The First Few Hours: Ratchet and Clank (ps4)

[Note:  I will be on vacation next week, but unlike last week this is a for-real vacation, in a warm and sunny climate with beach access and a full Kindle and nothing on my to-do list.]

After dozens and dozens of hours in The Division‘s freezing wasteland of post-apocalyptic NYC, and a few more hours in the sci-fi nonsense of Quantum Break, I can’t help but note how refreshing it is to be playing the new Ratchet and Clank, a game where there’s more color in one scene than there is in both of those other games combined.

I have a very soft spot for action platformers, is the thing.  Even in the absence of a Nintendo-filled childhood, I am an avid fan of the genre.  Give me your Crash Bandicoot, your Rayman (2), even your Voodoo Vince.  There is a lack of self-seriousness in these games that is so goddamned refreshing; yes, you might have to kill some monsters here and there, but it’s never upsetting in the way that shooting is.  In R&C, I can fire up a disco ball that gets all my enemies dancing, and then I can blast them with my Pixelator gun, turning them all into dozens of 8-bit sprites that brilliantly explode into hundreds of nuts and bolts upon a solid whack of Ratchet’s wrench.  It is endlessly satisfying.

I’m not sure I’ve ever played an R&C game before, to be honest.  I think there might’ve been a PS3 title that I rented for a few hours, but I might be confusing that with a Jak and Daxter game:  in any event, I am given to understand that this new R&C game is a complete re-building/re-booting of the original, much in the same way that Oddworld rebuilt Abe’s Oddysee into New & Tasty.  As such, I suppose I can see that there are certain elements of the game’s design that might feel a bit antiquated, but I can forgive those sorts of things very easily; beyond the game’s ridiculous good looks (I’ve heard R&C games feel like “playing a Pixar movie”, and even after only a few hours I totally get it), it’s just a joy to play.  And it does feel very much like “play”; it does not feel like “work”.  Even going back to earlier areas to find hidden stuff with newly-acquired gadgetry doesn’t feel like grinding; I’m just happy to be out and about.

 

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