Rapid Review: Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

Rapid Review (Under 1000 words or your pizza is free!)

Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction for Playstation 3

Rating: 8,953 out of 10,003

Likey: Pretty Colors, Cute Lombax, Big Guns and Many Weapons Make Big Booms! Rail slides remind me of my roller-blading days in the late 80s. Pirate outfits!

No Likey: Loading the game the first time is a pain in the ass! Repetitive marble-maze puzzles (you’ll see) utilizing the Sixaxis controls. Continue Points when you die can be a bit far back.

I haven’t played the previous Ratchet and Clanks, so if you’re an old hand at the series and some of the shit I say is old news to you, well, too bad.

First off, when I loaded the game into my PS3 it gave me an error reading saying “You require 419 MBs of space to load this game, please remove programs from your hard drive and reboot.” Ummmm, I have like 70 MBs of free space. So I did a search on the internets about this problem and voila, it came up on the PS3 forum. It was an easy but annoying fix. You had to download a 500MBish game Demo or remove one from your drive (I had no demos, so I had to download one).

Apparently due to the various GB levels of PS3 drives, if you had a PS3 over 20 GBs, the game would always read the drive as being full. Somehow the download tricked it back into proper reality. This whole experience reminded me of PC performance issues and why people buy consoles–because you are supposed to pop a game in and play the damn thing without a hitch. But gone are those days I guess. It took about 20 minutes for my demo to download, which was lame too. Oh well. Now I have a Devil May Cry 4 demo out of this.

As to the game, it’s got a lot of elements of Sonic, Super Mario Bros., Star Fox (Old Skool!) and various shooters. The humorous storyline revolves around an inept galactic emperor whose primary objective is eradicating the Lombax species, of which you, playing as the adorable but deadly Ratchet, are the last known survivor.

You’ve also got a bumbling, egotistical, tights-clad (looks like the Tick) boss, Captain Qwark, who’s inane egoism adds to your troubles.

It’s a fast-paced, intuitive shooter with brief (sometimes repetitive and annoying) problem solving skills, a few of which utilize the dumb Sixaxis controls. This is the second game out of two I’ve played (grenades in Uncharted) where I find the Sixaxis unwieldy. Perhaps it will grow on me over time, or PS3 will simply drop its poor attempt at Wii-ness. The learning curve is pretty simple, just make sure you learn to strafe early and often, and manage your glides and jumps. Oh, and smash everything with your wrench to obtain goodies, upgrades, and ammo.

The amount of weapons available in this game is immense. From the mundane—your trusty wrench (smash!), flame throwers, rocket launchers, nuclear hand grenades to the bizarre, like the Hive something or other, where you toss a nano gadget out onto the floor and it creates a “hive” of nano bees that attack multiple opponents over a short time.

Plus, you have offensive gadgets that turns baddies into harmless penguins. Or toss up the Disconator (a disco ball) and your enemies can’t help but start dancing while you blast them away.

The game has a great sense of humor here and interesting enough storyline. The graphics and colors are simply gorgeous. And the designers throw a lot of enemies at you at once. The game dares the PS3 console to glitch and slow down the onscreen activity with all that action, but it never does. It’s a fine showing of what the system can handle.

To sum it up, it’s fast-paced and simple enough (once you figure out which weapons work best on what). If you can’t get through it without a walkthrough, you probably don’t have the brains to successfully download the game (per my first paragraph instructions) in the first place. I didn’t time my gameplay but think I clocked in at about 12 to 14 hours.

Kudos to Insomniac Studios for masking the ultra-violence of this game under a cloak of cute cuddliness that is the main characters, the adorable Ratchet and his better-than-Buck Rogers’-Twiki partner, Clank. Blowing things up never felt so innocuous.

It’s a pretty easy game, which is fine by me. I never had much use for Devil May Cry 3-type difficulty; those kind of games remind me of trying to play golf (I hate and suck at golf).

As a gamer with limited time on my hands, I gotta say, I’m appreciating these shorter games on PS3.

Gee Buck!

PlayStation 3 Store Getting Makeover, Thank God

The PlayStation 3 is a wonderful machine. The game library is getting better all the time, the XMB graphical user interface is really cool, and I even like the little violin swell that plays when you start up the system.

But I hate the PlayStation Store. Not as much as I hate that fucking asshole, Tim Russert, but it’s still pretty bad.

PS3 Store Vs. Tim Russert

Instead of being tightly coupled with the XMB, the store is really just a website that’s viewed with the PS3’s built-in browser. I guess that could be okay, but it’s a crappy website.

When browsing the store, it’s a pain to find the games/demos/videos you’re seeking. The page loads are slow, and you have to click several levels deep, only to find out that the game you’re looking for isn’t listed under Action/Adventure anyway.

Most annoying of all, the back button is broken. Clicking on the Circle button is the standard maneuver for backtracking in the PS3’s menu system. But clicking on that button in the store won’t take you back a page. It exits you from the store, altogether!

The store should be more intuitive and seamlessly integrated with the XMB. And it looks like that’s going to happen. Rumor is, the store is getting overhauled in April.

Apparently, it’s going to look and work more like the SingStore, which allows players of SingStar to buy new songs. I’ve never played SingStar, so all that means nothing to me. All I know is it’s a change. And this country needs change.