As of writing this, I was still working on catching up on the “Ratchet and Clank” series, and so the next game I played was “Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction”. This is the first of the “Future” trilogy. I’ve been skipping around in the series (I started at number three in this trilogy, “A Crack in Time”, then I watched the very short “Quest for Booty” on Youtube), so it’s nice to now have some things explained from those two games. Like who the crap are Cronk, Zephyr, and Talwyn? And where the heck did Ratchet get Aphelion, his talking ship? And what led to the events at the beginning of “A Crack in Time” (which I can’t divulge, as it’s spoilers for this game)? And does the “Future” part of the title have any meaning, or did they just tack it on the end to distinguish it from the original trilogy? (The answer to that last question, yes, it was just tacked on for no actual reason.) So many mysteries, so much time to…solve those mysteries.
Well, the game starts out with Metropolis under attack by the forces of Emperor Percival Tachyon, last of a rather nasty race called the Cragmites. (People think his first name is silly, but I like it. Am I weird?) But, his target is not really the city, but Ratchet, as Ratchet is the last of the Lombaxes, the race that wiped out the rest of the Cragmites. Also, Clank is seeing these creatures called Zoni that no one else can see (no, he hasn’t been getting into the booze). So this game involves Ratchet and Clank finding a way to stop Tachyon, while Ratchet works towards solving the mystery of what really happened to the rest of the Lombaxes. And what do those weird Zoni want with Clank? (Well, I know already. But, only because I went ahead.)
This game is mostly the same thing as usual. In “Ratchet and Clank” games, you explore various planets. You get a variety of awesome weapons for killing your enemies. There are also gadgets that do certain things, like this new one (forgot the name) that makes bouncy little platforms for you to use to get to high up ledges or the Helipods that can lift certain platforms and open certain doors for you. Why thank you, kind sir, err, thing. There’s also a great gadget that lets you disguise yourself as a space pirate (not the kind in “Metroid”). This comes in handy for getting through doors for pirates only. Though, as extra proof that you’re a pirate, you have to do a dance before you’re allowed through (because we all know pirates are jolly scoundrels that like to dance and sing). Good times.
New to this game are devices, though, I find having yet another category of items a bit overkill. (Gadgets. Weapons. Devices. It must end!) Insomniac must’ve agreed, as these don’t appear to be in games after this one. Nevertheless, these are quite useful. These devices do special things in battle, but are not quite weapons. One I like quite a bit is the Groovitron, which makes enemies dance so you can destroy them while they’re too busy boogying. And the Transmorpher turns enemies into penguins for a short time (that waddle around wearing scarves or top hats, which is quite possibly the cutest thing in the Polaris Galaxy by far). And my favorite one of all, Mr. Zurkon, a belligerent robot that helps you fight and also mocks your enemies at the same time. I love Mr. Zurkon. I want that on a T-shirt. And I would wear it. I would wear that T-shirt.
Clank is also a playable character sometimes in this game, like in the previous ones, but his gameplay is a little different. Not by much, but in this game, instead of telling little robots to do stuff, he gets help from the Zoni (who manage to be kind of cute and kind of creepy at the same time and make me think a lot of the little green aliens in “Toy Story”). They can attack enemies for him, repair things, and allow him to levitate for short amounts of time and slow time for as long as you hold a button. These areas were kind of fun, and I wish there were a little more.
Also, this is the first game I’ve played so far that makes much use of the tilting capabilities of the PS3 controller. (Apparently this controller has slight motion control abilities, as tilting the controller can control some things.) Sometimes I don’t like these controls because I have trouble with them, like when Ratchet’s falling from high up, you tilt the controller to move him to dodge missiles, and he hits quite a lot. Sorry, Ratchet. You can also use it to control these tornadoes that come from this tornado-shooting gun (does that not just blow your mind, a gun that shoots tornadoes?), and I know there’s really no other way to control both the tornadoes and your character simultaneously, but I never got the hang of that, so I just made sure I shot tornadoes at people at point blank range. There is one thing where I think the tilting fits quite nicely, though. With the Decryptor, you tilt this thing to move a ball, and you move the ball in between gaps in this circuit board thing to keep the spark moving along the path to the end. This is quite fun and the best use of the tilting.
One thing I noticed about this game is that it really feels a lot like the original “Ratchet and Clank” games on the PS2. “A Crack in Time” had a different kind of feel to me, and “All 4 One” was completely different. The familiar feel to this game is nice, but at the same time, there’s not much about it that distinguishes itself from the others. But, I guess that’s not such a bad thing really.
Now I have two complaints about the game. My first complaint is a little one. While most of it is a fine difficulty, the final boss is pathetic. One of the easiest ever. It took me 15 minutes, including ending cut scenes. The original “Ratchet and Clank” games were so much harder. I don’t know why all the newer ones are easier. I want a challenge, darn it!
My other complaint is bigger. I really don’t like the fact that the dialogue during cut scenes has issues for me. Characters repeat words fairly often, and the dialogue plays a little late at times (due to the repeating words), so the lip syncing can be off. Once, a cut scene ended mid sentence, and I only knew what was said because I read the subtitles. Another cut scene had no sound at all. Once again, good thing I had subtitles on. All of these issues ended up upsetting me quite a bit.
Games simply should not do this. I have never seen such an issue before, and it should’ve been fixed. Not everyone gets it, and I hear people say it doesn’t even happen every time they play. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t happen for anyone. It’s a shame that, in a series with great cut scenes, the cut scenes in this game were a bit ruined. I was at least relieved to find that, after some research on the Internet, it was simply the game and not an issue with my disk (which was not only brand new, but I inspected it thoroughly and it looked just fine) and not an issue with my PS3, which were my first concerns. Still a shame, though.
While the audio issues did somewhat ruin the game for me, it was still quite fun. It still had the same fun gameplay and humor as the others. (Cronk and Zephyr could be pretty “durn” funny, particularly the quotes: “He’s probably hopped up on rap music,” and “Get off my lawn!” And Qwark was his same old, idiotic self. And that haiku Tachyon made up, that started off violent, but ended in, “Cupcakes are yummy.”) I liked the game quite a bit, and it’s nice to finally be catching up on the series. I think I’m pretty much caught up on the main games now. (I don’t count “Deadlocked” or the ones not made by Insomniac. The latter category is an affront to humanity.) All is right with the galaxy again.
Ducks of Destruction