|Publisher||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Release Date||June 10th, 2021|
I had never played the original games on the PS2 and PS3 so when Ratchet & Clank received a reboot in 2016 for the PS4, I decided to try the series for the first time. Ratchet & Clank thrust me into a world that felt like a Dreamworks movie come to life. The ambitious title brings the heroic duo back for the first time since the series’ reboot. After failing to stop Dr. Nefarious’ latest schemes, Ratchet ends up separated from Clank and must venture through different dimensions to find his pal. Along the way, players discover that Ratchet may not be the only Lombax out there and the new dimension they’re in has some strange, yet familiar, faces.
Violence: Enemies explode into bolts, the primary currency, once defeated, and there is no blood or gore to speak of.
Drug Use: None, characters don’t drink, smoke, or otherwise consume any illicit substances
Language: This is a wholesome game and contains about the level of swearing you’d expect to find in a Pixar or Dreamworks movie
Sexual Content: None
Spirituality/Religion: There are monks on one of the planets in Rift Apart and it seems like the Lombax (Ratchet and Rivet’s species) are revered by these monks as you can find 12 shrines that unlock rewards for both characters.
Rift Apart starts out with a parade honoring Ratchet and Clank’s previous exploits in the 2016 reboot. Soon, the parade is attacked and invaded by Dr. Nefarious and his goons as dimensional rifts appear showing worlds the pair have yet to explore. After getting sucked through a rift into a dimension where Nefarious has already won and crowned himself Emperor, the pair must contend with their own version of Dr. Nefarious before they can figure out how to get home. But before this happens the Dimensionator (Dr. Nefarious’ Dimension gun) misfires and separates the pair, sending Clank to a different dimension with Rivet, Ratchet’s extra-dimensional counterpart. This point is where the gameplay begins, as players are tasked with reuniting the iconic duo and figuring out how to get them home while battling both versions of Dr. Nefarious and his minions.
Overall, the gameplay is the same as the 2016 reboot, though now there are now a host of new weapons, armor sets, and gadgets that can aid players on their journey. On each planet, there are Spy Bots to find which unlock the Ryno 8 weapon when all ten of them are collected. The Ryno 8, as seen in many promotional materials leading up to the launch of Rift Apart, summons characters from other dimensions (i.e. Playstation properties) to aid our heroes in battle. It may pull in the Thunderjaw from Horizon: Zero Dawn for example to obliterate Ratchet and Rivet’s enemies. There are also smaller rifts scattered around the environment which unlock alternate paths or separate puzzle rooms that reward new armor pieces upon completion. These can even be used in battle to gain a vantage point you can snipe enemies from or escape a death blow at the last minute. As is typical for the Ratchet & Clank games players, players collect regular bolts from defeated enemies which are spent on new weapons and ammo. Additionally, they can collect gold bolts, which can be spent on weapon upgrades and other goodies. Finally, players can hunt for Raritanium, blue crystals hidden away in each level which are used to upgrade weapons. Each weapon can be leveled up five times and each upgrade provides perks like increased ammo, additional AOE damage, and more. This does offer a level of strategy to some combat encounters though sticking to the starting pistol does the job in many cases.
How you choose to use the upgrades is up to the player and their personal play style really, though upgrading everything goes a long way towards earning that coveted Platinum Trophy. As 2016’s reboot was a retelling of the original game’s story, Rift Apart is a sequel that boasts the same quality of writing as Sony’s Spider-Man. At the start of the game, Ratchet isn’t sure he even wants to find other Lombax despite Clank gifting him a map with the location of the rest of his species, who were once thought wiped out. As the pair continue their adventure, and Ratchet and Rivet eventually meet, he changes his mind and comes to appreciate his friend’s heartfelt gift. Likewise, Rivet and the new characters Glitch and Kit have incredible character development over the course of the game as they aid in defeating Nefarious and his schemes. Perhaps the freshest gameplay addition comes from Glitch’s segments. Here the game essentially becomes a shooter that bears some resemblance to the Metroid series. The player takes control of Glitch as she navigates through different computer systems, defeating squid-like viruses to help Ratchet access otherwise inaccessible information and items. Much like, Kit, Glitch feels unsure of herself and her own skills at first and is constantly taunted by the voice of a former rival as she works to hack into these systems for Ratchet. As the game progresses and she hacks harder and harder systems, Glitch grows more confident in her skills and her value to the team and Ratchet helps to encourage her every step of the way.
All in all, Rift Apart is an improvement on the 2016 reboot with just enough new gameplay and features to make it worth considering truly “next-gen”. Taking full advantage of the Dualsense contoller, some alt fire options for weapons require only half a pull of the R2 trigger vs. a full pull. Visuals are breathtaking and include ray tracing and other impressive features that had me spending more time in Photo Mode than I care to admit. With a story that made me shed a few tears even before the credits rolled and new characters that were so endearing I couldn’t help but fall in love with them, I highly recommend Rift Apart to fans of the series. While not required to enjoy and understand the story here, I also suggest trying the reboot which is available on PS4 for free as part of the PS Plus Collection
The Bottom Line
Rift Apart stands as culmination of everything possible for the series on next gen hardware, providing a delightful visual and technical showcase held up by top notch writing and a lovable cast of characters.