Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review – Heroes return to the new generation

Without a doubt, the Ratchet & Clank series is one of the PlayStation classics. Now with the advent of the PS5 and new console generations, the two titular heroes are back in full force. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a PlayStation 5 exclusive that showcases all of the console’s current capabilities. Read on in this review to find out everything Insomniac Games’ new game has to offer.

Story

The story of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart follows the events of Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, released in 2013, and follows the titular protagonists on a new and very good inter-dimensional adventure. Following an event that takes place in the first 30 minutes of the game, the two are separated into two parallel dimensions. Clank meets the equivalent of Ratchet, a Lombax named Rivet, who is the only Lombax existing in this dimension. After that, the adventure follows the protagonists on a quest to solve the cataclysm they have produced that threatens all dimensions of the universe.

Rivet and Ratchet – more alike than meets the eye

The game’s story unfolds the classic Ratchet & Clank title. Characters must save the day by travelling to different planets to help their populations and advance the story. While the premise isn’t a downer, the game’s story doesn’t wow the player. It does its job just like the other titles in the series, having funny, tense, and action-packed moments that will reward the player. Among the new characters is Rivet, the new protagonist of the series. Initially, the reception of a new character for players to play with has been somewhat unfavourable. Fans of the series have been used to Ratchet, so it’s hard for them to play with a character they haven’t dealt with before.

But Rivet is a welcome addition to the series, as she is an extremely well-written character that players can empathize with. Considering that many other studios have “mastered” this concept (ahem The Last of Us II ahem), Rivet is a breath of fresh air. The character is funny, she looks a lot like Ratchet, and the sections where players will control her will be particularly enjoyable.

One thing not so pleasant about the story is its length. For a Ratchet & Clank game, the length of the story is quite short, hovering in the 10 hour area. Given the price direction in which games are moving, many will be discouraged from spending over $60 for a 10 hour game. But besides the size of the game, it excels in other ways.

Gameplay

Gameplay in the Ratchet & Clank series has always been particularly enjoyable. The games feature countless unique weapons for the player to kill the threats they face. Rift Apart does not deviate from this formula. The game puts 20 unique weapons at the player’s fingertips, which are great to wield thanks to the haptic DualSense feedback. Also, the controller’s adaptive triggers do an excellent job of introducing the player to the action. From grenades that can be aimed by pressing the trigger halfway, to a shotgun that fires once if pressed halfway and twice if pressed fully, the game’s weapons do a great job with Sony’s controller capabilities.

A colourful and action-packed battle

In addition to weapons and combat, the game has 9 explorable planets available to the player. These are quite large, some giving the impression of open world to the player. However, the plateaus do not hide the linearity of the game. Each planet has main objectives to complete, but also some side-activites. In addition to these, there is also an arena that lets the player complete challenges that reward them with armour, weapons or bolts (the game’s currency).

Gameplay is lively, active and particularly fun (hap and rhyme). There’s also a good mini-game that players will keep running into throughout the game. It’s not as annoying as other mini-games in previous games, so it’s a welcome addition.

However, we encountered gameplay issues that proved to be very annoying. Ratchet or Rivet getting stuck in textures in the platforming sections, enemies punching through walls and so on. These can be overlooked, but I also encountered a rather large bug. On the last boss fight of the game, it got stuck at 1% life, which caused me to restart at the checkpoint wasting 10 minutes for nothing. But other than that, the gameplay is innovative, fun and highlights the capabilities of the new PS5 controller.

Graphics

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart excels in graphics. It is no understatement to say that this is one of the best looking games ever made. The game has three graphical modes that can be chosen depending on the player’s preference. Fidelity mode shows the game in 4K glory, but limits frames per second to 30. Performance mode brings the resolution up to 1080, but ups the frames to 60 per second. And, Performance RT mode brings Ray Tracing to Performance mode. I played the game from start to finish on Performance RT and I can honestly say I didn’t miss 4K. The game looks spectacular, moves great and is an eye-candy for anyone who emphasizes graphics in games.

One of the 9 planets of the game

The special effects are extraordinary, every bullet fired, every laser beam impeccably presented on the TV screen. Also, thanks to the console’s extremely fast SSD capabilities, the game loads instantly, with virtually no conventional loading screen. If a game in the console’s first year looks and moves this well, I look forward to what’s in its future.

However, there are a few graphical bugs, although these were not very frequent and annoying. Texts that don’t load completely and pop-ups that show up on the horizon prevent the game from getting a perfect score for graphics. Even so, the graphics in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart are phenomenal and often feel like you’re watching an incredible animated movie. I know for a fact that I’ve seen millions of animated movies that looked worse than this game.

Sound

As well as the game’s graphics, the sound is also, to say the least, outstanding. The game’s soundtrack is fantastic and befitting of an action-adventure sci-fi game. Ratchet & Clank games have always had memorable tunes, and Rift Apart doesn’t deviate from that. In addition to the soundtrack, the sound effects are impeccable. The murmur of a crowd in a metropolis, the sound of nature in a swamp, it all sounds the way it sounds. Spectacular.

A friend in need

Also, the vocal actors did a splendid job. Besides Rivet, Ratchet and Clank, the other characters in the game sound great and fit the landscape and atmosphere of the location. Also, the game’s dialogue is very well written with many good jokes, the dialogue between characters is authentic and adds a lot to the immersion of the game. However, in some juxtapositions the dialogue can be predictable and “pointless”. This is not at all disturbing, as it is clear that this game is aimed primarily at fans of the series and children. However, I don’t think any will be disappointed by the game’s spectacular sound.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the game maintains the formula of the series, being very enjoyable and full of moments that bring the player close to the two titular heroes. Each planet has a unique atmosphere, and the game’s cutscenes take you back into the game world, time and time again. The atmosphere engulfs you with moments of combat, platforming, puzzles and all the main and side activities the game puts at your disposal.

Here a desert planet, there a metropolis…

Atmospherically, the game does an excellent job of drawing you into the Ratchet & Clank universe. Not infrequently I found myself smiling as I listened to dialogue or wandered through the game’s various planets.

Conclusion

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is easily the best PS5 exclusive right now. We’re still early in the new console generation cycle, but the two heroes have come on strong and have established themselves with a spectacular game that can be played and enjoyed by a lot of people. The graphics, sound and exhilarating gameplay make this game a memorable adventure and another exclusive to join Sony’s extraordinary catalogue. Insomniac Games has done an incredible job with this title, but also with the Spider-Man series. We look forward to seeing what else this studio will delight us with in the future.

Our criteria at Games Row for rating games are as objective as can be. Of course, reviews are influenced (also) by personal experiences. So our ratings may not meet everyone’s expectations.

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