The dynamic duo return in Ratchet and Clank: Nexus (or Into the Nexus for the USA), the epilogue to the well-received PS3 Future trilogy. As a budget title releasing alongside the launch of the PlayStation 4, you’d be forgiven for expecting Nexus to be a half-hearted effort. Thankfully, it’s back to greatness for the beloved heroes, undoing the pain of recent instalments that strayed too far from the winning formula.
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3 (Reviewed)
Release: (AU) November 6th 2013, (NA) November 12th 2013, (EU) November 22th 2013, (JP) December 12the 2013
The game begins in spectacular fashion, with Ratchet and his robotic sidekick transporting Vendra Prog – one of the galaxy’s most notorious criminals – to a detention centre. It’s no surprise when things go wrong, beginning a planet-hopping adventure full of plot twists, diverse locales and addictive gameplay.
As a return to the classic formula, you can expect some fantastic weapons ready for purchase and all with a host of upgrades to unlock after sufficient use. You can turn foes into snowmen with the winterizer (much like the sheepinator of old), collect parts for the RYNO super weapon and even summon a trans-dimensional beast that sits comfortably on Ratchet’s wrist.
The years away from the limelight seem to have done wonders for the series, as everything here feels old-school yet surprisingly fresh, especially with the solid pacing, great presentation and creative arsenal. There’s real incentive to find everything too, which is exactly what you should do given the game’s short runtime of around five hours on the normal difficulty setting. The recurring theme of gravity has you leap between platforms and float between pads to reach new areas.
Clank gets to fly solo in his own mini-game, which replaces the usual frustrating mini-games used to unlock doors in previous outings. The 2D puzzle solving is never so frequent that the pacing takes a hit, but the frantic chase back to the starting point with vicious creature in tow might lead to some degree of panic in later levels. Ratchet’s gameplay is where the meat of the action lies and it’s nearly always fantastic fun, though it’s a shame to see that one of the five worlds is comprised of arena battles and nothing else. Other worlds give plenty of incentive to explore and collect every bolt around; nothing you pick up is wasted or without purpose, drip-feeding rewards as only the greatest games can.
Short but sweet, creative, varied and beautiful, Ratchet and Clank: Nexus is a great way to tie a bow in the Future saga. It doesn’t offer an epic adventure like Tools of Destruction or A Crack in Time, but it is considerably longer than Quest for Booty, which comes as a generous download with retail copies of the game. Combat is overdone on the final world and the stunted runtime will leave you wanting more, but with high production values and a trilogy available at a low cost, there’s never been a better time to acquaint yourself with the galactic heroes.
*Review originally published on Power Nerd
9.0 – Excellent. Fun, enjoyable, engaging, and memorable but is missing that little something that will make it exceptionable. People will fondly talk about this for generations to come.