Think about it, though: aside from Deadlocked, which chapters of the Ratchet & Clank saga really stand out as memorable? Take Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, for example; they were both great games, but if you haven't played them recently, can you really remember the differences between them?
We're certainly not suggesting Ratchet should be squeezed back into his dark Master Chief armor and flanked with robot gunmen again, or that we don't want to play this because it's too familiar. But considering that the "Future" in its title is supposed to denote the beginning of a whole new series, Tools of Destruction plays it way too safe.
2. It even looks like the same old Ratchet
One common complaint we've heard from other journalists is that - while the first screens we saw of Ratchet & Clank Future looked like something out of a Pixar movie - the game doesn't have the same polish up close. After playing it at developer Insomniac's headquarters, we have to agree: we weren't nearly as blown away by the visuals as we had hoped to be.
It could be we're just jaded after nearly two years of seeing next-gen graphics; there's certainly no question that the game looks great, after all. The animation is fluid, the environments are beautifully rendered (while still looking cartoony) and the level of detail is much higher than anything the PS2 could ever dream of. As was pointed out to us by Chris Nicholls, the game's animation director, Ratchet on the PS2 had about 120 "bones" in his entire body - on the PS3, he's got 90 in his face alone.
So what's the problem? Somehow, the game frequently looks like the old R&C games with a fresh coat of next-gen paint. Maybe it's just difficult to appreciate awesome visuals when you're frantically bashing hordes of angry red beetles into paste or dodging tractor-mounted missiles fired by fish-looking Kerchu aliens. Whatever the case, we're still more impressed by the screenshots than we are with the game in action.