Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty

As time goes forward with Ratchet & Clank, so does the Future Trilogy. Following Tools of Destruction is the middle portion, Quest for Booty, released in 2008. Interestingly, this part of the trilogy is a download through PlayStation Network, at a price point of $15. This raises the question, is it worth it?

The story of the game is very simple here, taking place shortly after its predecessor. After Clank was taken away by the Zoni, Ratchet tries to find a way to track him down so he can get him back. The Lombax eventually does, through a machine created by a known pirate named Captain Darkwater. However in order to gather the parts to activate it, he must deal with a particularly persistent pirate named Rusty Pete, who's captain he defeated last time, Captain Slag. When Rusty Pete finds a way to bring his old captain back, Ratchet is forced to stop him so he can rescue Clank.

The game overall is very short, lasting only a few hours, and as a result some things are more condensed. For instance, there is a much smaller arsenal than in previous games, and since you can get ammo regularly in crates there is an absence of any sort of vendors. There are also only a few locales this time around, consisting of a couple of islands and an armada of space pirate ships. Also, the only time you actually get to use Bolts here is when you are negotiating with a smuggler that you meet in Tools of Destruction. These are actually not negatives, but rather positives since they aid the game in working with its short length.

The level design is pretty good for a game like this, though one section got particularly annoying due to it consisting of plank walking and one pirate taking what seems like a cheap shot from afar. Regardless, it was interesting to see how it allowed you to go the whole time without Clank and still be challenging. In this case the shortness of the game is probably a good thing since in a much larger game you likely wouldn't be able to do much without your robot buddy. To compensate for this, a new game mechanic is introduced where you can crouch with your wrench as if about to throw it, then extend it to latch on to special objects in the level to manipulate them with the analog stick. I found this feature rather interesting, and I wonder if this will show up in the third part of the trilogy when I get to it.

Speaking of new features, this is also the first Ratchet & Clank game to feature a difficulty setting, contrasting with all previous games where there was no option. I'm not sure whether this is a good or bad thing, though given the nature of the game this can be seen as a way to get more mileage out of your purchase.

So is it worth the money? I would say yes, since even though it is a more condensed Ratchet & Clank experience, it still manages to hit all the points of a full-length installment. The characters are enjoyable, there is still some humor thrown into the dialogue, the gunplay is really well-done, and there is a good amount of challenge in the level design. I would recommend this game to anyone who has played Tools of Destruction, and especially to ratchet & Clank fans in general. In fact I would say it's a must-play for anoyone who wants to experience the full Future Trilogy, due to it filling in story gaps and an intriguing scene at the end, seeing the return of a rather nefarious enemy.

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