Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty
Review by Crimian
"Argh! Generic Review Title!"
Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction was released on October 23, 2007, and brought the Ratchet and Clank series into the new generation of gaming. However, the story ended on a cliffhanger, leaving fans wanting wanting to know what was going to happen next. Insomniac released Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty to serve as a short bridge between Tools of Destruction and the next game in the Future series. Thankfully, the series' trademark humor and quality remain intact.
Upon loading Quest for Booty for the first time, I was treated to a song that was vaguely reminiscent of the main theme from Pirates of the Caribbean. The other tracks likewise evoke a feeling of being on a swashbuckling adventure; the music always fits the situation, and was great throughout the experience.
The voice acting in Quest for Booty, as in other games in the series, is top notch and full of humor and personality. Pirates will spout humorous one-liners during combat, such as, Argh! Generic pirate line! At various points, you are given a decision on how to answer a question posed to you; many of these decisions will affect the lines the NPCs will speak. Likewise, completing tasks will update the NPC commentaries. All of these asides provide humorous moments that are akin to those found in the previous games.
Unfortunately, not all is well in the sound department. In an uncharacteristic quality oversight, Insomniac seems to have overlooked a peculiar audio glitch that can occur in the animated segments between areas: the audio will sometimes lag, so the narration is cut off a few seconds before it should actually end. The same two segments had this problem during both of my runs through Quest for Booty. I have come across others who also ran into this glitch. It is a disappointing oversight, but is more of an annoyance than anything else. I'd advise playing with subtitles turned on, in case you come across this glitch.
Quest for Booty looks almost exactly like Tools of Destruction, which is definitely a good thing: the Ratchet and Clank series' art style put together with updated graphics made ToD feel as if I was in control of a Pixar movie. Not only is this graphical level met in Quest for Booty, it is exceeded with the inclusion of superior lighting effects. These are most apparent in the cave areas, where little creatures called Heliogrubs will light up the area around them in a green glow that looks spectacular with HDMI cables.
No matter how frantic a battle became, I never experienced any slowdown. I believe this is quite a feat when there are sections with cannons firing, pirates attacking with guns, swords, and disembodied heads, not to mention the firepower Ratchet is using. Beside these points, the difficulty screen and between-area animations use a cartoon style that provides added personality that 3D models simply wouldn't have.
Quest for Booty has a number of departures for the series. First of all, there are no weapons vendors. The bolts you collect really only serve to further the story at certain points, other than an optional use towards the end of the game. The positive side of this subtraction is that it is no longer necessary to grind for bolts to buy more weapons and ammo: weapons are returned to Ratchet during the course of the game, and most battles have ammo crates that will respawn endlessly. There are also no skill points, gold (or other specially colored) bolts, and no challenge mode. This limits the replay value to an extent, but since this is also the first game in the series that allows you to miss anything permanently, the players are almost forced to replay the game if they want to collect all of the weapon mods.
Speaking of weapon mods, Quest for Booty seems to have taken a step backwards in the weapons department. At seven weapons total, all of which appeared in Tools of Destruction, this entry has the smallest collection of weapons in the entire series. The weapons themselves can only increase in level twice, and there is only one mod per weapon. The only game in the series that has less weapon evolution is the first. I say seems to have taken a step back, though, because combat is not the focus of this game, platforming is.
The platforming sections in Quest for Booty are where it excels, which surprised me quite a bit since the last game where Clank was not on Ratchet's back, Ratchet: Deadlocked, had truly atrocious platforming. This time, Insomniac managed to keep the platforming fun and fluid, even without the ability to reposition yourself while falling. When coupled with the new capabilities of the Omniwrench, such as picking up and throwing flaming rocks and heliogrubs, or using an energy tether to move objects around, the platforming becomes the best in the series.
Unfortunately, as the game progresses, platforming begins to take a back seat to combat, culminating in the last area missing all but the most miniscule amounts of platforming. Even on hard, the combat was much too easy, and the rehashing of weapons from ToD took out the fun of experimenting with the weapons. The game is also quite short, being two to four hours long for many. At $15, one fourth of the full price of a PS3 game, though, it roughly equals one fourth the length of ToD.
The story of Quest for Booty starts off with Ratchet trying to find Clank, who was kidnapped by mysterious beings called the Zoni at the end of ToD. Ratchet goes to search for Captain Darkwater, thinking that he may have information that will lead to the Zoni. In his search, he uncovers a curse that brings many dead pirate robots back to life, and he has to battle them in order to make it right. Little progress is made by the conclusion of Quest for Booty, other than a slightly startling revelation that does little more than increase anticipation for the next full installment of the Future subseries. The content that is present, however, is permeated with the same humor found the other games of the Ratchet and Clank series, and is entertaining throughout.
Sound: 8/10 The music and voice acting are very well done, but certain scenes have lag in the audio.
Graphics: 10/10 The Pixar-like graphics of ToD are taken to the next level with new lighting effects.
Gameplay: 8/10 The platforming is the best in the series, but combat leaves much to be desired because of the absence of new weapons and lack of difficulty at the hardest setting.
Story: 7/10 The story is humorous and entertaining, but does little to further the Future series.
Overall: 8/10 A thoroughly enjoyable, if short, new installment in the series.
Buy, Rent, Borrow, or Avoid
Unless you live in one of the regions where Quest for Booty will be released in disc form, your only option will be between buying or avoiding. If you are already a fan of the Ratchet and Clank series, I would recommend spending the money if only to experience the new wrench abilities that will, hopefully, be included in the next full game. If you aren't a fan, it might be better to spend your $15 on something else. For me, though, it was definitely a buy.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/28/08
Game Release: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (US, 08/21/08)
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