Ratchet & Clank PS4

Ratchet & Clank PS4

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Yes, Ratchet & Clank is a game based on a movie based on a game. But don't let that ridiculous sentence dissuade you from playing this fantastic reboot of the 2002 PlayStation 2 classic.
 
Now, I'm a devout PS2 nerd, and that includes a fondness for the 3D platformer genre that dominated much of that era thanks to Ratchet & Clank (and arch-rival series Jak and Daxter), which mixed post-Mario 64 platforming with a sci-fi shooter to deliver ever-increasingly absurd weaponry and a heavy dose of light-hearted humour.
 
The return of Sony's Lombax mechanic and his robot sidekick is pegged to the film, out April 29, but that's irrelevant here, as the game is a complete, focused experience on its own, keeping what was good from the original games — including the latter Ratchet and Clank: Future titles — and making them much prettier and deeper; expect tight control mechanics, whether you're hopping or swinging or riding a hoverboard, and the series' famously imaginative level design. There's also the hilarious, upgradable guns, ranging from the fan-fave Groovitron, which makes your enemies line-dance, to the Pixelizer, which explodes bad guys like they were made in Minecraft.
 
The basic story is recycled, but even those who remember the original plot points will get more of it here, as it's been considerably expanded with new cut-scenes (including some purloined from the film) and a framing device featuring the Zapp Brannigan-esque Captain Quark. Many of the planets you will hop between are the same, too, though there are also some new ones added to the visually upgraded galaxy.
 
It helps that original developer Insomniac is back on board, because they understand what worked the first time and why. However, the game's real weapon isn't its retro appeal, but its lack of self-seriousness in favour of go-for-broke fun, a rarity in our modern age of "mature" grey-and-brown dystopian shooters. (Insomniac Games/Sony)