Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review | A Charming Dose Of Nostalgia

Ratchet Clank Drift Apart Review
The game looks absolutely gorgeous on PS5. (Credit: Insomniac Games)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is releasing on June 11. We were given early access to review the game for you guys, and we've got to say – Insomniac Games did a fantastic job keeping this old gem fresh.

Sony and Microsoft have had countless attempts at trying to create their own mascots to rival Nintendo's. Almost all of them fail. But something about the Ratchet & Clank series stuck. Now, decades after they first entered the scene, the pair are back at it again for the new generation – enter our Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart review.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review – They've Captured The Old Charm

Insomniac's approach to the game was somewhat predictable. They want to bring old gamers back for a seriously nostalgic hit. They're reminding us in these trying times: don't worry, we're still here, look – your old friends Ratchet & Clank are here too. That's exactly what we want: an old warhorse still galloping on decades later. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is sweetly nostalgic, without being sickly.

This is a really crucial point about the game: it's a return to form that stays true to the heritage of Ratchet & Clank, but it doesn't rely on that great history alone –there's real innovation here. So sure, we are fighting Doctor Nefarious, and using crazy weapons to do so, but along the way there are loads of really entertaining mechanics, and surprisingly intense moments of shooter action.

Rathcet and Clank city
The world of Rift Apart is so charming, but it would be nicer if we weren't rushed through it. (Credit: Insomniac Games)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review – A Great But Force-Fed Campaign

Any fair review of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart would acknowledge how fun the campaign is. The player is sent on a wild journey across multiple realities to track down Doctor Nefarious – whose plan is to destroy all life. This isn't Red Dead Redemption or the Last of Us, and that's okay. No one needed a hugely original, or even emotionally impactful story from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. It's entertaining, and it's fun, and you want to see the heroes succeed.

The different realms you travel to are also hugely diverse, and prove more than anything else that this game really is a triple-A worth its price tag. My only gripe with the campaign was how constantly Insomniac pushes you on to the next thing. There's always an imminent threat, and you feel like your hurtling through these worlds. This does a disservice to how pleasant and playful the environment can be. Maybe if they had relaxed on the linear storytelling, and allowed us to roam a bit more freely, then it wouldn't feel quite so much like the player is force-fed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart's story.

Here are some of our other reviews:

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review – It Looks Gorgeous And Charming

Well, this is exactly what we want from a PS5 release, but credit where credit is due – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is one of the most visually inviting games I've ever reviewed. For a game with such a cartoony aesthetic, players might be surprised about just how incredible the textures look. The lighting is fantastically realistic, thanks to the PS5's ray-tracing capability.

More than just looking graphically impressive, it's the charming art style that really pulls you in. I think adults as much as younger players will find themselves falling in love with these worlds. They're sweet and cartoony, but they're backed by these impressively realistic elements in the environment.

It's really the balance of different elements that Insomniac has done so well in the design of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The humor is a great example of this. We know that the game has a wacky tone, and it likes to throw a few gags at the players, but they never stray into cringe territory.

Ratchet Clank
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart hits just the right humor tone, but without overdoing it. (Credit: Insomniac Games)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review – Guns, Guns, Guns

Looking back on its long history of childish adventure, and all those memorable scenes from the different games, you almost forget that Ratchet & Clank is a shooter series. And what a shooter Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is! It's right up there with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare as far as family-friendly shooters go. Sure, there isn't the gore of a more adult shooter, that would ruin it, but the weapons feel so satisfying, and are so wondrously varied.

You can tell they've spent a lot of time on the weapons and on the shooting mechanics. The feedback for the player integrates all of the new PS5 features we want, including the haptic feedback in the controller's vibration and the variably light or heavy trigger pulls. It really is the perfect marriage of a beloved older franchise with newer technology. And all in all, that's the main thing I would want to impress on people who were "umming" and "ahhing" as they read reviews of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

This is as much a showcase for the PS5 as it is for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – and I'm delighted by it.

  • Release date: June 11 2021
  • Developer: Insomniac Games
  • Genre: Shooter & Action Adventure
  • Players: Single Player
  • Time to beat: 15 hours
  • Platform: PS5
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