Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Is A Magical, Mind-Boggling Adventure

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Is A Magical, Mind-Boggling Adventure
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia
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Remember back to when you first discovered gaming. Whether it was in childhood or as an adult, there’s magic in that moment. Games have the power to transform us, to make us happier, more excitable, more free. But in a time when there are more games being released than ever before, they can also feel overwhelming — to the point where many of us have soured and burned out on games. It takes a very rare game to rekindle the magic, but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is more than up to the task.

If you’re waiting for the killer reason to buy a PS5, this game is it.

From its wild, sci-fi landscapes to its killer soundtrack, great story and dazzling visuals, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an absolute treat, and one that effectively recaptures the magic of discovering video games for the first time.

ratchet and clank opening
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

It’ll take you all the way from Endor-like forest planets through to swashbuckling pirate-themed adventures, space rifts, mega cities, cyberpunk dystopias and beyond, buoyed by a sense of fun and effortlessness rarely seen in games. And if the range of worlds doesn’t entrance you, the technical prowess and detail in the game will.

When Ratchet or Rivet’s fur is wet, it develops a realistic shine. When there’s a breeze, their fur ruffles. Mirrored textures reflect beautifully on Clank’s shiny head, and trees sway and bop as you pass them. The world of the game is alive, and there’s so much to look at.

While the differences between PS4 and ‘next gen’ PS5 content have so far been fairly underwhelming, the change is clear throughout Rift Apart. It’s not just that cities and landscapes look lively — it’s that every square inch of the screen is populated by activity and moves to a noticeable rhythm.

ratchet and clank rift apart review
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

As you explore, spaceships fly overhead in shades of neon. Searchlights cast a brilliant, god ray glow. And below, water puddles reflect all the action, and shadows spread across the landscape. You can hit breakable objects, and they’ll stay there as a reminder of what you’ve done. Your footprints criss-cross the earth. All these details, and every part of the game, prove just why next gen is worth the upgrade.

It’s the perfect, shiny backdrop for the adventures of Ratchet, Rivet, Clank and their companions as they once again attempt to stop the rise of the evil Nefarious. After two decades, it’s easy to think the formula may have gotten stale, but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart makes smart choices to keep the series fresh.

One of them is introducing Rivet, Ratchet’s alternate reality counterpart. While it could easily have been a mistake to replace the much-beloved protagonist of the franchise, Rivet and Ratchet share a bright spotlight in the game. She’s an absolute gem of a character, and one that certainly earns her place in the annals of Ratchet & Clank history.

While time is split equally between the pair, it often feels like Rivet is more the main character than Ratchet, and she does much of the emotional heavy-lifting in the story. But her heart and dedication are incredibly endearing, and it means she’s an essential, well-written part of the game.

She also grounds a lot of the alternate-reality hoops the story jumps through, and gives players a fresh face to relate to.

ratchet and clank rift apart review
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

And there are a lot of alternate reality hoops thrown throughout the game’s main story.

Over 15 hours, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart tells a beautiful, dimension-spanning adventure about two teams lost on the edges of space and time. Still, through the gazes of Ratchet and Rivet, it’s also a beautiful, personal story about growth and overcoming fear.

Between all the running-and-gunning, shooting-and-looting and exploration, there’s plenty of beautiful, memorable moments that make the game worth experiencing.

If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll find familiarity with the game’s arsenal of fun weaponry and space-faring adventures, but there’s no reason why new players can’t hop in and enjoy the game, too. It’s one of the most accessible games in the series so far, and perfect for anyone who loves a good story.

It’s also a game for anyone who enjoys Marvel films — and the game wears its inspiration on its sleeve. In a developer roundtableThor: Ragnarok was cited as a primary inspiration for the game, and that absolutely shines through in the neon style, soundtrack and sci-fi aesthetic of the game. But there’s also other pop culture inspirations, too. Pirates of the Caribbean is a big one in later stages, as is Star Wars and Alien. 

Calling it a love letter to genre films would be reductive, but anyone who enjoys those films (and past games) should get a good kick out of the many references and allusions in the game’s plot.

ratchet and clank rift apart review
Screenshot: Kotaku Australia

There’s plenty to love about the game regardless of whether sci-fi adventures are your bag. There’s heart, humour and moments that shine as you travel between dimensions and save the world once more. Throughout it all, the game is fresh, fun and exciting — and it’s so easy to get lost in its world.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a rare video game that captures the magic of what makes games so special. Beyond the beautiful scenery and mind-boggling technical prowess is a well-told tale about friendship and perseverance that speaks to players on a personal level.

It’s huge and intimate all at once, making it a rare experience that’ll stick with you long after the game is finished.

Comments

  • “If you’re waiting for the killer reason to buy a PS5, this game is it.”
    **Returnal has entered the chat**

    Seriously though, I’m incredibly pumped for this game. The seamless loading of new worlds when going through a rift looks very impressive.

    • The rifts are genuinely so impressive, one of the best new mechanics I’ve seen in a game yet.

    • Returnal doesn’t have quite the ‘wow’ factor that R&C has, I think, which may be why they’ll be able to port it to PC. Not that it’s not a great game.

    • Returnal is really good, but some bugs & poor gameplay mechanics definitely hurt it. Not a system seller in my opinion.

      • I bought my PS5 for Returnal completely loved it and encountered no bugs. But yeah I get everyone’s experience will be different.

        • There’s always an exception, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of gaming community don’t see it as you do.

  • Cant wait, but also looking forward to those who love to hate on PS5 and Sony to drop in try and sink this review like hey did with Returnal *grabs popcorn*

      • nah, sadly just joking, based on what I have seen on virtually every review for both this and Returnal from so many sites. Sigh.

    • Returnal was an excellent idea executed poorly and deserves almost all of the derisiveness thrown its way.

      R&C though looks like the first genuinely next gen title I’ve seen and looking forward to playing it.

    • The console wars don’t exist anymore, and just like anyone who thinks criticism=hater you sound like a damn idiot.

    • Why would anyone shit on Ratchet and Clank? It’s a classic series for a reason, just like Jak & Daxter. As much as I don’t think the PS5 is a great console, it does look great as a game. I’ll just wait a few years until everything’s on sale before I pick anything up.

  • Some great stories about the environment this game was developed in going around too. Huge win for the industry.

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