Review by SSJAniFan
"We need to save the Squishees!"
Once upon a time, Insomniac released a little for the Playstation 2 called Ratchet and Clank. It was a fun and addictive platformer in which you traveled throughout different planets, engaging in huge, hectic, and addictive space battles, and used strange yet enjoyable devices to progress through the game. One year later a sequel, titled Going Commando, was released and improved upon the first, allowing the ability to strafe, and RPG-esque stats which allowed Ratchet to increase both his skills and power up his different weapons. Now, two years after the original's release, the 3rd title has hit the shelves.
The story in its own right may not be award-winning material but it is entertaining and quite funny. This time around Ratchet and Clank must take on the evil Dr. Nefarious, a mad scientist-turned-robot who plans on exterminating all organic lifeforms("squishees" as he calls them). To do so he enlists help of the Terranoids, who obviously don't realize that he's going to do away with them as well. Aiding the comic duo this time around is surprisingly their old enemy Captain Qwark, reportedly the only person to defeat Nefarious in the past. The story then involves yet another galaxy spanning romp as the team travels planet after planet to finally find and confront Nefarious and stop his mad schemes, while also encountering may characters from their first two games along the way.
Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal still has the gameplay elements of the two prequels, although the spaceship battles from those two are now sadly missing. However, in return there are huge planetary battles in which you and AI controlled Galactic Rangers take on the Noids, from the ground, and from the air, and vid-comics. Yes Vid Comics are a highlight for me. These are fun little mini-stages in which the player takes control of Captain Qwark and battles it out through Dr. Nefarious' forces in classic 2D side-scrolling segments. As for the return of classic elements, arena challenges are back and better than ever, which can really test the platforming skills. Giant Clank makes another all-too brief return, and Clank himself has yet another slew of solo missions, this time aided by a monkey as well as the usual mini-robots. Sadly though, I haven't been able to try the multi-player modes out. But from what I've played the single player game alone is worth the price of admission.
The graphics are essentially the same as in the first two titles, but as the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The classic cartoony look works quite well yet again, especially in the cutscenes, with fluid animation for each character.
The music tracks have never really been that memorable to me, however I do remember enjoying what I heard.
The voice acting is up to par with the rest and is some of the best I have ever heard in a video game. James Arnold Taylor, best known for Tidus in Final Fantasy X, is the voice of Ratchet yet again. David Kaye goes for a third round as the robot Clank. Jim Ward reprises his role of Captain Qwark. Speaking of Quark, Armin Shimmermin(who played Quark in Star Trek DS9) goes for the villain role this time around as the absolutely hilarious Dr. Nefarious. However, out of everyone in the cast, VA legend Micheal Patrick Bell steals the spotlight as the voice of Lawrence, Nefarious's robotic servant. Every scene Lawrence appears is completely entertaining.
Ratchet will once again start off pretty weak with no weapons save his wrench and not much health. As the game goes on he improves and gains more powerful weapons. To keep the challenge high the enemies will receive actual upgrades, which will increase the power of their attacks and increase the number of hits they can take. This keeps the game from getting to boring.
There's tons of extras to unlock, bonus quests to go on, and awards to get which allow bonus points. I've still been playing trying to find everything. Although you get a map that lets you search places you haven't been before, there's nothing to tell you where exactly you should look, so you're going to be exploring the area quite awhile.
FUN FACTOR: 10
At its core, the Ratchet and Clank series has always been about pure fun. The newest title has been no exception. The crazy, difficult, yet addictive platforming and crazy, hectic, yet addictive shootouts still hold themselves up, along with the new elements and challenges to keep everything from getting boring.
BUY, RENT, OR AVOID
This one is a real must buy. I don't suggest waiting a year for the inevitable Greatest Hits release because this game is too much fun to wait. Ratchet and Clank fans and even people who just want a good game , get this game now, because it's worth every cent.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/10/05
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