Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Review
I've enjoyed the Ratchet & Clanks series since, well, since the game was simply called Ratchet & Clank. I've loved the shooter meets platform gameplay, twisted alien worlds, and great sense of humor, as have a lot of other gamers. Now with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (henceforth referred to as ToD to save you from having to read that enormous title more than once), the long-running series has finally made its next-gen debut. Now that the PS3 has taken the series' proverbial torch from the venerable PS2, does it hold it up high or fumble the handoff and set fire to its foot?
For starters let's take a look at the game's graphics, which are in a word, gorgeous. The games in the series have always featured colorful and imaginative worlds filled with life, but this time out ToD has the power of the PS3 behind its graphics. In HD the worlds of Ratchet & Clank's universe really come alive. You'll see stunning vistas, skies filled with fast-moving ships, and more visual effects and subtle graphical touches than you can count. It's not much of a stretch to say that ToD is the best looking platform game to date on any system.
OK, so it looks real pretty, but does it play pretty? Of course! This is Ratchet & Clank we're talking about here, and once again you get an arsenal of imaginative weapons with which to dispose of hordes of equally imaginative enemies. Some of your old favorites are back as well as some completely new ones. The tornado launcher is one, and believe it or not it's used to launch tornadoes. The cool thing about this weapon is that you can control the motions of the tornado by tilting the Sixaxis controller. As with Ratchet & Clank games before it, using weapons in ToD will build experience with that weapon. When you accumulate enough experience with a weapon it will level-up to a more powerful version. In addition, you can collect special items in the levels that can be traded in for customized upgrades to your weapons. You can choose to increase damage, ammo capacity, range and more. Not many, if any, first-person shooters give you half this many weapons and options. In addition to the weapons the game has a number of gadgets available, my favorite of which is a disco ball that when launched causes nearby enemies to spontaneously break into dance. I love walking into a room full of enemies, launching a disco ball, and then calmly picking them off one by one as they get their boogie on.
The Sixaxis control is used for more than the tornado launcher in ToD. A couple of new mini game style sequences have been added. Ratchet finds himself in skydiving freefall on more than one occasion and the Sixaxis is used to guide his descent, dodging various things that can cause him harm and guiding him to a safe landing spot. There is also a new Clank ability called Robo-Wings that lets Ratchet do some hang gliding-style flying which is also controlled by tilting the Sixaxis. There's also a computer hacking mini game that uses the Sixaxis to guide a metal ball through a maze like with the old wooden toy with the tilting maze or more recently games like Mercury Meltdown. Other mini games from the past such as the rail grinding sequences and arena battles also make an appearance in Ratchet's and Clank's latest outing.