Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Review (PS5)


How many times do I have to defeat you old man?


Released: June 11, 2021
Available on: PS5
Genre: Third Person Shooter Platformer
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

While I never really dived as much into the Ratchet and Clank series as much as others might have, I absolutely loved the few games I did play as a kid. So when I heard that a new Ratchet and Clank game was going to be released I was excited. Of course, it meant that I had to get a PS5 first, but I was still excited that I will be able to play it when I did. And sure enough, when Lady Luck smiled upon me, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was the game I bought with my order.

Considering Rift Apart is a game in a long established game series, I’m sure many are wondering if its okay to play it if it’s their first Ratchet and Clank game. Or maybe they played the games when it originally released and don’t really remember the details, but still want to play Rift Apart. Well, I can assure that you don’t have to have played the previous games. While the story does continue from where it left off and a big part of going into a different dimension was seeing what the dimensional counterparts of Ratchet’s dimension looked and acted like, for the most part it really is a standalone installment. You will still be able to understand the story, but you’ll just not have context or be able to get as much from callbacks to previous events or characters. Though, if you do want to play the previous games, I’d recommend at least playing the original trilogy.

Rift Apart takes place years after the events of Into the Nexus and Ratchet and Clank is being celebrated with a festival. However, it doesn’t take long for the festival to be attacked by none other than Dr. Nefarious and pretty much putting a damper on Clank’s reveal of him fixing a device called the Dimensionator, which has the ability to produce a rift leading to another dimension, so Ratchet can finally find another Lambax. Dr. Nefarious steals the Dimensionator and when he was about to open another rift, Ratchet shoots the crystal powering it. That was a bad idea (seriously Ratchet, Nefarious was like right there) as it caused rifts to open all over the place. Not to mention it let Dr. Nefarious complete his goal of getting to a dimension where he won and those in the dimension believe he is the Nefarious that originated there (mostly because Emperor Nefarious was out conquering some more planets).

The dimension Ratchet, Clank, and Dr. Nefarious were thrown into was the one that we actually see first thing when starting a new playthrough. This dimension is one where Nefarious came out victorious in conquering the universe (or well most of it) with seemingly no trouble at all. While there are rebels, it doesn’t seem to hit Dr. Nefarious’ counterpart, Emperor Nefarious, all that much and he even got his robot followers on the look out and ready to squash any signs of rebellion. Luckily Rivet, Ratchet’s counterpart, is part of the Resistance and she finds Clank before anyone else does. She’s distrustful of Clank, but at least he was found by her, and they soon team up once she sees for herself that Clank is one to be trusted. And eventually she gets into contact with Ratchet (who has been separated from Clank) and teams up with him to fix the problems caused by destroying the Dimensionator and defeating both Emperor and Dr. Nefarious.

Throughout the story, you’ll be switching between Ratchet and Rivet. The various missions you’ll be tasked in doing will get you to visit various planets and with you have two duos, they’ll practically be able to do two different tasks at the same time. Anyway, either when you’re playing Ratchet with his classic wrench or Rivet with her hammer, you’ll have to kick some (mostly) robot butt. Each planet you’ll be going to will have a mission for you to do, though it won’t be as easy as you think as you will be attacked either by the creatures that inhabit that planet, nefarious’ robot allies, goons, or pirates either up close with your wrench/hammer or with your collection of guns where you can safely dodge and weave your way around their attacks. There will also be some rifts which you can grapple to either to traverse an area you otherwise can’t (either the gap is way too big or there’s nothing to grapple on) or use to get behind enemies or get away from them quickly. While there, you’ll also be able to explore the planet to do a side quest (which does reward you with armor or a spybot for completing them) or collect the various collectibles here like Raritanium, Spybots that will give you some more information on the planet and will unlock a special weapon if you find all of them, Gold Bolts that are used to unlock cheats (which go from changing the skins of your weapons to giving you infinite ammo), CraiggerBears (which aren’t shown as something the game keeps count of), and armor which can be found in Pocket Dimensions or hidden somewhere which equipping them will give you a specific boost depending on the piece.

Aside from doing your missions, there are a few other things you’ll be doing that are optional. The first is the Arena which basically tasks you with surviving a certain amount of waves, defeating a previous boss, or using a specific weapon so you can get bolts, Golden Bolts, or armor as a reward. This is fine for what it is, just isn’t as good as it could be. Unless you want to get everything, this is optional for you to do. To break up the gameplay between Ratchet/Rivet, there are puzzle and hacking sections (which are skippable if you just don’t want to do them). Clank has his puzzle sections where he’ll go into rift anomalies and aim to have your potentials reach a terminal at the end to open an exit for Clank. This is buy grabbing various orbs that have various effects that will help the potentials reach the end. Like there’s a gap between two platforms? Place a lift orb before the gap so they can make it across. These are pretty easy to do, but they do get complicated as different orbs and hazards are added and you’ll need to press buttons to turn directional arrows or to bring down platforms (the second to last one you’ll solve was a real doozy). EVery so often you’ll also come across computers with a virus on it. To clear it of the virus, you’ll actually send a cute little robot named Glitch in and you’ll play as her shooting down viruses and destroying virus nests with her missiles. While the hacking can be a bit tedious and disorienting (as you’ll often go up walls or the ceiling), it is pretty fun. It also surprised me with how much I ended up liking Glitch by the end as I found her kind of annoying at first and the little story it had in it (which I was not expecting to happen).

You’ll be able to get, and upgrade, a bunch of guns from Miss Zurkon. Each weapon has its own preview video so you know what you’ll be getting, with the narration will be a hit or miss depending on the player (though I personally loved it). Each weapon plays pretty differently from one another and more impressively feels differently from one another, even if some have the same basis. Giving you a wide variety for you to use and discover which one you like the most, and backups if you can’t find ammo. You can go from throwing bombs to freezing your enemies in giant ice cubes. Not to mention that this is where the adaptive triggers are used, which does give each weapon more of a personality and makes it even more satisfying with the added vibrations and sounds they give out. You’ll also be able to buy upgrade modules for your weapons to make them more powerful with the Raritanium you can find, though you’ll have to level up the weapons to have access to more upgrade modules for it. Though, you won’t be getting any different melee weapons here.

The haptic feedback also goes into generally everywhere as well, as you’ll feel Ratchet/Rivet running, collecting the bolts (along with the sound of it coming out of your controller), the thumps of loud club music (which feels so real to how it would be if you were there), and even the wrench/hammer uses it and makes it satisfying to use your melee weapon (despite you probably forgetting about it like I did).

I will also have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the alternate dimension characters. While you will meet counterparts of characters featured in previous titles and will share aspects between them, they all are still their own character and a lot of them are so funny to come into contact with. Like for example, at first glance you’d think Rivet would just be a female Ratchet, but she isn’t as she has her own personality, insecurities, and fears. Even both Nefariouses(?) are different both in how they carry themselves, their aura of intimidation, and their personality. It also had a nice reveal of another character named Kit, which Insomniac did a really good job in hiding as I certainly was not expecting her to show up. And honestly, I wouldn’t be opposed to a Rivet and Kit side game. There are also some neat conversations you can overhear or ones that you can initiate if you take the time to find them.

Once you finish the story, you’ll be able to do or collect anything that you didn’t before you faced the last boss. Or you can start Challenge Mode, which is basically a New Game+, that makes enemies tougher, but you start the game with everything transfered, you and your weapons have 10 more levels, and there are 2 new guns that you can buy.

Though, of course, Rift Apart does have downsides. A handful of them in fact. I found it really strange that revisiting planets revealed just how empty it was. Not even the music was there. Which isn’t something I’d want to go to when I want to collect some collectibles I missed or to level up my weapons. Maybe even throw in the option of switching Ratchet and Rivet upon revisiting, which will give more opportunities to have some interesting interactions. Flying with Trudi was not that great and it wasn’t communicated that well that you can’t grab Zurpstones while on her (I feel a bit better knowing that I wasn’t the only one spending a good amount of time trying to ram into them) and that she has specific perches, not that you can just land her anywhere. I was also pretty disappointed that you’d basically face the same few mini-bosses again and again. Some And lastly, while I was fine with Ratchet and Clank more or less taking a backseat (after all, look at all the other games they have and they do help the new characters with their arcs), the two duos (or at least Ratchet and Rivet) really should have talked more throughout the game. Even if it was just through comms so it can set up their dynamic,which has an added plus of making their irl first meetup even more awkward.

I also do recommend changing the skin of the bolts. They end up blending pretty well to the enviornment, making them hard to see when they’re on the floor and it doesn’t feel as satisfying to pick up when you’re using the original skin, but it does if you choose to change how they look. I actually changed mine to rupees ironically, but I ended up keeping it on for my whole playthrough as it made spotting them way easier and it was satisfying having them all gather to Ratchet/Rivet.

Verdict

While Rift Apart has flaws that does chip away at it, the game was just so fun to play and I ended up loving Rivet, Kit, and seeing what the alternate dimension characters turned out to be. I liked it so much that I spent basically a whole day just playing Rift Apart because I wanted to advance the story and see what the next mission had in store. Not to mention what weapon I’d be able to buy and use next. Despite the flaws, I don’t regret my purchase and I really do recommend picking up Rift Apart if you were a Ratchet and Clank fan or you’re someone that has a feeling that you’ll enjoy it.

I can’t wait to hear news about a sequel, which has to be about Ratchet finally going to the Lombax dimension (there’s just too many references and breadcrumbs about it for the sequel not to be about going there).

RipWitch

♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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