Not Much Of What It Does Is New But It's All Done Well
This Review May Contain Spoilers From The Previous Ratchet and Clank Games and Early Plot Points From A Crack In TimeThe Ratchet and Clank series has been around for quiet a long time. It was born on the PS2 and has been through 5 or 6 games and a few spin offs. The formula of the franchise hasn't been altered much from game to game and that hasn't changed much in this installment of the long running series. If you've played any other game in the series you probably know what to expect from this game.
In Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time the two protagonists of the series, Ratchet and Clank, have been, after the events of Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, separated. In those events the Zoni, a strange race of aliens, captured Clank and took him off and now Ratchet (with the help of Captain Qwark) is on a mission to get Clank back.
On the other end of the story, Clank's end, he has begun temporal training (tutorials, more or less) with the Zoni at The Great Clock, which is an important part of the games story that is meant to maintain and only maintain, not change, time. While in The Great Clock, Clank learns that he has a father named Orvus and he is working to find him. The Great Clock is obviously obviously going to be abused and the villain of the game, Dr. Nefarious, who is going to use The Great Clock's powers to meet his own personal need. He's not the only one, though. Allistar Azimuth, a fellow Lombax that Ratchet comes across also wants to use the clock to turn back time and prevent the Lombaxes from perishing like they did. He wants to save Ratchet's family. The Clock also makes for some interesting gameplay involving time paradoxes and time traveling.
The story, overall, is pretty well crafted and somewhat memorable, but it takes a back seat to the game's gameplay. The game's story is helped out by some great, funny dialogue and voice acting, along with some great characters. The plot has moments that are humorous and funny and many moments that are intense and completely serious, and there are many moments that really show the personality of the staff of Insomniac. One of these being the giant Agorian warriors (with underdeveloped legs, which the game definitely makes a joke about) screaming and chest bumping in the middle of the battlefield.
Ratchet and Clank's separation somewhat effects the gameplay, since all of the mechanics that Clank contributed are
now absent. Now Clank has his one sections of the game as does Ratchet. While the ratio of Ratchet's gameplay to Clank's gameplay is probably around 4:1 (which is probably a good thing since too much of the Clank gameplay could very well become frustrating and brain-melting), they are both extremely fun.
Ratchet's gameplay is the good old classic Ratchet and Clank gameplay you are used to. You collect bolts, you buy and upgrade both funny and useful guns, you kill any enemy that steps in your way with those guns, you travel from planet to planet and you preform some pretty awesome platforming. All of that stuff is still here, and while most of it virtually hasn't changed since the last game (or the game before that) it's still extremely fun, and even more so if you've never played a Ratchet and Clank game. Some of the weapons, however, now have a new twist on them. Now you can, on select weapons, use Constructo upgrades to enhance their properties and abilities. You can give the pistol the ability to charge or you could give a shotgun more spread ablilties. There's plenty of others to retrieve, too. One complaint about the weapons that I do have is the balance is quite off, specifically with the Buzz Blades. These are just small little blades that fly around and have an extremely high ammo capacity. You can just fire these (without any direction, just fire them off aimlessly) and they will hit people multiple times and do lots of damage. They are extremely strong, very overpowered.
One other thing that is new to Ratchet and Clank is, what I'm going to call, "space gameplay". You've traveled from planet to planet before in other games, but in this one you really get to do that, meaning you actually get to drive around the universe. While your doing this you'll encounter a lot of enemy ships, a boss or two, and a few side quests. These parts are very Starfox-esque. Luckily, you don'thave to do this (unless it's a special occasion that involves the plot). If you'd rather not fly around and shoot missiles at Dr. Nefarious' Valkyries you don't have to, just pull up the map and hit the warp button.
Clank's gameplay still involves a lot of things that Ratchet's gameplay involves but also involves a few things that the series has not ever done before. One of these is the new time based puzzles. I'm going to do my best to explain these puzzles. The game will give a certain number of times that you will be able to record yourselves. You can record yourself and step onto a button and that will trigger something to happen, like a door to open. Then you begin recording yourself again and you'll see your passed recording step on the button and open the door, and you will be able to, as your present self, exit out the door that your previous recording opened. They obviously get so much more complicated than the example I just gave. One brilliant thing the game does that it seems like most games nowadays will not do is allow you to avoid frustration. At any time you can skip these time puzzles, obviously if you do you'll be missing out on immense satisfaction and loads of bolts, but at least it gives you the opportunity to avoid hair-pulling. Clank's gameplay does, however, have a pretty dumb and boring mini-game to go along with it.
Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time should last you about 10-12 hours. If you really want to get everything you can out of it you can collect everything the game has to offer and you may get 12-14 hours. The extras to collect include gold
bolts, the Constructo upgrades, 40 Zoni for you to track down and plans for a "secret" weapon that you will unlock if you can acquire all of the plans.
The last game in the Future series isn't one to do anything new or surprising, but it definitely doesn't do anything that it does do wrong. Hopping around shooting crazy-looking creatures with crazy-looking guns on crazy-looking planets has always been this fun, and it probably always will be.