Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time picks up right after the PSN exclusive A Quest for Booty left off
- Impressive visuals, character designs, excellent art style, classic action/platformer hybrid is still a blast to play
- Camera can act a bit quirky, crowded environments hinder the action
The latest game in the Ratchet & Clank series won't disappoint fans of Sony's flagship platforming franchise. In fact, it may gain some new ones.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
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Few gaming franchises have maintained the consistent high quality found in Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank series of action platformers. From Ratchet & Clank's Playstation 2 debut to last year's short, but oh-so sweet downloadable continuation in Quest for Booty, the lombax/robot duo has set some well-earned high standards for other third person action hybrids to follow. A Crack in Time proudly continues this tradition with a slew of innovative new additions to the game's tried and true core formula, all the while keeping the trademark wit and charm that's served the series so well.
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time picks up right after the PSN exclusive A Quest for Booty left off. A kidnapped Clank is being held hostage on a mysterious device known as The Great Clock, while Ratchet, reluctantly teamed up with franchise favourite Captain Qwark and desperately scrambles to rescue his mechanical comrade. A Crack in Time is neatly split into Ratchet's action and platform heavy segments and Clank's brain-bogging puzzle sections, adding a nice level of variety to the core gameplay that neatly breaks up the monotony of blasting away Nefarious's henchmen.
Ratchet's segments retain the same look and feel as previous instalments, including the customisation first introduced by Going Commando. The classic run-and-gun segments have been neatly complimented by some zany new weapons such as the deadly Plasma Striker rifle, perfect for sniping Argonians, or the belch-powered Sonic Eruptor.
One of the most enjoyable additions is undoubtedly Ratchet's Hoverboots - rocket-powered footwear that's absolutely invaluable when it comes to high speed terrain traversal. Aphelion, Ratchet's trust starship also makes a return, but instead of the rail-shooter inspired segments seen in past Future titles, A Crack in Time allows players to zip from planet to planet with sandbox-inspired ease.
Ratchet can also accept numerous side missions in space, from hailing and helping neighbouring ships in need, or blasting away gladiators at the Argonian Battleplex. While these missions aren't necessary, completion of them does offer up a nice assortment of upgrades, weapons and modifications.
Clank takes a more puzzle-oriented approach in his segments, which serves as a nice way to break up the somewhat exhaustive run-and-gun action that accompanies Ratchet. Using the unique technology found on the Great Clock, Clank is able to record holographic copies of himself that can flip switches, attack enemies, and further help the lovable bucket of bolts reach his next goal. It's not long before the puzzles get pretty tricky, and you end up with four or five visages of Clank running, jumping and hovering around, all flipping different switches, opening various doors, and manipulating levers and platforms.
My complaints with Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time are few and far between. On a few platform-heavy occasions, I found the game's camera sliding into somewhat deadly positions, and if you haven't already taken to the action/platform theme offered up from the game's past eight installations, there's not much of a guarantee that A Crack in Time will offer up anything too new or innovative.
Still, even with a bulk of its core gameplay largely unchanged, I still found the new innovations and additions to the Ratchet & Clank formula entirely welcome. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time has just enough new content to justify its existence as a standalone title, and the fact that it looks, sounds, and plays like a dream only helps its case.
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First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
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My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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