Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Review by Wolpy
"Fantastic Game; the Best of the Series in My Opinion"
I don't normally give games a 10/10. I am quite the perfectionist and in most games I can find some faults that make them less enjoyable. However, in "Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal", I just couldn't. I enjoyed the game so much, I just couldn't find something that bothered me enough to drop its grade from 10.
The Ratchet and clank series has always been know as a good series of games; I would say this is the best one. It is basically an action-adventure RPG, with a little bit of platforming thrown in. So let's begin, shall we?
Story(8/10): You are Ratchet, a Lombax; Clank, your robot friend is hanging on your back, coming off it in cutscenes and such. The game opens with your home planet being attacked by hostile aliens known as Tyhrranoids. As you play along, it is discovered the Tyhrranoids were not working alone and were led by the evil Dr. Nefarious, who was once defeated by the galaxy's super hero, Captain Qwark. Nefarious swore revenge on Qwark, and with the help of his butler Lawrence his body was rebuilt as a robot, causing him to hate all living organisms "Squishies".
As the story goes along you discover more about Nefarious and Qwark, which I am of course not going to ruin for you, but there are some surprises along the way. The story however is not very deep, believable or even important. It focuses mostly on being the reason for what you do and how you progress, as well as being a comedic side to the game. Although it serves these goals fine, it would have been nice to get a deeper, more twisting story. Even so, it is not bad at all.
Gameplay(10/10): This is really the side of the game which shocked me, seeing as I played this before any other game in the series; the gameplay is simply incredible. You basically play through levels in order to gain Bolts, the game's currency in order to buy new weapons or armor as well as ammunition for your current weapons, and eventually you can have up to 20 different weapons; ranging from an electric shotgun, through missile launchers, a sniper rifle and up to a beam of light that transforms enemies into ducks. When you use your weapons, they gain experience and can level up, reaching level 5 thus gaining a new ability as well as a name change. Along with that, you can level up as well what you gain from that is an extra point to your life bar, which can go up to 100 in a normal game and up to 200 in challenge mode (more on that later).
What that means is the difficulty of the game is reasonable, because as the enemies get gradually stronger you get more health, and can get better armour too. Levels can be quite long, but usually you will get a checkpoint as well as a vendor for ammunition or even a new weapon. The bosses are made well, quite difficult but if you study their attacks correctly you can definitely avoid getting hit and eventually be able to defeat them. To top all that, you even have three control schemes to choose from so you could find the one that fits you the best: first person, third person or lock-strafe. Each of those carry a bit different controls, but all are easy to get used to and start blasting a few minutes after sitting down and starting to play.
Really, the one aspect in the gameplay I don't like is something called "Qwark Video-Comics", sidescrolling 2D platformer minigames that describe Qwark's adventures before this game. I find them annoying really, and I would have enjoyed an option to skip them. Still, I don't think this is a reason good enough to lower the grade in this category, because there aren't much of them and the rest of the gameplay is flawless in my opinion.
Graphics(10/10): For a Playstation 2 game, the graphics in R&C:UYA are great. The developers didn't spend a lot of time making realistic, super detailed environments. Instead, the game has vibrant, slightly cartoonish graphical style which I find fitting for the atmosphere of the game. Levels are big and look great, definitely like other planets (which they are), with live colors and enough detail to satisfy me. Enemies as well have a slightly cartoonish appearance, although I find them a tad more serious, perhaps because they are mostly hostile alien creatures or robotic soldiers. I love this style of graphics, and it really does work here.
Sound(9/10): Missiles exploding, Tyhrranoids wailing, robots squeaking, and along with all of that enjoyable background music. Sound is made well in terms of effects and such, weaponry sounds fantastic and just as I'd imagine it. The only thing bothering me is sometimes the music can get to you, and in a few cases I shut it off because it interfered with my concentration. On most levels though, it is well made and fitting, just bothering sometimes.
Replayability(9/10): The game is not extremely long, but not too short either. However, there is one thing that makes this game quite really long.
When you eventually finish the final boss off, you actually get to restart the game in "challenge mode" (told you I'd get to it eventually). What this means is you play the game again, with tougher enemies. Doesn't sound too exciting, right? Well, there are some benefits. You keep all your weapons and armor the same way they are. In addition, any weapon already upgraded to level 5 can now be purchased as a "Mega Version", level 6. That level 6 weapon can be upgraded up to level 8 where it becomes the ultimate version of itself, an Omega Weapon.
With any enemy you kill in challenge mode you get a multiplier to your bolt count (x2, x3 and so on) up to x20, where each time you pick up a bolt you will gain 20 times its worth. The catch is if you get hit you lose your multiplier. You can finish the game over and over again, in challenge modes, to get all weapons fully upgraded and such.
Along with challenge mode, you get some things to look for. Titanium bolts are rare items, 40 of which are in the game, and you can buy skins for you to "wear" with them. There are also the trophies, some of which can be found on certain levels while some are received by doing certain things. Along with these there are skill points, 30 achievements to get in the entire game, ranging from destroying all scenery in a level to hitting a monkey with your wrench (your melee weapon).
What this all means is you have a lot to do in the game, and quite a lot to find. That, while being fun can get a little bit tedious. However there is no denying there is a lot to do in the game.
Final thoughts: I love this game. I have a lot of fun with it, it's cheery, it has a large range of things to do (and things to shoot) and its versatility along with clever simplicity are what makes this rare game, a 10/10 for me.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/11/10
Game Release: Ratchet & Clank 3 (EU, 11/12/04)
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