Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Review

As another year draws to a close, leaves fall from trees, snow begins to fall, and a new Ratchet & Clank game is released. And like other yearend, time-honored traditions, this one is a classic that gets better every year. This year we have Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal and it manages to top last year’s excellent Going Commando. The core gameplay that has made the series such a hit with gamers is still there, but new modes and, of course, new weapons are sure to please Ratchet & Clank fans and those new to the series alike.

This time out the robotic Clank has done quite well for himself in becoming a TV star, much to the chagrin of Ratchet who has a bit part as a butler in Clank’s Agent Clank series. So when the pair catches a newscast about a planet under siege, Ratchet jumps at the chance to prove himself with some real-life heroics. Clank has reservations, but he too answers the call of duty to help end the invasion. It turns out this invasion is only the beginning of a much greater plot, and together our heroic duo must end the plans of the evil Dr. Nefarious. The bad doctor’s aim is no less than to turn all life in the universe into robots. Ratchet & Clank prove that resistance is far from futile and together with the galactic hero Captain Qwark they set off to end the Nefarious threat.

Once again you can visit some fantastic looking planets.

You may be worried that with the focus on the new multiplayer side of the game that the single player game has gone neglected. Well rest assured that this is certainly not the case as Up Your Arsenal’s single player game is just as good as those in the prior two games in the series. The basic flow remains the same – you travel from one imaginative planet to the next as you try to save the galaxy from Nefarious’ plans. Most of the space travel is done through cutscenes, but occasionally you’ll be given the chance to do some fighting in a space battle. It’s a testament to the game’s quality that even little side games like this are a lot of fun.

Like all Ratchet & Clank games, Up Your Arsenal is a platormer filled with the jumps, puzzles, and, well, platforms you’d expect to find in these types of games. These elements of the game are well-executed, giving you tight and responsive control free of the issues that plague so many platform games. Plus Ratchet has a ton of moves – ladder climbing, wall-hopping, and the ever-popular Clank assisted helicopter glide to name a few. Up Your Arsenal even goes old school at times by giving you the chance to play as Captain Qwark in some video comic, or vid-comic, adventures that represent 2D platformers of old. It’s probably not too much of a surprise that these 2D sequences are well done and could easily stand up against the best 2D platform side-scrollers back in the day. There are plenty of other sequences thrown in for variety such as turret gunning, dogfighting, and even a stint on a sadistic game show. All of this great gameplay comes wrapped in the trademark Ratchet & Clank humor. The humor is not just for kids here – there are plenty of cultural references and satire and witty situations to keep adults entertained as well, and you’ll have to pay close attention to catch all of the jokes. Up Your Arsenal is the rare platform game that really does appeal to all ages.