Review by MasterVG782
"Nothing like having a flaming duck fly by your side.."
I'm what you can call a huge fan of platformers. So, when the original Ratchet & Clank game came out, I simply fell in love with the action that came alongside the platforming. The sequel, Going Commando, offered a lot more and a huge step up in fun. Now we have the third in the series in our hands. Does it live up to its predecessors? Yes, it does and it adds a lot more.
The graphics in Up Your Arsenal (now known as UYA) are very polished and gorgeous. The sceneries are well done and the characters are also animated and drawn well. Despite all of the action that can go on in the game, there doesn't seem to be a bit of slowdown at all. UYA breathes a breath of fresh air back in the so called "old technology" of the PS2.
SOUND & MUSIC
I've always been fond of the music in the Ratchet & Clank series. It fit the mood of the stages perfectly, although it wasn't very memorable. The music in UYA also fits the game well, with some tracks from the previous games making a return.
The sound effects and voices are also well done. I will say that there isn't a voice in the game that I dislike. The guns also produce all the same effects that one would expect. Top notch, Insomniac, top notch.
The story in this game is the cliched "bad guy tries to take control of the universe." Although it's a rather old cliche, the way they present it in UYA is quite good. There are numerous areas of the story where I actually laughed. It wasn't a side-splitting laugh, but some sections made me chuckle. I've always like the Ratchet & Clank series for this. Although there are a few references here and there to the previous games, the story is still stand-alone.
The old Ratchet & Clank idea of going to a planet, do something, fly to new planet is still the staple of this game, but the new aspects put into it give it a breath of life. They take the RPG aspects from Going Commando and expand on them a little bit. All of the planets aren't broken down to the "Point A to Point B" idea. There are quite a few stages where you must battle alongside the Galactic Rangers to gain some territory/stop the Tyhrranoids from overrunning a planet. These missions range from protecting the Rangers as they repair a turret to riding a hovercar to take out air support. It really feels like you're at war! Something new added to this game was a central hub of sorts, called the Starship Phoenix. The charactersuse the Phoenix to fight against the evil Dr. Nefarious. It has weapon and armor vendors, a game system for Vid-Comics (2D Qwark) and a trophy room to show off your hard earned prizes.
As with the previous installments, weapons are the center of the game in UYA. You can upgrade each weapon up to four times in the regular game. If that's not enough for you, you can upgrade them even further in challenge mode (yes, challenge mode has made a reappearance). A lot of weapons make a reappearance, some under a new name. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of bringing back some mediocre weapons like they did in GC, some fan favorites were brought back in UYA. The new additions to the weapon lineup are also fantastic. You can now create black holes with the Rift Inducer and target multiple enemies before shocking them with the Spitting Hydra. Some old weapons got some changes, like the ever popular Sheepinator. It now turns enemies into DUCKS! Fully upgraded, it turns one enemy into a flaming duck who flies by your side and attacks the enemy before exploding.
Something new to the series is the 2D action/platformers chronicling some of Qwark's previous adventures. These add some "old school" feelings to the game, although the stages weren't very challenging or particularly long. I can't really comment on the online aspect of the game, since I don't have broadband. If the multiplayer stages are of any indication, I can see the online aspect be very insane at times and quite addictive. Although they added online, the game is still originally intended as a single player adventure.
REPLAY & DIFFICULTY
You will probably have to play through the game at least 2-3 times before actually getting everything. The big Bolts and Skill Points make a return, but Trophies make its first appearance to the series. These are nothing more than collectibles that are showcased in your room aboard the Phoenix. Some are very easy to get in the levels, while some others can be challenging (getting all of the Skill Points for instance).
One thing that I find a bit awkward is the severe jump in the game's difficulty about three quarters of the way into the story. It starts off as very easy and all of a sudden, the I find myself dying a good bit on some of the later stages. Despite this, it's still a great game and not "pull out your hair" frustrating-hard.
Overall, I'd say this game is definitely worth buying. The game can be considered rather short, but with all of the things to do, this game will last you for a few weeks. Go and buy it now!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/10/04, Updated 11/14/04
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