Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault preview - Holding the fort

Coinciding with the dynamic Lombax/robot duo's 10th anniversary, Insomniac Games recently revealed Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault, a PSN downloadable that’s trying something new with the revered series. Instead of the typical planet-hopping, robot-blastin’ progression, Full Frontal Assault tasks Ratchet with an entirely new mission: tower defense. Taking a page from recent greats like Orcs Must Die!, FFA blends the classic R&C exploration and platforming elements with base defense in some addicting-looking single player or co-op action.

The enemies in question this time around are the Grungoids, feared throughout the galaxy for attacking defenseless planets in waves. Ratchet and co. don’t take too kindly to their invasions, so they’ve taken it upon himself to be the barrier between the Grungoid hordes and global domination. In the co-op mode, you’ll be combining forces (or competiting) with your friends as Ratchet, Clank, or that lovable lout Captain Quark. As always, your impressive, upgradable space-age artillery is the star of the show – only here, the wreckage-wreaking weapons are laid down as turrets just as often as they’re wielded in your capable hands. 

As the Grungoid forces approach your blockade from one of two sides (at least on the level we saw), they’ll be met with opposition in the forms of force fields, inventive mines, and about four to six deployable turrets ranging from cannons and rocket launchers to machine guns and flamethrowers. The traditional R&C cleverness when it comes to weapon design seemed most prominent in the non-turret defenses: obstacles like a Groovitron Mine (a disco ball that forces the enemy to bust a move), time-slowing traps, and pads that polymorph Grungoids into hilariously inert sheep are all fair game in your efforts to keep the purple, tentacle Grungoids at bay.

But those sweet turrets and defensive structures come at a cost – bolts, the beloved currency of the Ratchet & Clank universe. You’ll gain the metallic currency as you wallop incoming Grungoids (or burn them to a crisp with a row of flame jets), but to really rake in the bolts, you’ll need to get outside your comfort zone. That means leaving your base behind to explore the wide-open areas leading up to your defenses, and hoping that your turrets can fend for themselves and protect your generators for the time being. While one half of gameplay involves strategically guarding your base, the other comes from zipping around the map with Ratchet’s slick Hoverboots. 

Out in the wild, you’ll find Ratchet’s usual arsenal of futuristic firepower, like freeze pistols or rocket guns, in drop pods littered throughout each level. The harder it is to find the given pod, the greater the armament reward; for instance, when Ratchet hit a boost pad just so, he sprang up onto a hidden platform that led to an electrified rail. After skillfully grinding the length of the trap-laden rail, Ratchet found himself in an ancient temple that housed a gigantic missile launcher. Works for us.

FFA encourages an interesting mix of offense and defense – every inch you explore into the nook-and-cranny filled environment, you’re getting a bit further from the home base that could need your attention during a particularly-brutal attack. The online modes add another addictive wrinkle to the action: leveling up through stage-based medal awards. As you level with your pals, you’ll unlock perks – though Insomniac wasn’t ready to go into detail on these, it sounds like a system that’ll add massive amounts of replay value.

Just as the implementation of Horde mode in Mass Effect 3 was a nice, shockingly-addictive surprise, we’re betting that we’ll sink countless hours into perfecting our FFA defense plans with friends. Look for it on PSN when it’s released this fall.

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  • garnsr - July 26, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    I'll buy it, but I'm afraid I'll give up on it after a few levels, like All 4 One. I'm not sure I want tower defense mixing with my Ratchet and Clank, or anything else, for that matter.
  • Zeos - July 26, 2012 8:49 p.m.

    Nice hopefully it'll be funner than All 4 One because I too just stopped playing after a few levels, got boring for me.
  • tehtimeisnow - July 26, 2012 10:45 p.m.

    this gane is so full of fale i guess it is will entertane all the 3 years olds but real gamers like me ditch the stuped ps3 and play on xobx and iphone insted
  • Shnubby - July 27, 2012 2:56 p.m.

    Lol, shut the fuck up, R&C is great and you're just a mistake who ass fucks his xbox xD
  • bebl09 - July 28, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    Dude, don't feed the troll. Don't you know the rules of the internet?
  • Shnubby - August 3, 2012 3:51 p.m.

    I know, sorry, it's just that this guy is everywhere on this site. And he doesn't even attempt to spell correctly xD
  • Turtman - September 11, 2012 3:34 p.m.

    You're stupid leeve people alone. Everyone has an apinion.
  • bebl09 - September 11, 2012 6:57 p.m.

    Lol wtf, commenting on a month and a half old post? Is this the new CoD/Apple troll account?
  • Turtman - September 13, 2012 2:15 p.m.

    ...honestly I don't even remember commenting on this. I might have been drunk. Never drink and troll!
  • bebl09 - September 13, 2012 3:27 p.m.

    Hahaha I know that all too well, I found a ridiculous comment from my Youtube account the other day that I'd posted literally like 3 years ago that I don't even remember doing. It was actually pretty offensive too lol.
  • Turtman - September 13, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Haha classic!
  • Zeos - July 26, 2012 11:18 p.m.

    As if your incredibly bad spelling was not enough, that comment alone just made you come off as very idiotic. Good job!
  • shawksta - July 27, 2012 12:39 a.m.

    Looks cool and very Interesting. a Cross-breed of Platforming and Tower Defense you say, very peculier, I was fond of Dillons Rolling Wester mixing Exploration Adventure with Tower Defense, this could be very interesting, even for Ratchet, its nice to see how they are Experiementing with the series.