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Ratchet & Clank - Impressions

This looks more like a greatest hits compilation than a quick movie tie-in or remake.

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Platforming, colour, fantasy, laughter! This generation we've longed for this sort of fun and lighthearted game, something for the whole family, especially on PS4. Luckily Sony and Insomniac want to fill this gap with the grand return of Ratchet & Clank, with a double feature film and video game release where the story and sequences are linked. The other day took a look at how the video game part of this enticing equation is shaping up in Madrid.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that this game is a fast and simple game churned out to reinforce the film and launch in time for the premiere, like so many others have done before. Nor is this a remaster or a cheap remake of the first instalment. From what we've been playing, it will be a rounded and fully fledged R&C, with modern mechanics and graphics, all packaged up with all the charisma and appeal you'd expect from a game in 2016.

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What impressed us the most during the two hours we played were the levels themselves, which look beauty and appear to boast variety. Equally we appreciated how well you can move and control the characters. If you play the PS2 original, you'll notice that the difference is almost embarrassing. These new controls are smooth and accurate - faster, more accessible - and the visuals are bright and breathtaking.

Ratchet & Clank

Each character has its own skills and features, and in this modern version they can do things that were not possible in the original, such as levelling up or strafing. So, this will be about jumping (or double-jumping), fighting, escaping, solving simple puzzles, or, as we'll be doing in two activities worth highlighting, enjoying an arsenal of crazy weapons and some great vehicles.

We have seen but a glimpse of what'll be in the final version, but we already love the Pixelizer (a gun that turns enemies, bosses included, into a cloud of pixels) and the Sheepinator (in the last video below). We liked the spacecraft sequences too.

Again, the visual finish of the game is looking really slick, to the point that some in-game scenes might be confused with those taken from the movie. In addition, sequences pulled from the movie, apparently for now, are seamlessly integrated, and it really appears that both products will complement each other, aided by some top-tier voice acting.

Ratchet & ClankRatchet & Clank
James Stevenson, Community Lead at Insomniac.

But what about the content we'll be getting with the game? As we've not yet played the full title, we asked Insomniac Games: "Beyond the structural changes we have some brand new planets, brand new levels that tie in [with the movie]," James Stevenson, community lead, explained.

"And we have some that return but feel very different or have giant and expanded areas like Gaspar, where you get the jetpack, whereas the jetpack wasn't in the original game (it was added with Into the Nexus [Ratchet & Clank: Nexus], and that's something we really liked from that game so we brought it over). We redid all the space battles, the ship flying battles, there are several new bosses, and when you get to play as Clank that's all completely new..."

How does the game work for those who aren't longtime Ratchet & Clank fans then? "Perfect, no problem!" Stevenson tells us. "I wouldn't say we're changing it, I just think it's a really good introductory point. And no, you don't need to play them all, as this is the origins story, as in the movie, there's no crazy subtitle, you can just pick this one up and if you never played before it's a great place to start."

PlayStation 4 users who enjoy this type of games can't make Knack last forever. Everything points to Ratchet & Clank being about to solve that problem on April 20, and perhaps this is the start of something brand new for Insomniac's dynamic duo on the latest PlayStation hardware.

Ratchet & Clank
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