Ratchet and Clank: Tools Of Destruction has been out for a few weeks now, but having played our way through it we simply couldn’t ignore it. Why? Because it’s one of the best games we’ve tackled in a long time.
When the PS3 first launched there weren’t many great games available; Resistance: Fall of Man and Motorstorm were the pick of a decent, but not amazing, bunch.
With Ratchet and Clank: Tools Of Destruction the PS3 has its first must-have title. It offers pretty much everything you’d want in a game; fun, action, weapons, explosions, humour and some of the most beautiful graphics you’ll have ever seen, anywhere.
Remember those games on the PS2 that had the most amazing looking cut-scenes only to pale in comparison when the in-game action kicked in?
Well technology has finally progressed and in TOD the graphics are consistently super. That includes the hustle and bustle of the first level, through to the lush greenery in some of the later missions.
Look closely at metal structures and the texture looks just right. Look far into the distance or at the sky and you can see futuristic vehicles floating into the distance high above play.
In fact there will be times during the game when you’ll feel like taking time out from the action to merely walk around the levels, taking in their beauty: it’s gaming tourism at its best.
And when you’ve stopped staring at the visuals you might remember there’s a story. Playing Ratchet – the last of the Lombax species – you must stop Emperor Percival Tachyon from trying to take over the galaxy.
He’s also captured the loveable Captain Quark (think of him as a cross between Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and Zap Brannigan from Futurama and you’ll have an idea of what he’s like), and it’s up to Ratchet and his robotic sidekick, Clank, to save him.
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It may not be the most original sounding premise but TOD is all about action, and with a name like ‘Tools Of Destruction’ there’s plenty of that to go around.
Rather than letting you settle into the game, things are fairly chaotic right from the outset. Blasting robots into oblivion, avoiding collapsing bridges, dodging oncoming trains and laser-equipped space-craft are just some of the dangers in the first level.
And there are lots of choices in how you choose to take your foes apart, with an awesome array of available kit. There are explosive weapons, flamey ones, and some just-plain-odd ones, such as a disco ball, that causes enemies to dance, giving Ratchet time to blow them away!
Each kill gives you a certain number of bolts, which are used to buy weapons, which can be upgraded using precious stones called Raritanium. Guns also become more and more powerful depending on how often you use them, rewarding those who have a favoured weapon of choice.
TOD also makes excellent use of the PS3 controller’s motion-sensing ability, which feels natural and is not overused. Witness this when Ratchet and Clank are falling through the sky and you need to tilt the pad to avoid oncoming traffic; or on the mini-games where you guide an electricity ball through a circuit; or when Clank flies.
If there was one complaint it’s that an accomplished gamer will burn through it pretty quickly and the ending is a bit short. But we’re not going to complain too much because the journey there is so much fun. Besides, finishing the game unlocks ‘Challenge Mode’, with an increased difficulty and permission to use the weapons you unlocked the first time round.
There are also moments in TOD that will have you thinking back to when games were just all about simple no-fuss action. One sequence reverts to 2D when Ratchet and Clank take on a giant robot, reminding us of Gunstar Heroes on the Sega Mega Drive.
If you’re a fan of previous Ratchet and Clank titles, you don’t need us to convince you to buy this upgrade. If you’ve never played any of the previous titles, but are looking for something truly kick-ass to plop in your PS3, buy this now, you won’t be disappointed.