Ratchet and Clank have certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings. Rising to become one of the more exciting platformers on the PlayStation 2 – the series has gone on to have many outings and even managed to gain its own feature-length movie. We decided to take a look back at the series high and low points – taking in the experimental titles as well as the games that made the series so beloved.
13. Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault (2012) – The wheels come off this spin-off as Insomniac try their hand at a tower defense focused game. In their defense it was a nice idea; taking the series much-loved platforming and adding in new ideas shows the developer is willing to try new things. The reality is that it wasn’t well implemented and while the game looks the part; it doesn’t have the charm needed to excite long-time fans.
12. Secret Agent Clank (2008) – High Impact Games take the reins for this PSP spin-off. Taking Clank and giving him his own James Bond-esk adventure sounds like a bizarre way to land a spin-off, and you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that. The game isn’t that great to play through either. The stealth mechanics work but they grow weary after repetition takes hold. Meanwhile, the stacked James Bond jokes are fun for fans of that movie franchise but become too blatant in their existence. But truthfully, it’s not a great addition to the series canon.
11. Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One (2011) – The introduction of co-op elements was a solid idea and playing with friends was deeply enjoyable. Truth be told though there wasn’t enough content here to justify the price. The campaign is woefully short while the difficulty took a sharp hit in the process – the game proving to be unchallenging across the board. Not a terrible outing if you can get more friends involved, but hugely forgettable and arguably not worth the price of entry.
10. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (2007) – The first PSP offering of the series actually does an amazing job of emulating the main games. It doesn’t add too much new to the series staple of abilities – instead focusing on refining and making the tight controls work in a portable form. The focus on Captain Qwark also gets points in my book – lending the game a huge sense of humor and charm that makes everything work.
9. Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty (2008) – The second entry in the Ratchet and Clank Future series was another solid outing for the franchise – it was just woefully short. Clocking in at around four hours, gamers were treated to a more bite-size offering than they’d have preferred. Given that the previous game ended on a huge cliffhanger, we were kind of hoping that it would get round to resolving it quicker than this game manages.
8. Ratchet & Clank: Deadlocked (2005) – Arguably the most divisive game in the franchise. Insomniac opted to home in on the gladiatorial combat elements of the previous games, removed Clank as your sidekick and set a much darker tone. Instead, you’re paired up with two combat droids and pushed into the DreadZone tournament – a combat tournament designed to test your abilities. It’s a fun novelty but too much of a departure to be considered a true classic in the series.
7. Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus (2013) – Insomniac Games returned to the series roots with the first single player game after a series of questionable spin-offs. The addition of gravity mechanics elevates the game and makes it feel unique among the franchises other offerings. The game also feels incredibly well-balanced compared to some of the others; allowing a challenge without becoming overbearing. This is achieved through the introduction of great new weapons like The Winterizer – which does everything you’d need it too. Sadly the game is way too short to be considered a true classic – a shame as it had some real potential.
6. Ratchet & Clank (Original) – What can be said about the original entry other than it defined the strongest aspects of the series moving forward. It’s a classic for sure but shows its age in areas. For those who came in during the sequels – it’s these mechanics that will ultimately bring the experience down a few levels. The lack of strafe options when aiming as well as a complete absence of a leveling system will grind against some. For others, it’ll be the uneven difficulty curve and the hoverboard sections that drag it down. But underlying all this was some incredibly solid platforming a unique sense of humor that really brings it together. The charm is here, but for some, it won’t have aged well.
5. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (2009) – The continuation of the ‘future’ branch of Ratchet & Clank games threw focus on new time-traveling mechanics. It was certainly unique and one of the more memorable stories thrown up by the series; answering some longtime questions about the titular pair that fans had been holding onto for a while. The games only real letdowns are a slightly over-enthusiastic camera (Something the series hadn’t had trouble with up to now) as well as a lack of innovation on the weapons front.
4. Ratchet & Clank Reboot (2016) – The 2016 reboot was very much a celebration of all things that made Ratchet & Clank such an endearing franchise, to begin with. The focus on the budding friendship, the humor and the tone and pace of proceedings blends seamlessly with the mechanics that underpin it. Easily the best way to enjoy the origins of the series and arguably one of the better outings for the series in recent times. A much welcome return to form for the series.
3. Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction (2007) – The PlayStation 3 debut of the Ratchet & Clank was just as strong as ever – taking the visuals and the gameplay up to the next level. It’s the combination of these which makes Tools of Destruction such a strong outing for the series and one of the reasons it’s one of the stronger PlayStation 3 outings. The shift in focus to a more personal story helps lend proceedings a deeper sense of proceedings – as well the dynamic between Ratchet and Clank being at its peak here.
2. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (2003) – Appearing a year after the original, this game raised more than a few eyebrows with its overhauls to the previous games focus. Out went the emphasis on platforming and in came a more action-shooter focus that would become the hallmark of the series. Fans were delighted with the changes that saw the introduction of challenge modes and upgradeable weapons to the mix. Sadly Insomniac hadn’t quite figured out how to balance the games difficulty yet – with uneven spikes permeating the experience. The game also made some weird decisions throughout the second half that I was never quite sure of. Fans love this game though and quite rightly is fondly remembered.
1. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004) – The third PlayStation 2 game shifted its focus from platforming and instead went full on with the action. Its new control mechanic granted greater weapon control and introduced Dr. Nefarious into the mix – the series long-running villain. The introduction of multiplayer modes was also a nice treat for fans who wanted to share the experience. Sadly its complete focus on action put some fans off – but managed to endear it to many more. It’s arguably the best outing of the entire series, with the strongest story, game mechanics, and overall experience.