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Ratchet and Clank

Developer: Insomniac Games | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/04/02 | Genre: Platform

The Ratchet and Clank series has seen its share of awesome titles during its run on the PlayStation 2. The fourth installment on the franchise marks a ton of fundamental gameplay changes while still feeling relatively the same. This is both a good and bad thing.

I am not sure why but Insomniac Games has chosen to not tie Ratchet Deadlocked to any of the prior games, worlds, or characters. This is a rich series with lots of history now. Are they afraid gamers who are new to the series will be confused if they talk about the past titles? Despite this, Ratchet Deadlock delivers the series into a bold new direction and completely takes away all platforming elements. This is a pure action title now. Despite this change, the series feels oddly the same. I guess even though the platforming elements were there before--the big draw has always been weapon use.

Like the previous three installments, Ratchet Deadlocked is great to look at. The graphics have not been improved very much but the game runs at a steady framerate and the animation is very smooth. In addition to the gameplay visuals, the cinematic sequences are well written, have great voice acting, and are entertaining to watch.

This time around Ratchet is kidnapped and forced to appear on a TV show to battle out to the death. Clank appears in the game but is not directly involved in the combat. In his place are two computer-controlled allies that will assist you by attacking enemies that appear on screen. If either of them die, they can be revived as many times as needed.

Besides Clank missing from the gameplay, Ratchet Deadlock introduces fewer weapons and a much shorter game. This is the first time in the series that Insomniac Games has offered less content than in a previous title. Just how short is Deadlocked? Expect to breeze through the single player mode in roughly eight hours. The other Ratchet games were just getting warmed up by that point. Regarding the limited number of weapons, the only good thing about this is that they are highly customizable by your counterpart Al.. You can also further upgrade your weapons by gaining experience. You gain experience for each weapon as you use it. The more you use it--the more EXP it receives.

Ratchet Deadlocked also offers some great multiplayer elements. The biggest of these is a cooperative single player mode. This feature allows you and a buddy to play but takes away the AI controlled allies. You and your friend will also be forced to use separate weapons. There is also a regular style deathmatch mode but for me personally--I prefer the co-op or offline single player modes. The sad part for me, as a big fan of the series, is that Ratchet Deadlocked just isn’t a big improvement over past titles. Fans of this franchise will probably love this game. But after eight hours, they will probably find little reason to come back for more. If you can live with the limited gameplay, Ratchet Deadlocked is definitely worth a look. However, all others may find the title to only be an enjoyable rental.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 11/25/02
ESRB Details: Mild Violence
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Screenshots for Ratchet and Clank

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