Review by ErinIsADrunk
"A booty worth grabbing"
Ratchet & Clank Future Quest For Booty (Q4B) is a PlayStation Network release and the next installment into the continuing adventures of the Lombax Ratchet and his quirky robot companion Clank.
Meant to be a bridge between the end of Tools of Destruction and the next Ratchet & Clank release, Q4B is a smaller Ratchet game that condenses the series' formula down into a small 4 hour long episode. This is both a blessing and a curse as it cuts out a lot of the filler found in the retail releases while maintaining the feel and quirkiness of the bigger releases but at the same time is missing someone of the staples of the franchise and will leave fans of the series wanting more then what they get. Fans with miss characters like Captain Quark and Clank, These characters are replaced with other characters met in Tools of Destruction such as Talwyn, who takes the role of sidekick but they never really reach the same level of greatness of their counterparts in past games. That said they are all great characters and do bring a lot to the table.
The games trajectory is very much the same as in Tools of Destruction albeit in an expatiated form. You start off with no fancy weapons (that is after the tutorial) and slowly start amassing a variety of weapons and the enemies become more numerous. All of the primary weapons that you'd expect from a Ratchet game are there although collecting them is somewhat less satisfying then in Tools of Destruction as you don't have to earn the bolts for them and the cool weapon upgrade system from Tools of Destruction is out. This makes collecting and using weapons not as much fun and you don't get a sense of accomplishment from earning them and their absence severely hinders the usefulness of collecting bolts. Once you get the weapons, they are as fun as ever and will provide you will many ways to slaughter the masses of pirate robots.
The gameplay this time around switches it focus, choosing this time to focus more on puzzles and platforming then throwing you into some combat to get the next platforming or puzzle bit. This combination makes for some incredible pacing, which makes the game always feeling interesting and compelling you to continue playing. In addition to creating an incredibly well paced adventure, it allowed Insomniac to really focus on making these encounters and battles with the enemy a lot more well designed and overall are just a lot more fun to be apart of. The only thing that is really disappointing about the combat is that because the game is shorter, enemies don't get noticeably stronger towards the end of the game like in prior Ratchet games, the enemy you fight at your very first big combat battle with be roughly the same strength as the last wave of pirate robots on the last level.
As for the platforming bits in Q4B, they are extensively the same types of platforming challenges you'd find in prior Ratchet games. The biggest change to the platforming comes in the form of a new ability that allows your wrench to cast out energy and help you move objects, this largely feels as if it was added to compensate for not having Clank on your back as it allows you to get to areas you'd normally be able to get to if you had Clank on your back. However, this new ability is also used for some puzzle solving. The actual platforming mechanics are just as solid as in Tools of Destruction and are set up in a way that it is challenging but not too easy or mindlessly repetitive. You'll be having a great time as you jump, launch, climb, grab and traverse the world
The only major problem to be had with the platforming is the camera. The 3D camera in perfectly fine in Q4B, in fact, it would be fair to say that it is an improvement over the camera in Tools of Destruction and works great for both platforming and combat. However, at certain intervals the game chooses to lock the camera in a fixed 2.5D perspective that is sometimes a horrible angle for making the jumps you need to make and leads to unnecessary health lost or in some cases death. The most frustrating part about it is that most of scenarios where it locks the camera are entirely unnecessary, as the 3D camera would work just fine in the situation. Luckily these segments are few and far between and don't really hinder the experience for more then minute.
The puzzles in Q4B are very hit and miss, the game strangles the line between good puzzles that you get quickly because they make sense and handholding puzzles where the game is just telling you what to do and then having you do it. There are a lot of puzzles in the game that feel more like playing Simon Says then actually playing a game and figuring things out for on my own and this is really frustrating when the game already contains a lot less content then a regular retail release of the game. That said, when the game isn't holding your hand through the puzzles they are really fun and feel rewarding when you solve them. Q4B has someone really interesting new puzzles not found in prior games as result of the use of lighting via Heliogrubs, which can be used to light the way, scare of enemies or used injunction with the throwing mechanic to solve puzzles throughout the game. The new mechanic is one of the few fresh concepts in Q4B and is a much welcomed one.
From a presentation point of view, Q4B looks absolutely gorgeous and sounds just as good. While a vast majority of the art assets used is Q4B are taken right from Tools of Destruction, they still look amazing and are even more remarkable given the nature of the product. There are some new assets that were created for the game such as the new environments, which are quite diverse considering the game takes place on a single planet but for the most part a lot of it will look familiar to anyone who played Tools of Destruction. The best part of the presentation though is by far the audio; everything sounds crisp, clean and comes through beautifully on a surround sound system, not to mention the game is fully voiced. Q4B is easily has one of, if not the, best presentation for a downloadable game.
Q4B is an experience that shouldn't be missed of anyone who calls themselves a Ratchet fan and even for people who have never played a Ratchet game before, Q4B represents and excellent start point for newcomers. Some people may be disappointed by the length and the lack of replay value (no secret collectibles or trophies to be found here, matey) but rest assured that throughout those 4 hours lies one of the best Ratchet & Clank experiences to be had. For those worried about the price of $15: stop being a cheapskate, you've probably paid $24 to go see the Dark Knight twice and only gotten 5 hours of entertainment out of it so what's the problem with laying down $15 for 4 fours of questing for some booty?
Reviewer's note: please pay no attention to the score, the only reason it's there is because GameFAQs forces you to assign an arbitrary number to anything you review.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 09/08/08
Game Release: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (US, 08/21/08)
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