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However, it’s the Clank stages that hold the most appeal and offer something new to the series. While Ratchet gets to tool up his arsenal and go to war, Clank’s adventure plays out like a puzzler. He’s a captive and must escape from the Zoni – to do this, he will need to master time travel. Each room Clank needs to escape from has a number of switches and pads that control door locks, platforms, etc. Using Time Pads, you can play out one route by running to a switch and pulling it. But to escape, you need to pull two switches. So to be in two places at once, you must ‘record’ Clank pulling the first switch, and then as it plays out you can pull the second. Take this template and expand on it, with up to four ‘Time Clanks’ running around a room and it’s clear that these stages are going to be fun brain-teasers that offer a cool mix of Braid-like puzzling and Insomniac’s familiar ‘toon flair.
The Clank sections could slow the pace down, but that’s no bad thing. Used well, they could offer a fun respite from the intense but familiar Ratchet gunplay and platforming.
There’s a new visual style to the game, too, that mimics Pixar’s CG movies with a cel-shaded filter used to make the lively characters jump out of the screen more than normal. For hardcore fans there’s a hint of some surprising revelations about Ratchet’s past and the Lombax race – the level demoed featured General Alistair Azimuth bouncing around as Ratchet was fighting. He’s a Jedi Master-style Lombax warrior who will guide Ratchet to uncover the truth about his race.
To say A Crack in Time is more of the same would be unfair – the Clank stages look like they’ll offer a lot of fun and the core Ratchet gameplay has been spruced up to include even more playful weapons and gadgets. Still, how the two sections merge is unknown and there could be a shock when they do, with Insomniac suggesting it’s the end of the road for the double-act.
Jul 22, 2009