We’ve seen many times that animated films have always been a step ahead of video games in terms of graphic quality. This is because in cinema we only render what we want the viewer to see (it stays nice and finished). While video games, by giving us freedom of movement, have always started from this constraint. Today, in mid-2021, we are seeing that line blur. It disappears when watching titles that have a graphic quality that is in no way inferior to the best animation productions. Today we speak of a graphic and technical stronghold. Today we are going to talk about the new Insomniac games for Playstation 5. Ratchet & Clank: A Separate Dimension.
We will first see how a Lombax, quite reminiscent of Ratchet, carries out a mission in a megacity. Obviously he seems to be some kind of spy or something. We don’t know anything else at the moment.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the universe, Ratchet finds himself in a mega-parade celebrating his grand triumphs against quite a few villains; while thinking he hasn’t done anything heroic in a long time. Things go wrong when galactic mercenaries appear who want to hunt us down, but that doesn’t stop the plans of his inseparable friend Clank, who gives him a great gift. Nothing short of a “Dimensionador”, a device capable of changing the inhabited dimension so that our protagonist can finally meet other Lombax. Because that seems to be his biggest wish.
Things get complicated with the premature arrival of our favorite clumsy villain, Doctor Nefarious. Which steals the Sizer and causes a real dimensional apocalypse. The result is our protagonists’ journey to another dimension where, to everyone’s surprise, Doctor Nefarious is the Supreme Emperor. A robotic and twisted deity.
To make matters worse, we lose our friend Clank, who falls into the hands of the Lombax that we saw at the beginning, who is called Rivet and who will play along. Here begins our adventure whose goal is nothing other than to restore the Sizer to put an end to the disaster while looking for other Lombax.
To give this game the famous label, we could say that it’s a shooter for all audiences, with a little touch of basic platforms. Where the most important thing is the diverse arsenal of weapons, as well as the gadgets that help us move around the different planets.
And it is that the guns are a real stunner. They’ll be close to twenty and are so different we couldn’t categorize them. Here we have from a blade launcher, a plasma ball gun, a ray gun… to a weapon that ejects mushrooms fighting on our side, or another that freezes our enemies, or one that electrocutes them.. . or what ever . A real barbarism. In addition, each with its perfectly dosed feedback, thanks to the advantages of DualSense, sound and animations perfect in the impact and consequence suffered by each enemy.
Saying that the absolute protagonists are the weapons is nothing new in the saga and they repeat the formula once more. We’ll start with one and have to buy the rest in one fell swoop. But things don’t end there, as we can upgrade them in exchange for some collectible crystals. Achieving this when we max it out bears little resemblance to what we had to begin with, they are authentic weapons of destruction and joy, even the most seedy of them. In addition, due to the shortage of ammunition, as well as the desire to improve them all (which is quite affordable), the variety of uses will be improved. Turning the enemy into ice or even a hedge and then burning them or breaking them into a thousand pieces… it’s a great experience.
When I talk about shooters, don’t imagine reporting or anything semi-complicated. It is based on aiming and shooting while we dodge enemy attacks and fight the bravest in close combat with wrench or hammer in hand. The mix of shooting, dodging and hitting is great and I warn you don’t play on normal difficulty as the game is very simple. If you choose a higher level of difficulty, you will see that the fight is much more rewarding.
Platforming, on the other hand, can be at its weakest, but without ever being bad. I mean, it seems easy to me (and you can’t help that), it doesn’t take too much risk and it doesn’t hide the collectibles hard. Go for an accessibility that might sometimes go against you. Especially for the most demanding players. But I don’t think it’s really a problem, as mobility in itself is hyper-pleasant. And once again, it’s your excellent feedback that’s to blame. Jump, slide, sprint and above all… the booster. A new mechanic that mimics wearing skates, in which we have to press L2 repeatedly to increase speed, and which is a real pleasure to kick the different planets from one end to the other.
Playing this game, I often found myself gaping at its technical and artistic merits. The ones I talked about in the intro. But it is not only a wildness in its images, but it corresponds in its impeccable sound design, yes with the 3D that has been talked about so much and above all with a DualSense that makes us like every time it is done well never before dives into the game. Combining these three points in such a brilliant way makes Ratchet and his sidekick Clank a truly exceptional product.
Each planet will be unique in its art and design. Always considering a very good level design in different types of semi-open worlds. With clearly defined main objectives, collectibles and sometimes side missions. But don’t worry, they are few and of quality. Give collectibles as a reward. That they are not the typical ones that are useless, but this time they will reveal us lore or allow us to change the skin of many elements (coins, tools, even image filters), but without a doubt the most rewarding thing is to get the armor. Not just for the aesthetics, which is super cool and they’re super customizable. But also because they offer us passive benefits such as: Such as improving melee attack or taking less damage from some enemies.
It’s a game that invites you to be a completer because of its design. The map itself will help us find all the collectibles, saving us a heavy exploration but also not giving us the item. You know where it is, but sometimes you have to think about how to get it.
Another part that I liked are the mini-games or puzzles. Rather the former. We’re going to have two guys, one from Clank that looks like some kind of lemmings with power orbs. The other is performed by Glitch, a cybernetic spider monkey who has to disinfect various viruses. For this we will have to burst all the parasites with a cannon shot and a shrapnel and climb bases that will unlock the bugs that we must destroy. Simple, direct, and perhaps one of the most challenging we’ll find. They’re reliable, they’re not lazy, and this well-managed change in mechanics adds variety to the game.
On the other hand, the boss fights are very interesting. It is true that they lack too much logic and are based on shooting them with everything we have. But even in more advanced difficulties, they will present a considerable challenge, forcing us to measure attack and dodge times. We will find unique fights against big bosses and quite a few against mid-bosses as well. In any case, they will be longer and more entertaining fights than the ones we have against “normal” enemies, which also have a very good variety. From alien snot to pissed off crustaceans, robot pirates or mercenaries I don’t even know what the hell they are.
I would also like to highlight a concern that has been completely addressed. Often controlling two protagonists results in a certain laziness as they make undivided progress. Need to improve each other’s skills independently. Well that doesn’t happen here as the buffs applied to Ratchet become active in Rivet and vice versa. Quite a relief.
If I focus a bit more on her story, I think it’s built very well. With the humor so typical of Insomniac. Which is less explicit this time, more subtle, and better in my humble opinion. Of course leaving a gap for feelings that slowly develop to the rhythm of the story and have to lay the foundations for something beautiful like friendship, mistrust and even loneliness.
Finally, I might have something to say about the famous dimensional rifts. The ones that we have seen in the presentation of PlayStation 5 and are amazed by their immediacy. Well, yes they are, but they’re not that bad. That said, changing the world in a “pee pas” is impressive, and everything we’ve seen in their presentations is pretty true… but they’re just as impressive as the lack of loading screens, or it’s impressive, the console Turn on and play in seconds. I think the presentation had more to it than what you really appreciate when you enjoy the game. What is said remains.
As you can see there is little more I can say other than that I loved it. My expectations were not low and were more than met. We have one of the first great PlayStation 5 titles ahead of us and to be honest they make me very positive about the future of the industry. The level being achieved in the industry is mind-blowing and Ratchet & Clank: A Separate Dimension suggests it is a very clear must-read for anyone with a PlayStaiton 5 at home. An authentic technical and artistic ferocity that will not let you down.