fishdalf's Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PlayStation 2) review

There's No limit to how you play through this game.

Ratchet is a sort of feline type creature while Clank is essentially a small robot. Teamed up they make a force to be reckoned with. However where there are good guys there is always a bad guy and it comes in the form of Dr Nefarious. A creepy space alien who wants to take over the world and that's what you're here to prevent. Ratchet and Clank's personalities have never really been uncovered to a great extent in previous games and the developers have picked up on this. The game gives you the chance to get to know them a little better and they actually turn out to be rather funny when it comes down to it. The story this time around is pretty solid and whips up a few surprises here and there, you never quite know whats going to happen next, this intersperced with some funny cut scenes and what you have is mild amusement between chapters.

This is essentially a platform game with some basic level designs for you to run around in, these levels are filled with a variety of aliens and robots for you to dispose of anyway you choose. You can attack, dodge, blast and tactically jump your way into and out of any situation with over 30 weapons to pick from. One for just about any occasion, one of my favourite being the rubber-duck gun that see's your enemies being turned into yellow-bellied....uh ducks. The thing i love most about the weapons is the fact that one is no more powerful than any other, they all have their own strengths and individual uses.

The combat is 100% open in this game, you can do just about anything you want within reason, providing you don't die of course, be it a laser to the head or falling off the nearest cliff. There are limitless ways to dispose of enemies, whether you want to throw up a shield and give yourself time to get in a headshot with your trusty sniper rifle, or feel like throwing an army of mini-robots at them. These amazing weapons don't come for free though, you have to earn bolts which pay for them and this will see you choosing between which gun you think will come in most handy in an upcoming situation.

If you're a fan of the previous Ratchet and Clank games it should give you a funny feeling inside to know this time round all your weapons can level up. This makes them more powerful and in some cases gives the weapons new features to play with, some may change colour, some may have a bigger blast radius and some just become even more deadly. The games improvements don't stop here though, this installment doesn't force you to sit through challenge after challenge or mini-game after mini-game before you move onto the next level. These challenges have still been included but now for the most part can be completed whenever you feel like. This gives you more freedom to complete the story before you go back to that one challenge that may have been slightly out of your reach when your weapons were weaker. The addition of a side-scrolling game also keeps thing's pretty fun and add's replay value to the whole experience, it's so simple yet so fun and gives a nice change to the core gameplay.

Ok you have all these weapons to choose from but how do you select and change your weapons i hear you cry!? Well it's simple, all you have to do is simply tap triangle and pick a direction, for example if you press triangle and up you may select your trusty laser-whip. This 360 degree menu of deadly weapons is fully customisable which means you can stick all your favourites at the front, or the weapons with the most variety to get you out of a sticky situation. This time around you don't have to go through the tedious process of buying ammo for every single weapon, there is a nice little option that has been added which see's you replenishing all your ammo at a discount price. 

Up Your arsenal also includes a multiplayer mode this time around, which can be played offline with friends or online where you can test your weapon skills against the best in the world. There are 2 modes to play with here, there is your standard deathmatch which see's you killing anyone that pops onto the screen and there is a capture the base style game which see's two teams helping each other to complete a common goal. The arena's for multiplayer gaming are well designed and give users a variety of places for full-scale action, one level even has the option of fighting upside down or suspended on a wall. 

This is also the first Ratchet and Clank game to include vehicles. The vehicle engine is very well implemented and in-keeping with the style the game works so hard to acheive. They provide a great way to get around some of the larger maps and the buggy comes complete with it's own gun turret to take down enemies. Something else that has also been included is an improved computer A.I , enemies and allies alike use a variety of techniques to save themselves and in some cases to save you, which is always handy.

The visual appeal of this game has been improved, this time round there are bigger explosions and bigger enviroments with more details surrounding you. The sound effects also add to the whole experience with rather comical results. The music blends well with the action and some tunes are so catchy you will find yourself humming them hours after playing. The voice acting here is spot-on, bringing a bigger element of comedy than ever before. Especially when Dr Nefarious tries time and time again to be evil and ends up looking rather stupid in the process, very similar to Dr Evil in the Austin Powers movies. The only negative thing i have to say about the game is that it hasn't come on in as many leaps and bounds as one might have hoped for, yes there is a lot of new stuff to play with here but there is still room for much improvement. I guess this paves the way for the next installment of the most popular modern platform game to have graced our consoles over the last few years.

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