Since its debut on the PS2 nearly 2 decades ago, Ratchet and Clank make an epic return on the PS5 in Rift Apart—which means it is review time.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a PS5 exclusive and releases on June 11, 2021. Whether you are a Ratchet and Clank veteran, or someone whose eye was caught by the pretty visuals, this review will help give you an idea of whether this space adventure is worth it on a PS5.
Let’s dive into the review!
To those who are unfamiliar, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a sci-fi action platformer. Our protagonists, Ratchet and Clank, join forces with a female Lombax named Rivet to take down Dr. Nefarious and save the dimensions across the galaxy from collapsing. As you can tell from the premise alone, there is nothing too revolutionary in terms of its writing, so don’t expect a space opera ala Mass Effect. Instead, the story is lighthearted and wholesome at times, akin to the kind of feel-good movie that you would watch with your family on a Sunday night.
Speaking of movie, the game looks like something straight out of a Pixar animated film. The graphics and especially the character models are incredibly detailed. I can even count the number of hairs sticking out of Ratchet (I’m not going to, there’s too many). Characters are expressive and very, very pleasant to look at. Of all the Ratchet and Clank games in the past, this one is the most likely one to convert people into becoming furries due to how great the characters look.
The great visuals extend to the environments as well. Worlds look fittingly alien. Cities look vibrant and filled with life. In fact, there are so many NPCs that look so good (and noteworthy as a result), I commonly mistake the NPCs as enemies or important characters!
However, even though the graphics are visually on par with modern animated films, what’s even more impressive is that the game’s transitions between cinematic sequences and gameplay are completely seamless. I’m not kidding when I say that there were quite a few times where it took me several seconds to realise that a cutscene has ended and I can control the character again. That’s how ridiculously good the transitions are—I have trouble telling which parts of the game are cutscenes and which parts are for me to play!
Guns n’ Puzzles
You can shoot, jump, and pull yourself by tethering through a rift in the fabric of space, amongst other things. The game is a lot heavier on the action side as compared to the platforming sequences, though. There are parts in the game which you can wall run and vine swing Lara Croft style, but they are very easy. Thus, if you are hoping for a platforming challenge, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, may disappoint you.
However, action is the name of the game here. I already mentioned how seamlessly the game transitions between cutscenes and combat, so it is incredibly immersive. I even noticed enemy robots losing parts and getting visible injuries when I shoot them, so the level of detail is amazing. The dodge ability in the game feels very fluid and the invincibility frames it gives are very generous. As a result, even though I was playing on the second hardest difficulty for the review, the game never felt frustrating to me, but fun.
A huge part of what keeps the gameplay fresh is the weapons. There are a lot of weapons in the game, ranging from your typical sci-fi blaster pistol to a glove that turns enemies into plants. While they are all exciting to use and see, some weapons do feel quite same-y overall. Visually, their effect is different, but several of the weapons share a similar purpose, which somewhat leads to certain weapons feeling quite redundant instead of being a vital tool that can help us in specific situations.
Despite that, I enjoyed the leveling system that the game has for each weapon. Weapons can be leveled until level 5, and upon reaching the max level, their skill tree will be fully unlocked. Players can spend Raritanium, a drop from bosses and certain blue caches, to unlock new abilities and bonuses for the weapons. Raritanium is very easy to obtain. In fact, it is so easy, the map literally tells you where you can find them. While this makes collecting and 100% completion easier, I personally feel that it removes the sense of achievement from finding them. Not only Raritanium, but many of the game secret pickups are labeled outright on the map, which kinda defeats the purpose of them being a secret.
Outside of combat, an element of the game that was done incredibly well is the puzzles. There are two main kinds of puzzle sequences in the game, one where we hack through a system, and another where we get to play as Clank to get rid of dimensional anomalies. Both really help to keep the game interesting because of how different they are from the combat sequences, really providing a breath of fresh air. A lot of effort was put into the puzzles, with entirely different maps and mechanics making them stand out from the normal gameplay sequences.
In particular, I salute the developer Insomniac Games for giving players the option to skip the puzzle sequences if they just want to focus on the combat and exploration. Regardless, I highly recommend you to try the puzzles out because they do require a bit of thinking, but feel super rewarding when completed.
Other than the puzzle sequences, players will play as either Ratchet or Rivet, the two Lombaxes who both share the same abilities. Unlocking an ability for one of the characters will instantly unlock them for the other the next time you use him or her. Personally, I feel that it is somewhat of a wasted opportunity to make both characters unique and stand out from each other. Yes, they have different personalities, which is great, but they are functionally the same, gameplay-wise. If Ratchet and Rivet were to have certain abilities that were unique to either one of them, I think the gameplay would have been a lot more interesting. Right now, other than their personality and role in the story, they are literally just re-skins of each other.
I have to admit, I have not played too many PS5 exclusives, but Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart easily takes the cake for the most immersive use of the Dualsense controllers’ features that I ever experienced. Insomniac Games pulled out all the stops and made use of basically every feature on the PS5 Dualsense controller, and playing the game feels absolutely incredible thanks to that.
Even in the opening sequence alone, I can feel specific parts of the controller rumbling based on what was going on on the screen. If a spaceship flew past me on the left, the PS5 controller’s left side vibrated. If a spaceship flew past me on the right, the same happens on the right side. This is just one instance of the countless exciting experiences I encountered as I review Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart‘s PS5 Dualsense features. The already breathtaking cutscenes are made even more immersive thanks to the highly precise and fitting haptic feedback, so much so that I wanted to keep my hands glued to the controller at all times.
Rumbling aside, the game also made great use of the adaptive triggers. For many of the weapons, depending on how much I pressed down on the R2 button, the weapons would behave differently. For example, pressing R2 halfway will show the angle and distance of where my grenade will land, whereas pressing it down all the way causes me to lob the grenade quickly. Other weapons may also change their firing patterns or their mechanics based on the adaptive triggers.
But wait, there’s more! Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart also makes smart use of the Dualsense Controllers’ integrated speakers. From dodging to getting hit, the controller will play a fitting yet distinct audio cue that is different from what I hear through the TV. It goes without saying that my immersion of the game went up even more thanks to it.
The game ran as well as it looks. I hardly noticed or felt any frame rate drops, despite how hectic and action-packed some sequences are. The motion blur when moving the camera is quite heavy, but thankfully, there is an option to reduce that.
Note that the game offers 3 different modes to play in—Fidelity, Performance RT and Performance. Fidelity caps the frame rate to 30 FPS. Performance RT caps the game at 60 FPS with ray tracing enabled. Performance does not have ray tracing effects, but offers higher resolution while maintaining 60 FPS. All game modes look visually astounding and run incredibly well on the PS5.
In addition, load times are fast as per virtually all PS5 titles. Transitions between cut scenes and gameplay (I know I said this a lot already) are seamless and instantaneous.
Bugs and crashes are also rather minimal. I only crashed once in my entire playthrough. As for bugs, I got stuck once in a container. Thankfully, there was nothing too game-breaking and a simple reload back to the latest checkpoint fixes all the issues.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart may not revolutionise the action platformer genre, but it is still an incredible PS5 experience despite its minor shortcomings I’ve shared in this review. It is one of the prettiest games out in the market right now—I can bet that you won’t find another game that blends cutscenes and gameplay sequences as cleanly as this. On top of that, the team at Insomniac Games did a fantastic job in making the gameplay experience a lot more immersive thanks to the Dualsense features that were implemented. This is one of the few games that I can confidently say that a PS4 version will not be able to do it justice at all.
Its gameplay is still great and fun, despite a few minor gripes that I have here and there. If you skipped this review to the end, know that this is the definitive Ratchet and Clank experience on a PS5, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the series.
Review copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Game reviewed on a PS5.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
The definitive Ratchet and Clank experience.
- Visuals look like something straight out of a Pixar movie
- Solid gameplay made fresh by well-thought-out puzzles
- Incredible implementation of Dualsense features
- Generic "save the world" plot
- Ratchet and Rivet are exactly the same, gameplay-wise
You can't go to the cinema for an animated film, but you can play this game instead!