previews\ Sep 17, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time - PS3 - Preview

The camera slowly pans across planets, comet trails, and the vastness that is the universe, all while a deep voice (trying to come across like the opening of the old Star Trek television series) intones:

“Space … it’s huge … it is so huge that if you lost your car keys, they would be almost impossible to find!”

Ok, that’s totally like tongue in cheek, shots at pop culture, but you can expect that when you launch a Ratchet & Clank game. As everyone knows, Ratchet & Clank is one of the signature game franchises from Insomniac Games (which, to coin Dr. Nefarious, is “at the center of the (gaming) universe – give or take 50 feet”) and A Crack in Time is the follow-up to Ratchet & Clank Future.

At the end of Future, Clank had been taken by the little aliens that had aided him during the adventure that he and Ratchet were on. They were mysterious, but they seemed intent on imbuing Clank with certain gifts. But at the end, they kidnapped Ratchet’s robotic sidekick and took off with him.

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time PlayStation 3 screenshots

As it turns out, the Zoni (the aliens who aided and then kidnapped Clank) delivered him into the clutches of arch-enemy Dr. Nefarious (nope, that quote was not random), who then proceeds to double-cross the Zoni during which time Clank tries to make his escape. In the interim, Ratchet – accompanied by the self-absorbed Capt. Qwark – is trying to find Clank.

So, on one hand, you have Clank trying to escape from ‘nefarious’ circumstance, while Ratchet and Qwark have crashed on one of those “where are we?” planets. Of course they are all on a collision course to meet up, sooner or later, but the adventure is soundly afoot and players do not get much of a respite before they will be in the midst of the action. The glue cementing all this together seems to have a base in time anomalies – hence the name of the game “A Crack in Time.”

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time PlayStation 3 screenshots

This game, slated for release in late October (GameZone received a limited level preview code for this story) is a solid mixture of arcade action and adventure, all in a somewhat seamless environment that is absolutely wonderful to look at.

As players move through the early levels, they will get the opportunity to try (unsuccessfully – but this is more of a tutorial to the controls that aught else) to escape from Nefarious’ space station, then shift to Ratchet and Qwark as they are able to explore and get some upgrades before a boss battle with Lord Vorselon.

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time PlayStation 3 screenshots

But much more importantly was the way the game teased the story elements that are certain to play out as the game unravels. There is the element of Clank’s creator – Orvis, the idea that maybe Ratchet is not the last Lombax left, the time anomalies (of course), and other tidbits that hint at an involved and very entertaining storyline that will pull players into and through the game.

Graphically, this game is very tasty eye candy. Insomniac pulled out the stops in rendering a game that is well animated, imaginative and very colorful with all the elements that make a Ratchet & Clank game absolutely great fun. There are the humorous names for objects, the witty and downright clever dialogue and the action seemingly only lets up long enough to interject some plot points (don’t worry, nothing droll here; even the cut scenes, likely culled from the game engine, are entertaining).

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is looking to be an accessible and very entertaining escapade that is sure to tickle the fancy of gamers young and old. Keep your eyes peeled for the release date of this one.

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