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To celebrate the announcement of new title Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart I thought it would be a great idea to rank the 15 already existing titles from worst to best. I’m sure my opinion may differ to many but I’ll give my reasoning. Comment your rankings below!
I never actually got to play Going Mobile but from my research this is the worst in the series. Going Mobile as the title suggests is a 2-D platformer for mobile devices. The game released in 2005 and was met with negative reception. There is an obvious lack of gameplay due to the hardware as well as very little in terms of a narrative. Furthermore, to my knowledge the game isn’t canon which further takes away from the experience. Overall it just seemed like a complete cash grab more than a dedicated Ratchet title.
Before the Nexus
Speaking of cash grabs how about Before the Nexus with its in-app purchases! Honestly the only reason this is above Going Mobile is because of how much better it plays. Before the Nexus is an endless runner and was used as promotional material for Into the Nexus. You run across three lanes using weapons to defeat enemies and collect bolts, which can upgrade armour, weapons and more. Surprisingly, there is some story that is actually canon. However, it only adds a little context to Into the Nexus. At the end of the day this was never going to be great but I suppose it served its purpose as a marketing tool.
Secret Agent Clank
Before I remembered the mobile titles existed this game was easily at the bottom of the barrel. The gameplay was horrific with abysmal controls for both Clank and Quark as well as multiple ‘rhythm game’ segments that didn’t even fit the rhythm of the music being played. The story is also so confusing that it is considered not canon even though it quotes past events. I genuinely have nothing good to say about the game itself. The idea of a Clank spin-off is great but this is one of the most poorly executed ideas I’ve ever seen.
Full Frontal Assault
What do you do when one weird spin-off title doesn’t work that well? Make a brand new mainline title? Of course not! You make another weird spin off title that’s even worse. That’s at least what Insomniac thought back in 2012 with the release of the tower defence/3-D platformer hybrid baby that is Full Frontal Assault. I do honestly appreciate the idea but it just didn’t work. It’s a shame because the idea of having a relatively minor character from the second game return almost 10 years later as an antagonist is intriguing to me. The game on all levels was pretty much just a poor excuse of a title with the gameplay, story and even planets being bland and not bringing anything new to the table. Another failed idea.
This is a title that had absolutely tons of potential but like the previous two games just wasn’t up to par the rest of the series had set. Size matters is again largely considered non-canon due to how it deals with characters and past events. Ratchet and Clank’s character arcs from the first four games are essentially reversed. There is a weird side plot about Quarks parents but honestly I couldn’t care less. The gameplay is fairly awful, however since it is a PSP port to PS2 I wont give it much stick. There’s an interesting armour system but the game overall is full of glitches which makes it particularly aggravating to play. This game again has many interesting concepts but was handled badly and really suffered because of it.
All 4 One
This is the last of the titles that I didn’t enjoy. This game gets more praise than everything behind it because at its core it works. It doesn’t rank higher here because I just couldn’t get to grips with some of the new aspects. Even though the game can be played solo it is made to be a cooperative experience. This is a fine idea that actually worked for the game however I didn’t have any friends who owned the game so I was stuck with the not so well made AI. The story overall is good if a little forgettable. That’s probably a good slogan for the game actually, ‘good but forgettable’.
Quest for Booty
Honestly this would’ve been ranked above Tools of Destruction if it wasn’t for its length. This game is essentially a filler title to bridge the gap between Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time. It takes the pirate enemies from Tools of Destruction and makes a short game with them as the main antagonists. The gameplay is largely the same as Tools of Destruction if a little more forgiving. Overall the game just feels rushed in comparison to every title that comes above it with no new weapons and very little in terms of new mechanics. This game isn’t bad by any means and does introduce a couple of mechanics that are enjoyed heavily in A Crack in Time. Overall the game suffers from a severe lack of content and is more of a glorified DLC rather than a standalone title.
Ratchet and Clank (2016)
As much as I hate this game for what it did to the original story it claims to reboot I have to say that the gameplay is some of the best we’ve seen to date. The game is incredibly smooth and being able to see many of the enemies from the original 2002 game remade for the PS4 was amazing to see. Unfortunately I can’t ignore the frankly insulting story. It takes the characters from the original game as well as a couple of fan favourites and turns them into cute/cuddly creatures who can’t go two seconds without making a dumb joke. The game also holds your hand unlike the original with characters constantly telling you what to do instead of letting you figure it out. Ratchet and Clank don’t even get character arcs whereas the game that this iss literally based off of has some of the best story and character arcs that the series ever had. Honestly I would have just preferred Insomniac to do a Spyro/Crash style remaster than create this unfaithful mess.
Into the Nexus
This game suffers the exact same way that Quest for Booty did but is simply better. Again the game is half the length of your average Ratchet game but unlike Quest for Booty it manages to stand on its own two feet. It doesn’t feel like a DLC with its unique story, game mechanics and a new arsenal. It almost acts like an epilogue to the future saga. This title takes everything great from the future saga and then adds its own identity with new gravity mechanics. This game would rank much higher up on this list if it had been a full game however it fails to deliver enough content. Into the Nexus is certainly of a good quality but it doesn’t have the quantity to back itself up.
Tools of Destruction
Tools of Destruction was the series’ first venture into another generation and my lord, did it look amazing. Not only did it look great but it played well too. This game had everything it needed to be great with a new arsenal of weapons, great visuals and cool enemies. However there’s always a catch and this time it was the story. The new narrative takes a step back from the consumeristic satire of the first four PS2 titles and instead opts for a more cinematic approach. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing until the story starts to contradict past events. Once these few contradictions start to happen it somewhat takes away from the experience. These few missteps are mostly fixed throughout the future saga but regrettably spoil what would otherwise be a great game.
The year before Deadlocked was released, Up Your Arsenal shifted the focus of the series slightly for a more combat focused 3-D platformer experience. Deadlocked doubles down on this by basing an entire game around the gladiator arena death matches from previous games. This idea was a risk but paid off as the game still manages to keep its themes of consumeristic satire. You only get a limited number of weapons but almost all of them serve a great purpose and are used often. Clank is no longer with Ratchet and instead you get two combat bots to accompany you on your travels. This again feeds into the more combat focused experience. This game doesn’t do anything ground-breaking for the series but does successfully rejuvenate the Ratchet formula before it got old. Overall its just a really fun Ratchet experience with very little negatives.
Up Your Arsenal
We now find ourselves with the best of the best that the series has to offer. Up Your Arsenal took the well crafted formula of the first two Ratchet titles and made one of the best and easiest to follow stories in the series. It also introduces Dr Nefarious (a recurring and fan favourite villain). The game was criticised for focusing more on combat which I didn’t have a problem with in all honesty. What I do have a problem with is re-using multiplayer maps to achieve this combat focus in the story. It’s just a little lazy. The game overall is a stellar experience that re-visits some of the best planets from the first game. It doesn’t quite feel as good as the two that came before it but it was still a great game to finish off the original trilogy.
This was my first Ratchet and Clank experience and was the game that had me hooked for almost 20 years. The game takes everything that’s good from the first title and refines it, anything that was bad is either improved or discarded completely. The movement improved significantly from the first game with the main improvement being that Ratchet now had the ability to strafe. The game also added a couple of hidden mini-games and greatly expanded on the extras that the game had to offer outside of its main story. The game does have a couple of faults for example the health system in my opinion was not as good as in the first game. The planets in this game are still great but aren’t as memorable as the first and I’m sure no one will ever forget those godforsaken ship missions. However these few faults do not stop this game being the perfect sequel to the original 2002 title.
A Crack in Time
If I had to choose one Ratchet and Clank game to play for the rest of my life it would be hard to choose between A Crack in Time and the original 2002 title. This game has a very direct, cinematic story which works very well in finishing off the future saga. The game makes great use of its open world space and the fact that space battles take place on a 2-D plane makes them a lot less tedious then previous titles. The story hits home and could’ve quite easily been an end to the franchise if that’s what Insomniac had wanted. Gameplay is arguably the best in the entire series and the Clank levels are definitely the best ever. This game also has the best version of the Insomniac museum which is another plus. I genuinely don’t have much if anything negative to say about this game. It tells an amazing story with great gameplay and visuals and even fixes the faults of Tools of Destruction.
Ratchet and Clank (2002)
I feel like this is somewhat of a controversial pick for the top spot and honestly I agree. The gameplay isn’t as refined as later games in the series. Ratchet is a bit more edgy in this title. The weapons roster isn’t as big as later games. A lot of mechanics feel clunky. But I love this game and it is my favourite in the entire series. The story is dark with a lot of use of consumeristic satire that the original games are known for. The main thing I love is Ratchet and Clank’s story arcs and how they aren’t the best of friends from beginning to end. You can only really give them that BFF status at the end of the game. This title holds a special place in my heart because it began something so important to me. I’m not sure if any new Ratchet title will ever quite top the original for me. The series may end someday but this 2002 original will always be timeless.
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