Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Review by Ali_X_Rexus
"What a pretty Tyrranhoid... BOOOOOOOM"
The long-running series at the time of writing this review has about eight games out on the market (including Special Agent Clank) and correctly so. IMO, Up Your Arsenal is the epitome of the series, producing an enjoyably fun single-player mode, as well as bringing forth online to the Ratchet and Clank table, and again at the time of writing this review, you can still catch some online matches with your game.
You play Ratchet, a fictional character of a species known as lombaxes, and in recent games, it's told that Ratchet is the only Lombax left. Clank is a robot and Ratchet's whiz side-kick. The couple make a great duo the likes of Banjo-Kazooie--Ratchet is the brawn and Clank is the brain of the team.
The game is an action platformer: you travel from planet to planet and explore the vast lands while shooting enemies down. The amount of shooting and EXPLOSIONS is just breathtaking, making this game one of the best out there with weapon special effects and explosions. The game offers a good twenty weapons, all but one which can be upgraded four times up to level five on your first playthrough.
To really feel the weapons, you will need to use them more, and with more use comes more experience to level up the weapon. Let's take the Omega Shot Cannon for example--this game's version of the shotgun. The weapon starts out with some puny spread shots, but get it to level five, and you'll be dazzled as you witness the amazing special effects and damage the weapon grew up to whip.
There are all sorts of weapons, ranging from an arsenal staple of machine guns and rocket launchers to the more fresh attack bots and stationary turrets. Attack bots are little robots you take out that attack enemies, and as they grow in level, they start gaining numbers and moves, at level five gaining ability of flight. Turrets are just that, stationary turrets you place that machine gun enemies down, and later on, launch rockets at enemies.
Leveling up your weapons gives you a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and their range and breadth gives you multiple ways of decimating your enemies, flipping left to right unleashing havoc as you explore your beautiful surroundings, and yes, the game is BEAUTIFUL.
Ever since the series kicked off, it had beautiful graphics and effects, thanks to Insomniac's talented team. Snow glimmers, grass waves, and Lava boils and you almost feel like you can sniff 'em. Loading times are really minimal compared to the huge levels, and the frame-rate is always brisk no matter how hectic things get.
In addition to the huge weapon arsenal, you have gadgets to utilize as well. There are boots that will have you standing on roofs upside down like spiderman, there are hookshots for platforming acrobatics, and there are puzzle gadgets, basically gadgets that help you crack a puzzle to open a door/etc. These all add up nicely to the adventure.
You can acquire weapons from vendors scattered throughout the huge universe, and you do so by means of bolts. Bolts are the currency in this game, and you can acquire them from boxes/enemies. A nice touch in this title is that you can get discounts if you have a Ratchet and Clank and R and Clank 2 save games on your memory card--rewards the ratchet lover in you.
Other than platforming and HUGE EXPLOSIANS, Ratchet can stuff himself in vehicles, ground and aerial. Their are plenty of side missions in the game where you attack enemy bases and conquer them one sub-mission at a time. The first submission might be to clear a proper landing, the second to protect your base, third go on the offensive, fourth clear turrents with your airplane, etc. Vehicles make a dominant presence in the multi-player part of the game.
The multi-player can be either split-screen or an online fest of Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, and Siege (in which you attempt to destroy the enemy base's core). Up to 8 players can play online at the same time with headsets/keyboards for typing in commands. The multi-player has been worked on quite a while and boosts an already worthy lifespan and great game to lengthier and even greater status.
Other endeavors the game has taken upon itself include a 2-d side-scrolling platformer where you play as Captain Qwark. The game is a bit basic, just jumping and shooting about, but it's an addition that doesn't detract from the overall fun. And speaking of fun, the game has tons of it. That, and FUNNY. The game has plenty of fun and funnies to be had, and it has a cool-ass monkey. If a game is already good, and you want to make it even better, add in a MONKEY, preferably a monkey you can interact with.
During the Clank segments, and yes, Clank has his own segments, you'll be indulging in a more tame game that has a more puzzle focus going on for it. How does the monkey come in all of this? You can use Clank's banana gun to have monkey stand on a switch/etc. In the Clank sections, you can guide robots around and give them commands like attack and enter. Enter is in conjunction with numbered locks. Say a lock is numbered three--you have to guide three robots and have them Enter in order to access the door.
There's not much if anything to add as cons to the game, but one can ask for more; I guess more Clank sections would have been nice, since they're downplayed in this third R&C entry--the previous R&C had more Clank sections.
A nice R&C staple from game one are the Skill Points, IMO a prelude to Achievements/Trophy found in 360/PS3 titles. To obtain a Skill Point, you have to accomplish a certain goal, like for example finish a whole level with just the Omniwrench, or shoot down ten Pterodactyls for example. These add life to the game while keeping tasks fresh.
There are no apparent flaws in the game, but there are apparent big guns--you have a great graphics engine, well-done soundtrack and voice acting, amazing gameplay, and lots of things to do. When you finish the game, you will be able to further upgrade your guns to additional levels on a second playthrough. There are extra customes and secrets to be unlocked, and that in addition to the multi-player mode makes this a must in every platformer/action gamer's collection. Get it, especially for the meager asking price you will find it for today.
+ Lovely visuals/planets
+ FUN and FUNNY
+ Great weapon variation
+ Upgrading your weapons
+ Skill points
+ Great voice acting
+ Clank parts are real fun
+ The Siege missions with their vehicular combat are fun
+ LOTS of secrets
+ Nice vendor system
+ If you have previous R&C saves, you will be nicely rewarded
+ Teh Monkeh
- Needed more Clank parts?
Story - 6
Visuals - 9
Audio - 9
Gameplay - 10
-FUN Factor - 10
-Controls - A
-Difficulty - Average
Lifespan - 10
Overall - 10
Hand-in-hand, Lombax and robot set out on their greatest adventure to date.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/25/08
Game Release: Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (US, 11/03/04)
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