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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

In the modern era of Sony and its seemingly perfect recipe for third-person action titles, here we are consuming another third-person action title from Sony. As with seemingly every blockbuster release for the PlayStation, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is narrative-driven, focusing on story and easy to master action.

Despite having almost two decades worth of games behind Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a fantastic introduction for those who have never experienced the dynamic duo previously. Rift Apart begins with a comedic homage to the two heroes' previous adventures, as they’re lauded for everything they’ve done. Things, of course, go completely awry and the pair are forced to once again fight their nemesis Dr. Nefarious. It’s all the usual stuff from Insomniac, except this time you’re hurtling through various dimensions.

Keeping to the tried and trusted method, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart relies on bashing and shooting your way through hordes of enemies. Twisting away from the usual narrative, however, is the introduction of two new characters; Rivet and Kit. A new partnership of Lombax and mechanical contraption to fight against evil.

Playstyles between the two Lombaxes are minimally different. The animation and design of each combat has a distinct visual flair, but other than some super speedy boots for Ratchet, his and Rivet’s differences in the combat are minimal. It’s not too upsetting, as giving Rivet a completely unique combat style would probably push the game too far from its roots for older fans to enjoy. With that being said, Rivet certainly has the personality to step out of Ratchet’s shadow, allowing herself to thrive in the spotlight.

Your time throughout the alternate dimensions will see you take control of all four characters at some point or another. Ratchet and Rivet take the biggest chunk of that, although somewhat surprisingly, Rivet takes the most screen time than Ratchet. The narrative reason for that is Rivet’s introduction, which helps set her aside from simply being a ‘female Ratchet’, which was often the way she was referred to in previews leading up to the title's release.

The tale itself is one of bonding, forgiveness and accepting who you are. After things go horribly wrong on their celebratory parade, Ratchet begins to consider whether or not he’s worthy of entering the dimension of the Lombaxes. Insomniac does an excellent job of keeping Ratchet and Rivet apart, allowing the anticipation between the two meeting another Lombax for the first time is built fantastically. Which is an occurrence throughout the story. This isn’t a rollercoaster of plot twists, but the payoff to each step of the story is built up and delivered brilliantly. It’s a simple narrative, doing away with the needless complexities that so many modern games feel they need. Rift Apart aims to deliver a story that plays on childhood wonder and imagination, rather than bleak, miserable tales like we so often see.

All of that, the narrative, the characters, are all meshed with one of the most gorgeous videogames I’ve ever played. Sony, for so much of the past 10 years, have created a plethora of fantastic photorealistic titles. Now, there’s nothing wrong with those, but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is not only stunning, but it is entrenched in creative design. There are no gritty scenes, or overreliance on gore, the focus of Rift Apart is on creating a kaleidoscope of detail, allowing the game to become the closest thing we have to a videogame equivalent of a Disney movie.

For all that detail, the game runs smoothly too. As expected, Rift Apart allows for a wide assortment of weapons to be used. Switching between these mid-battle causes no issues for the frame rate, and there’s never a drop in performance regardless of how much destruction is on the screen. Enemies feel limitless too at times, as they just keep coming with no loss to game performance. It’s incredible how much is crammed on screen at once, and yet Insomniac still delivered consistent, high-quality performances throughout.

There’s very little respite between the action, which can make it hard to sit back and take in all the worlds you see. Yet, when you actually take a breather and just absorb all the different planets that were created for this game, you begin to appreciate just how delightful every little part of it is. Tearing away from Sony’s dedication to photorealism, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart becomes Sony’s best looking game, not just of this generation, but of the last decade.

With all that’s listed, it’s surprising to hear just how seemingly short Rift Apart is. Clocking in at around eight hours for a first playthrough, Rift Apart benefits from the quality over quantity. The game is paced well, finding a good balance between non-stop action levels and narrative-driven cutscenes. Both parts deliver well, with the combat addictive enough to keep you playing through, and the cutscenes short enough to prevent you from losing interest. Cutting the bloat allows Rift Apart to flow well, preventing it from becoming another AAA that feels like a Hollywood showcase masquerading as a videogame.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart delivers a brilliant trip back to a PlayStation era that was seemingly lost. In a world of AAA games taking themselves far too seriously, Rift Apart allows itself to have fun and encourages the players to unwind too. It’s a visual marvel, one that will be hard to top this generation, despite being released less than a year into the PlayStation 5’s life cycle. It was relentless fun and, for me, the best first-party PlayStation exclusive since God of War in 2018. Yet another fantastic experience from Insomniac Games.

9.50/10 9½

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

A brilliant return to the old-age of PlayStation. Unapologetically fun, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, is relentless with the charm and the action. A must-play for anyone who’s managed to beat a scalper to get a PlayStation 5.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Adam Kerr

Adam Kerr

Staff Writer

Doesn't talk about Persona to avoid screaming in anger

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