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Ratchet and Clank (Pre-E3 2006)

Developer: High Impact Games | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Platform

Release Date: 02/13/07

randc3.jpgHow do you ensure the long-term success of your new portable system? If you are Sony, the answer to that question is easy. You take your more beloved franchises, give them all new adventures, and watch the masses buy your console. To most gamers, the two biggest Sony franchises are the Jak & Daxter series and Ratchet and Clank. With the release of Daxter, the untold story between Jak 1 and 2, Sony now has its sights set firmly on giving players a true sequel to Ratchet and Clank.

Poor Ratchet and Clank never get a break. Developer Insomniac Games has been busy giving the duo new games each year on the PS2. In this PSP installment, the two heroes finally get a vacation… At least that is what they were hoping for. However, as you probably have guessed, the vacation quickly turns to another lengthy quest for the duo to complete as players meet Luna while soaking some rays up on the beach. Luna is a huge fan of R&C and asks them to help her in a school project. Ratchet & Clank agree but then trouble strikes. Aliens appear to get Luna and your first task is to save her. In the process of this task, you discover that the vacation is over and you have to save the day once more.

So what makes Ratchet and Clank PSP different? For starters, Insomniac Games is not developing this incarnation of the series. This marks the first time they aren’t directly involved in the series. Because they are a small studio and are busy working on two new PlayStation 3 games, the development of the PSP version of R&C is being handled by High Impact Studio. Now, I know you are probably asking who the heck High Impact Studio is. They are a relatively new developer in the Los Angeles area made up of a lot of former Insomniac Games developers who have worked on the R&C series in the past. So fear not--this PSP installment is in good hands.
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High Impact Studios is attempting to move the series back to its roots by giving the game more of a traditional platform feel instead of the pure “action hybrid” the series has evolved into during the last few titles. That said, there will be no shortage of action of weapons in Ratchet and Clank PSP. Personally, I really feel this move is great and will fit the handheld platform much more than a pure action game. Players will also find a similar character upgrade system that has given the game much more depth. In addition, fans of Clank will be happy to know that he will be involved in the action directly once more--unlike the last Ratchet title.

With the release of Daxter, we saw some pretty amazing visuals on the PSP. Even with this early build, R&C looks like it will even surpass the visual quality of Daxter. Despite the move to the handheld screen, all of the humor, animation, and attention to detail remain intact. The power of the PSP seems to have no problem giving us yet another PS2 quality experience visually.
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While things are looking good for this title, it is still early and there is much work to be done. The framerate is still improving and we are told it will be free of slowdown once the game releases. With the way things are looking now, this should not be a hard promise to keep.

Keeping the series true to its roots, High Impact Studio is enlisting the services of David Bergeaud to compose the music for the first PSP outing. Mr. Bergeaud is the man responsible for all of the music on the consoles.

Overall, this is shaping up to be one of the strongest PSP titles I have seen or heard about. With the promise of added WiFi gameplay in multiplayer modes, we can’t wait to see more of this title at E3 2006. Stay tuned for more on this title as it readies its Q1 2007 release date.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 04/25/06
ESRB Details: Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence
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Screenshots for Ratchet and Clank (Pre-E3 2006)

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