Insomniac’s dynamic-duo return for their third installment in what could be possibly the best PS2 game to date.
We find Ratchet and Clank enjoying their newfound popularity when evil strikes once again in the form of the evil robot mastermind Dr. Nefarious. Our heroes are re-recruited by the Galactic Rangers to help combat the schemes of the mad doctor, many of which are?um, nefarious. With tons of recurring characters, fantastic graphics, perfect sound and a highly amusing storyline, Sony and Insomniac have put together the best third-person/platfomer to date.
There is only one word to describe it for RaC: UYA and that word is: flawless. Never before in this type of game have I felt so in tune with my controller From a camera that doesn’t stick to walls (i.e. stops moving when it encounters a wall) to the pinpoint jumping, the title gives you a zen like feeling of happiness when you play it.
The only true issue with the game play is when using the strafe-lock-on mode for a weapon. It has a truly annoying habit of not locking on to the baddie you’re aiming for. The controls have been tweaked to allow you to play the game in true first person view, traditional third-person or even a perma-strafe, third person mode, all of which handle beautifully.
They have also taken the “hit-point” system from the second game and made some minor tweaks to it. All of the weapons from previous games are available if you have saved games on your memory card. New additions include a weapon that allows you to shoot an adversary and have that goon attack the ones around it. All the weapons level up as well and get increasingly more fun to use at each stage. All around there is enough to keep you interested just in the weapons for what seems like forever.
Graphically speaking there hasn’t been a huge upgrade, but with how good RaC: Going Commando looked; there really wasn’t any reason to do so. The most notable new animations are in the backgrounds. The worlds you walk around in look like living planets/cities. Also there are new graphics for some old weapons and a ton of stuff in the background to destroy. Do yourself a favor: If you want amusing, level up your Agents of Doom (Yes! They brought them back!) and watch and listen as they cause havoc all over your screen. There is nothing quite like sending cute, harmless looking robots after monsters and hearing them giggle maniacally the entire time.
Also as you level your weapons up, they earn new animations. For example: Your basic Lvl. 1 blaster looks like your basic Star Wars/Star Trek blaster rifle. Lvl. 2 adds in a faster fire rate and a new cool lighting animation that does damage to the surrounding mobs. The weapons change color and have new affects/effects at each and every level. And the game just plain looks pretty. No clipping issues or frame loss at any point in this game, even when there are explosions, monsters, Ratchet and a heavy firing rate from multiple weapons going on. You just don’t get that in games anymore.
Sound is another area of near perfection in the yummy goodness that is Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. From the noises your weapons make, to the near constant chatter from your robot companions, to the in game commercials it is all good, appropriate and over-the-top. Very few games can make you laugh the way this game can and that’s a good thing. With so many serious games out at the moment, this game and it’s brilliantly scripted storyline will keep you in chuckles for day’s afterwards and most of it you will hear. A mad robot doctor who goes into fits of coughing everytime he lets out the classic muhahahaha is just something that had to be heard to come across right.
There are few games out there that can competently make fun of themselves and other big titles and pull it off. This happens to be one of them. From Halo to Britney Spears to Final Fantasy X-2, nobody seems to be safe from Insomniac and we love them for it. The return of arena combat, an extensive sewer system and more make this the game of the year. Nobody else will see that, but there you have it.
One thing I haven’t mentioned much about is the online multi-player aspect of RaC: UYA and I saved the best for last. There is nothing quite like being handed your rump on a silver platter by a twelve-year old, but you Halo 2 people already know what I’m talking about. With a ton of maps, five different types of combat and vehicular robot-slaughter, it’s not quite Half-Life: Team Fortress Classic, but nothing really is. As far as it goes though, it’s the best controlling and best looking online game for the PS2. It supports up to eight players over a broadband line (still waiting for the thirty-two like Halo 2 has but oh we?Hey! Even Halo 2 couldn’t do thirty-two, so eight for the PS2 is pretty good) and though I do not have access to a multi-tap at the moment, I could get my friend and I both into a deathmatch. Do yourself a favor though, complete the game before you go online, because you really need to learn how to avoid the grenade launcher blasts or you will get owned.
No other title that has come out or is coming out this year for any system will match the good-natured fun Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal gives you. For that you will have to wait for Conker’s Bad Fur Day: Live and Reloaded on the Xbox next year. As far as the Playstation 2 is concerned, this is as good as it gets, for any genre. Fans of the first two will adore it and new players will become fans instantaneously. Do yourself a favor, buy this game immediately, you won’t regret it.