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Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction review

Sony's most explosive series blasts onto the PS3 with stunning visuals and relentless fun

You won't spend the entire game blasting through aliens and robots as Ratchet, of course. As in previous games, Clank sometimes has to set out on his own - although things are a little different for himthis time around. Instead of commanding groups of toothy, lemming-like Clank-bots, he'll issue commands to the Zoni, a race of floating aliens that only he can see. Invisible or not, they're awfully good at blowing up enemies, and they're key to solving the simple puzzles Clank has to deal with. They'll also grant him certain powers later in the game, like the ability to sprout Robo-Wings, which enable Ratchet to fly using the Sixaxis motion controls.

You won't spend the entire game blasting through aliens and robots as Ratchet, of course. As in previous games, Clank sometimes has to set out on his own - although things are a little different for himthis time around. Instead of commanding groups of toothy, lemming-like Clank-bots, he'll issue commands to the Zoni, a race of floating aliens that only he can see. Invisible or not, they're awfully good at blowing up enemies, and they're key to solving the simple puzzles Clank has to deal with. They'll also grant him certain powers later in the game, like the ability to sprout Robo-Wings, which enable Ratchet to fly using the Sixaxis motion controls.

Overall, Ratchet & Clank Future makes pretty good use of the tilt controls; they're not intrusive, and they're largely limited to things like free-falling, gliding and minigames, where it makes sense to use them. For example, the computer-hacking minigame involves tilting a circuit board to roll a ball around, using it to bridge gaps for a slow-moving spark, which feels completely natural. Even the Robo-Wing controls (which we slagged on in our last preview) have been fine-tuned to the point where controller-tilting doesn't feel awkward in the slightest. And if you still have a problem with any of that, you're free to turn the motion controls off altogether.

We'll even go so far as to say that Sixaxis controls might have improved the Starfox -y, on-rails space-combat sequences, which - while pretty - are way too slow and simple to be much more than a distraction from the main storyline. Three of the game's 18 levels are devoted to these set-pieces, and while they're kind of fun, Insomniac was apparently so concerned with making them accessible to newcomers that there isn't much challenge or excitement to them. Survival is just a matter of pasting everything that looks like a target with the right analog stick while keeping your ship drifting out of harm's way with the left. The option of using Panzer Dragoon-style cluster missiles makes things a little more interesting, but a greater sense of speed and a lot more enemies wouldn't have hurt, either. At least we could do barrel rolls.

Overall, Ratchet & Clank Future makes pretty good use of the tilt controls; they're not intrusive, and they're largely limited to things like free-falling, gliding and minigames, where it makes sense to use them. For example, the computer-hacking minigame involves tilting a circuit board to roll a ball around, using it to bridge gaps for a slow-moving spark, which feels completely natural. Even the Robo-Wing controls (which we slagged on in our last preview) have been fine-tuned to the point where controller-tilting doesn't feel awkward in the slightest. And if you still have a problem with any of that, you're free to turn the motion controls off altogether.

We'll even go so far as to say that Sixaxis controls might have improved the Starfox -y, on-rails space-combat sequences, which - while pretty - are way too slow and simple to be much more than a distraction from the main storyline. Three of the game's 18 levels are devoted to these set-pieces, and while they're kind of fun, Insomniac was apparently so concerned with making them accessible to newcomers that there isn't much challenge or excitement to them. Survival is just a matter of pasting everything that looks like a target with the right analog stick while keeping your ship drifting out of harm's way with the left. The option of using Panzer Dragoon-style cluster missiles makes things a little more interesting, but a greater sense of speed and a lot more enemies wouldn't have hurt, either. At least wecould do barrel rolls.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionGet ready for more wild weapons and sci-fi tomfoolery - Ratchet and Clank have arrived on the PlayStation 3.
Franchise nameRatchet and Clank
UK franchise nameRatchet & Clank
PlatformPS3
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Alternative namesR&C Future: Tools of Destruction, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
Release date23 October 2007 (US), (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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