Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart review – so much more than a technical showcase
Behold, a dimension-hopping adventure that also has a heart!
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is the latest exciting title from Sony-owned studio Insomniac Games (who recently served up Spider-Man: Miles Morales), and it’s a stunning technical showcase of what the fledgling PS5 console can do.
When the PS5 launched last year, there was a lot of talk about its technical capabilities, from super-fast loading times to highly detailed graphics and a controller that can vibrate, make noises and modify its shoulder-button triggers like never before.
The only problem was that, except for the short-but-sweet Astro’s Playroom experience that came with the console, there weren’t really any games in existence that could show off what all this new hardware was capable of. Until now, that is.
Out now on PS5, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart feels like it was tailor-made to test out the new console’s features, and the results of this mission are nothing short of spectacular. Truly, this is a game that will make your jaw drop on a regular basis.
For that reason and a few others that we’ll get to in a minute, we’re very happy to say that Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is our RadioTimes.com Game of the Week. Keep reading for our full review!
Much like the previous games in this franchise, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart blends inventive shooting and playful platforming, with gamers encouraged to explore worlds, solve some little puzzles and play around with a wide variety of guns and gadgets.
This time around, however, it’s not those familiar elements that make an immediate impression. Rather, it’s the stunning graphics that are likely to catch your eye first, with Ratchet’s fur looking more realistic than ever before.
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Once you’ve noticed that, you might begin to realise that it’s not just the character models that look great. The locations do, too, with multiple planets and dimensions being brought to life in vivid detail. These are large environments with heaps of detail and stunning vistas, and they really feel lived in - you might be surprised by how many characters can be rendered into the world at once.
The most impressive part of the game is the way in which it represents multiple dimensions. While previous universe-hopping games like Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions needed players to sit through a lengthy loading screen during each transition between worlds, in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart you can instantly move between dimensions as the press of a button.
This neat trick never gets old, and the game finds some fun ways to use it. If a door is locked in one dimension, perhaps you can pop over to a parallel world that doesn’t have that problem. Or you might find yourself needing to hop between dimensions at a moment’s notice, midway through grinding at speed along a rail, which really does feel like magic.
Where to buy Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart -
- Buy Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart from GAME (£69.99)
- Buy Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart from the Sony store (£69.99)
- Buy Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart from GameByte (£64.95)
- Buy Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart from Currys (£59.99)
On a technical level, then, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is nothing short of a marvel. But in terms of its actual minute-to-minute gameplay, we wouldn’t say it’s a perfect experience. In fact, you could argue that the combat feels a little bit uninspired.
The melee combat feels particularly old hat, with Ratchet and Rivet (his parallel universe counterpart) both having one basic ‘whack your enemy with a wrench’ attack. And the basic shooting, especially with the first gun you pick up, feels like it could have come from a game of several years ago.
That being said, some of the fancier weapons you can buy later on do make things a bit more fun. We particularly like a topiary-based weapon that lets you trap your foes within plants, which buys you some time to line up grenades, electrical blasts or whatever else you’re in the mood for.
Even with a few fun weapons in the arsenal, however, it does begin to feel a bit repetitive when you have to dispatch waves of similar enemies over and over again. Sometimes you’ll need to think on your feet to deal with some shielded foes, or you might need to use a dimensional rift to get one up on a particularly tough wave, but even then, you might not feel particularly engrossed or inspired by the combat.
Admirably, though, there are heaps of difficulty options to choose from, and you can change your selection whenever you want. If you do get a bit bored of the combat, then, you can pump up the difficulty to make it more challenge or turn the difficulty down to make it end quicker. Whichever is your preference!
Play our previous Game of the Week picks:
- Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is a holiday worth taking
- Resident Evil Village is delightfully devilish
- Before Your Eyes is an utterly unique experience
Even though the gameplay didn’t particularly wow us (despite going to admirable lengths to find a purpose for those fancy DualSense controller triggers), this is still a game that we’d highly recommend for a variety of reasons – not just its technical achievements.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart does also have some brilliant tricks up its sleeve in terms of the story (despite being fairly short at around 15 hours long). The set-up to the game is quite simple - a stolen ‘Dimensionator’ plunges the multiverse into chaos and puts your old foe Doctor Nefarious on a powerful pedestal - but from there it goes to some wonderful places.
Pretty early on in the game, you’ll meet Rivet and Kit, who are female equivalents of Ratchet and Clank from a very different dimension. And for the rest of the game, you’ll flit between these characters and learn a lot about them. Rivet and Kit are both really engaging, and we’d be very happy if they got their own spin-off at some point.
Hopping between the dimensions and picking up these new characters is fun, but what’s particularly great about the Rift Apart story is that it’s not afraid to go to emotional places, even exploring the mental health of our colourful heroes. Ratchet is anxious about finally meeting another member of his species. Clank is plagued by guilt about the Dimensionator. And Kit has a surprisingly dark tale to tell that we won’t be spoil here.
Suffice it to say, despite not wowing us with its gunplay, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a wonderful showcase of what the PS5 can do. As well as having some great story moments, it’s one of the best games to play if you really want to experience the next generation of gaming.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is out now, exclusively on PS5.
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