectibles. Cleaning up the remainder should only take a couple more hours, but beating the story also unlocks the franchise-stalwart Challenge mode that amps up the difficulty substantially. That＊s a good thing, because Rift Apart＊s standard difficulty is a relatively breezy one 每 I may have died two or three times in battle. That said, I had enough close calls early on to really drive home the benefits of staying mobile, varying up my weapon use, and keeping an eye on ammo.
﹛﹛Ratchet and Clank is a culmination of everything Insomniac has done with the series over the past 14 years. It takes the characters that we fell in love with long ago, and sets them off on their most gorgeous quest yet. The deep and rewarding weapon system, beautiful and varied worlds, and charming-as-heck story make it an adventure that anyone with a PlayStation 4 should strap in for. – Marty Sliva, April 11, 2016
﹛﹛Read the full Ratchet and Clank 2016 Review
﹛﹛The stunning graphics and excellent storytelling of that campaign are backed by Mark Mothersbagh＊s great score. It sounds like a cousin of his fantastic Thor: Ragnarok work, mixing familiar franchise themes with new orchestral takes and a series of synth-laden pieces that would have pleased Jeff Goldblum＊s Grandmaster. It matches the bombastic action when needed to, but some of my favorite tracks come amidst quieter character or exploration moments. I need it on vinyl, stat.
﹛﹛The score never drowns out the bashing, shooting, and quipping that are core to Ratchet＊s gameplay, though. And while it all sounds fantastic on a home speaker system, this is yet another PS5 exclusive for which you＊ll want 3D-enabled headphones to get the full effect. Walking through Nefarious City, the chatter of passing bots and vehicles can be heard as they go whooshing by, while mid-combat you get a better sense of where every foe and friendly assistant is when you can＊t see them. The only truly disappointing aspect is that the 3D audio doesn＊t factor into gameplay more often, as the engaging setup led me to expect. There＊s a brief mission in Nefarious City that requires you to listen for the thumping beats of Club Nefarious to find your way through the city, and it worked so much better with headphones on. That cool example of integrating audio into gameplay made me want more.
﹛﹛Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a stunner. It not only gives the latest generation of consoles a game that looks as beautiful as the improved tech promised, but it＊s also a fantastic experience to play. Insomniac has been around the Ratchet and Clank block plenty of times before, but Rivet and other new characters add so much charm, wit, and heart to a franchise I＊ve loved for most of my life. That＊s coupled with series-best action-platforming gameplay and incredible art and sound design across the board. Rift Apart may not be the biggest adventure around, but its big heart, wild weapons, and incredible detail easily make it one of the most memorable of the year so far.
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