Ratchet & Clank is a 3D platforming franchise developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony. The series is released exclusively for Sony consoles due to the terms Insomniac agreed upon when they signed their contract. Insomniac's ten Ratchet & Clank games have been released for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, with High Impact Games developing the PSP titles (later ported to the PS2). The series began with the original Ratchet & Clank on November 4, 2002. Since then, numerous other games in the series have been released.
PS2 ERA (2002-2005)
The duo meet each other for the first time in Ratchet and Clank. Ratchet is a lombax who comes across Clank, a malfunctioned robot who crashed out of the sky. In order to save the galaxy, the two must find Captain Qwark, the galaxies greatest hero, to inform him of Chairman Drek's evil plans.
After the events of the first game, Ratchet and Clank find themselves without anything to do. That's when they are mysteriously teleported onto a ship belonging to Ambicrombe Fizzwidget. He informs them that a Protopet has been stolen from his company, MegaCorp, and Ratchet is ready to set out on a new adventure to catch the thief. However, things take a turn for the worst, so Ratchet and Clank must team up again to save the galaxy.
Ratchet's home planet, Veldin, is under attack! The duo has to team up with Sasha and the Starship Phoenix to once again save the galaxy from danger, this time to prevent Dr. Nefarious from eliminating the squishies. His plans are to turn everything into a robot, due to his unfortunate past experiences with Captain Qwark.
The fourth installment went a different direction with the franchise, it focused more on the action and weapons the series was well known for, albiet getting rid of most of the platforming elements. Clank was not with Ratchet this time around, but more in a behind-the-scenes role. The plot revolved around Ratchet being recruited for a television show named Dreadzone, created by Gleeman Vox. Ratchet has to compete for his life, and also strives to take revenge on the show. This installment also included local and online broadband multiplayer.
PS3 ERA (2007-Present)
This reboot for the franchise brought HD graphics into the mix, and created a more story-driven plot across a trilogy of games. Ratchet is the last Lombax, and Percival Tachyon plans to kill Ratchet and eliminate the Lombaxes. As Ratchet looks for a way to overcome Tachyon, he discovered his past and looks for the answers to what happened to his family.
As a downloadable PSN game for the US, and a full blu-ray disc for European contries, Quest for Booty released as a segway to connect the two larger games in the Future saga. It was only 3-4 hours, and priced at $15 USD. Insomniac Games stated that it was an experiment to try out different gameplay mechanics -- and it introduced future mainstays like the Wrench tether. It picks up right after Tools of Destruction, and has Ratchet looking for his first mate, Clank.
The concluding chapter in the Future saga, Ratchet hopes to reunite with Clank, and once again stop the evil Dr. Nefarious; but this time prevent him from controlling time and The Great Clock. Both Ratchet and Clank discover more about their pasts, but even more about their future. Is this Ratchet and Clank's last adventure?
For the first time Ratchet, Clank, Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious must work together to find their way home. The game introduces 4-player co-op to the franchise, both online and offline.
Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (2013)
Billed as an epilogue to a Crack in TIme, Ratchet and Clank must try and secure notorious villain Vendra Prog after her transportation to the Vartax Detention Center goes wrong.
Developed by High Impact Games, this game originally released on PSP, and was later ported to PS2. It revolved around Ratchet and Clank taking a well earned vacation, only to once again be dragged into trouble. Their adventure begins with the kidnapping of a small girl, but later uncover a lost race of Technomites, and investigate further.
This installment includes online multiplayer.
Clank sets out on his own to rescue Ratchet after he has been accused of stealing an ancient artifact. Clank knows Ratchet couldn't have done that on his own, so he also investigates into who framed Ratchet and why. In the game, Clank acts like James Bond, with secret and stylish weaponry. He also uses stealth to his advantage.
The story of these games follows Ratchet, the last of a furry intelligent race called the Lombax, and his diminutive robotic partner, Clank, as they travel around the universe stumbling into and thwarting the plots of various villains trying to harm the good people in their galaxy. Running jokes occur throughout the series, with characters such as Captain Qwark and The Plumber making appearances in nearly every title. Storylines have also evolved over the series' lifespan - with the intitial focus was on defeating one specific menace in the galaxy shifting to put a greater emphasis on character's relationships and past experiences.
The core gameplay of the series revolves around third-person shooting and has remained relatively unchanged aside from various tweaks and new weapons. Run-and-gun gameplay is still at its core, along with platforming involving gadgets like a helipack, jetpack, and hydropack. The weapons continue to be outlandish, and improving their abilities is a central component of the gameplay. Upgraded versions of
Ratchet's guns have to be purchased with golden bolts which are found around the world. As of the third game in the series, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the weapons gain experience and level up through their use. Beginning with Tools of Destruction the player is also able to customize each weapon through a tech tree of unique abilities.