I realize I've been a huge fan of the Ratchet and Clank series for about 10 years now, so I thought I'd give my thoughts on it.
The games involve Ratchet, a feline alien called a Lombax who goes on Space adventures with his robotic buddy Clank. It's a 3rd person Shooter platformer series. What make this series for me are the extensive amount of creative weapons, the humorous and yet charming dialogue, and the near Pixar level story and presentation of the later games, which amount to making one of my favorite game series of all time. I was introduced to this series back in early 2008 at my local Target, when my parents said I could pick up one game, and I ended up picking up the fourth game, Ratchet Deadlocked (or Gladiator if you live in Europe) and absolutely loving it. What I didn't know at the time, was that Ratchet Deadlocked was vastly different game from the rest of the series, relying more on combat and arena based gameplay than any of the others. (Also with more swearing and being slightly darker). So that same year, I ended getting Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal and not really caring for it. Ratchet and Clank 1 was the next game I got, (oddly enough I remember the choice between this and some Sopranos game, though I think I made the better choice) and I ended up getting stuck on the flooding tunnel on The Black Water City level. I got Ratchet and Clank Going Commando soon after and played the crap out of that one. Though the last level, planet Yeedil really was extremely tough for me at the time, with a cluster mess of protopets and respawing Soldier enemies and with very little checkpoints. So after playing 2, I really grew to appreciate the series more, but I really love 2, for showing me what the series was like without looking at it though the black sheep glasses. I eventually played 1-4 back to back and while I still enjoy all 4, I will admit the first game has aged a bit now a days, with more clunky controls and the fact the weapons can't upgrade until new game plus mode. I also got a PSP a few years later for the non canon game Size Matters, which...yeah it's still mediocre and as is the other non canon PSP Game Secret Agent Clank. And their even worse downgraded PS2 versions....
I remember going to Wal-Mart and playing the Playstation 3 they had set up and the game they had set up was Ratchet and Clank Tools of Destruction. I was so excited for it I ended up putting it on my Christmas list as soon as I got home that evening. The Christmas of 2008, I got a Playstation 3 and Ratchet and Clank Tools Of Destruction which I remember putting it in and not being able to play it right away due to some memory glitch. So I had to go to the Playstation store and download the demo of Wall-E to just delete it to make some invisible room for TOD. Tools of Destruction ended up being probably the game I've played more than any other. The game at the time was the most like an animated movie I had ever played.II was enthralled with the visual and story direction, I had never played a game like this before. Without spoiling anything, the ending is pretty genius and a tad bit depressing. (also that 2007 end credits music) The ending made me eager to play the next game, which was the short as heck downloadable game Quest for Booty. Not a great game, but a fun little adventure nonetheless. The ending of this one made my jaw drop at the time it was so unexpected.
The final of the trilogy, A Crack In Time, was announced and I remember watching the trailers and being more excited for it than any other game at the time. I got it day one, and completed it within 3 days. I was not disappointed in the slightest. This to me, is the series Magnum Opus. Perfect Difficulty balance, customize your own weapons, Engaging Story, Jet Boots, a Ton of Collectibles, Time Travel Puzzles, Space Exploration, More creative weapons, more boss fights, and while not the most conclusive ending in the world, still left me satisfied, and warmed my heart. This game to me is the closest to an animated movie I've ever played. You owe it to yourself to give it a shot.
I didn't play All 4 One, Full Frontal Assault, when they came out, and Into the Nexus is.....ok. When the remake game and movie came out in 2016, I replayed every single game in the series(except the PSP games) to get ready for it.
Here are my short thoughts on each game individually
- Ratchet and Clank (2002) - Still a good game but has some serious early installment weirdness. I like Drek as a villain, and his final boss fight is extremely challenging. Best Soundtrack out of the original PS2 games by far.
- Ratchet and Clank Going Commando - Got me to appreciate the series, Good weapons, Creative levels like the rocket facility and the Sky Storage Unit level. Fun and fast paced Biker and Space combat levels. It does run out of steam just a bit towards the end though. Easiest Final Boss in the series.
- Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal- Best of the PS2 games. Introduces Doctor Nefarious and his Butler Lawrence which are the best villain in the series. It trims the fat from Going Commando, and creates a more streamlined and fast paced game, and brings back a ton of characters. One of the themes of the game is what does it mean to be a real hero. The game feels bigger than the previous 2 games. Doctor Nefarious is a blast to watch. The perfect combination of threatening and hilarious. The last level getting through the Command Center at the end with no checkpoints and not dying is as exhilarating as it is intense.
- Deadlocked- My first game in the series that I still have a soft spot for. It's a generally good game, and is probably the shortest of the original games. Though playing this game first left me confused about that the post credits scene was. I actually like the arena stuff, and the game show aspect is a highlight Do not play the HD version on Playstation 3, it's a terrible port filled with bugs like crashing and freezing. The HD ports of the first 3 games are pretty bad too, with tons of glitches and graphical problems.
- Size Matters - Mediocre watered down version of the rest of the series. bit of a rehash plot of the first game. Not horrible just mediocre.
- Secret Agent Clank - Only beat this once, weird continuity problems. Kind of boring, weird villain. Just a weird and unnecessary game.
- Tools Of Destruction - Awesome game from start to finish, epic story, fun ball puzzles, great soundtrack, ton of fun weapons, has the most underrated villain in the series, and adds a ton of depth to Ratchet and Clank as characters. Also Jello gun.
- Quest For Booty- Short but sweet. Not a lot of replayablity though. The ending was a highlight for me when it came out.
- A Crack In Time - My favorite game in the series and one of my favorite video games of all time. I love the story, I love the weapons, the atmosphere in some levels is incredible, the time travel puzzles are a ton of fun to figure out, I love the attention to detail and Easter eggs hidden in some of the levels, the space exploration is a blast and the game is absolutely hilarious, and can even be pretty emotional too. Seriously this game has some pretty gut wrenching stuff in it. You can tell they thought this would be their last game, so they put as much effort into it to make the series go out with a bang.
- All 4 One - I played this single player, and boy did this game drag. Some of the levels go on for far too long, and the game can be kind of childish at times. Also undoes a plot point that A Crack In Time finished, which I was kind of miffed by. Not a bad game, just kind feels like an afterthought.
- Full Frontal Assault- My least favorite game in the series, the tower defense game aspect doesn't really fit well, a really shoehorned in villain, outdated meme jokes even at the point when this game came out, and most of the game feels like busy work. Probably one the most difficult in the series too.
- Into the Nexus- A short and very ok game with a massive game breaking bug at the end. It plays like a Ratchet and Clank game, that's really all I can say about the game. Much better than the previous two games. I thought the trippy side scrolling Clank sections were fun and the call back museum at the end was really cool. I really liked Vendra and Neftin as villains. Vendra's goth girl design is great, and anything Nika Futterman voices in is always a plus. I thought their own backstory was a good mirror to Ratchet's own personal story.Still the story basically end with nothing of any importance being concluded, so I ask what was the point, as the game ends on a pretty crappy note, and because the series was rebooted, nothing this game brought up will be concluded. If you play this game, make sure you finish everything before the final boss, because if you don't and leave the final boss area and come back, your jet boots will be won't activate anymore, and they are required for the final boss fight.
- Ratchet and Clank Remake 2016 - The first time I played this game, I had a dumb grin on my face the whole time. It's a great game, but it's really short, really easy(even on hard) and offers less freedom than in previous games. I actually manged to platinum this game within 3 weeks after I bought it. The game is gorgeous and oozing with personality. I loved all thecallbacks to the other games in the series The biggest gripe I have with it is is that it uses scenes from the movie and puts them into the game, just slightly abridged. Not all of them just some. I definitely would recommend this as your first game in the series if your willing start this series, if not than play 3 or Tools of Destruction first. Definitely the best game in the series since A Crack in Time. Give it a go if you can.
- The Ratchet and Clank Movie-............It's probably the closest to an accurate video game movie adaptation, but that doesn't mean it's good. Ratchet and Clank barely have enough screen time together, the clever writing of the games is replaced with slapstick humor all throughout, I wasn't a fan of a certain villain they shoehorn in the last act, and a ton of characters are underutilized. It's a shame to because I really liked Elaris's character and design. The movie has a ton of great source material they could work with, instead they go for the most cookie cutter underdog story you've seen a bunch of times over and over again. I liked it when I saw it in theaters, but on subsequent rewatches, it's gotten worse. It's not horrible, just really bland. Angry Birds did a much better job, and that movieof the game didn't have as much of a rich source material to work with as this series does.
I love this series and I hope Insomniac's upcoming Spider Man game does well.