It’s been almost 20 years since the first instalment of Ratchet and Clank, and the series has taken us all across the galaxy ever since. With dozens of main titles that add up to a complex, yet endearing storyline, spinoffs, and even a movie that stood closely to the PS4 game of the same name, the legacy can’t be understated.
As we grow near to the PS5 and the already promising Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart, taking full advantage of the new hardware capabilities of the next-gen console, we look back at the franchise with our rank of the 10 best Ratchet and Clank games, cataloguing the adventures of the iconic pair.
10. Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault
Our list begins with a peculiar spinoff that saw the light of day back in 2012 for PS3 and PS Vita, and it sure was a departure of what we were used to from the series. More akin to a MOBA like League of Legends with only the basic elements of an action platformer, Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault introduced a tower defense game with many layers of complexity around rules and objectives. You even had the option to play this cooperatively, where the game tended to be more interesting. To this day, it’s still one of the most intriguing of the timeline.
9. Ratchet and Clank: Before the Nexus
The prospect of a Ratchet and Clank game on smartphones sounds curious enough, and that’s exactly what Before The Nexus was sent out to experiment with. It leaned closely to games like Subway Surfers, offering an infinite runner with a clear love and understanding of the franchise. Whilst it’s a shame that they didn’t explore a more ambitious sized experience, it stood on its own with fan references and familiar faces all around, as well as lots of enemies to take down with all sorts of weapons.
8. Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One
Back in 2011, Insomniac Games brought an ambitious new element to the series through another spinoff. Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One lives up to its title, allowing players to take part in local or online multiplayer sessions with up to three other friends for the entire campaign, or by having the game’s AI control Clank in single player. It was quite the departure for a franchise known by its solo nature, as well as the addition of a fixed camera replacing the always endearing free view from past games and a shift in art style. But the action translated well into co-op, and it’s still a one of a kind experience for the franchise. We wonder if we will ever see a modern take on this idea in the future.
7. Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters
Jokingly referencing its console from the get go, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters is one of the two entries of the series that appeared on the PSP, the other being Secret Agent Clank. It follows the nature of the games quite closely, providing the protagonists with all sorts of weapons to wreak havoc and maintaining much of the tri-dimensional platform elements that we have all grown to love. Its biggest difference came from the lack of a right analogue stick to move the camera, which was replaced by two possible control schemes to try and emulate it. The familiar tone and similarly polished gameplay from past entries, however, made it a worthwhile entry all the same.
6. Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction
Tools of Destruction led the helm as the series landed on PS3 back in 2007 for the first time. It retains much of what made the series so interesting in the PS2 area, focusing a bit more on the action this time around, as well as providing a next gen look back then with new particle effects and more astounding battle sequences than before. The story could be a hit or miss depending on how knowledgeable you were of past entries, and whilst the difficulty didn’t put that much of a fight, it sure was fun to engage in combat against dozens of enemies.
5. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
The sequel to the first Ratchet and Clank, Going Commando, is an interesting entry to look back to after so many years. It took the impressive first look at what the franchise could be, and iterated just enough in the right places to make it a worthwhile experience. It’s also the one that began to introduce many of the elements that became the norm in following titles, such as weapons’ progression by making them level up and the often interesting array of minigames, experimenting with mechanics became more prominent later on.
4. Ratchet and Clank: Into The Nexus
Into The Nexus was responsible for giving the series’ presence on PS3 their farewell, and it was on a high note filled with interesting ideas. It had an interesting focus on movements and puzzle sections around gravity, a darker tone that still maintained the lighthearted humor from past entries, and plenty of surprises, including Clank segments that were in 2D dimensions. It felt like an installment that wasn’t afraid of taking risks, even this far into the timeline as a 2013 release, earning its place as one of the most interesting of the bunch.
3. Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Up Your Arsenal presented itself as the third instalment in the Ratchet and Clank family back in 2004, and it’s still remembered to this day thanks to its refinement of pretty much everything that Insomniac Games had brought to the table up to that point. The heroes return to the iconic planet Veldin, Ratchet’s garage locale, with new tricks up their sleeves such as the Lock-strafe mode, making the control scheme more akin to third-person shooters. It improved upon the weapon upgrades (across an arsenal of 20 of them, too) from its predecessors, introduced the mischievous Dr. Nefarious, and was also the first to offer online multiplayer.
2. Ratchet and Clank (2016)
Ratchet and Clank’s incursion to the PS4 was an intriguing one - it was tied to the CG film by the same name, but it also reinvented the first title, so players got to witness the starting moments of how the iconic pair of characters got their start in the many adventures that came after in chronological order. But there’s also plenty of new elements in play, from a massive set of collectible cards to whole new flying segments. It all came together with the most striking look that the series had seen until then, pairing it closely to the movie’s counterpart in terms of visuals.
1. Ratchet and Clank: A Crack In Time
Introducing itself as the sequel to both Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty, A Crack In Time redefined much of what had made the series so intricate and innovative back in the PS2 era. It was a welcoming callback to nostalgia amist titles that were trying new things for the next generation, and it carved its place by implementing the excellent Hoverboots and new ways to further customize your weapons, experimenting with new parts that could change how they felt completely.