Sony’s favorite partnership property is back. No more spin offs or side games either this time in Insomniac Games’ latest offering; this time they mean business, with Ratchet & Clank: Nexus. With this, the 12th game overall of the series, and the final Ratchet & Clank of this console generation, is Nexus the sign-off the fans deserve?
Ratchet & Clank: Nexus was billed as a shorter title by Insomniac, to concentrate on getting fans of the series back straight into the action they fell in love with in the first place. It starts spectacularly well, with the tutorial sections seamlessly integrated into the first couple of rooms, and then very subtly placed as you progress through the game. The visuals are on par with previous titles in the series, with the additional Clank 2D platform side missions and the cut scenes particularly pleasing on the eyes.
The plot, part tragedy, part sci-fi adventure, part Ghostbusters (trust me on this), keeps the adventure ticking along nicely. And although predictable at times, Ratchet & Clank never fails with its charm and comic timing. In keeping with its promises, Nexus is played out in the typical third person view, against differently detailed backdrops and terrains, such as industrial, plant life, and even a museum, which also serves in bringing the quadrilogy back full circle.
The lovable last remaining Lombax and his backpack-robot sidekick have a wealth of weapons and gadgets that are obtainable throughout the adventure, as such is the tradition of the series. Blasters, rocket launchers, laser rifles, and, hilariously, a freeze ray that plays Christmas jingles whilst turning your enemies into snowmen. The variety of weapons and the fact that they are constantly upgradable and improve literally just by using them is its own reward, plus leaves you wanting to sample each and every one of them. The combat is fast and fluid, the latter Nexus copes with surprisingly well, as in the latter stages there are a lot of enemies on screen at once, and Ratchet’s upgraded weapons grow more and more explosive and outlandish with each enhancement.
So, does Nexus deliver on its promises? Fast fluid action? Check. Over the top weapons that get more bad-ass with every upgrade? Check. As charming as ever? Check. There are however a couple of gripes that make Nexus seem more of a chore than it should have been.
Of the five planet locations in the game, two of them appear to have been injected just to draw out the completion time of what is only a 10 hour campaign anyway.
One of said planets is a tournament which arguably would be better served as an additional mode aside from the campaign. The other I’ve decided to call Planet Fetch-Quest, which sadly only serves a bare minimum to the plot, but the repetitive efforts involved almost make it redundant.
But these gripes also serve as successes, albeit to the right audience. One man’s chore is a collector’s dream. Yes, if it’s one thing Nexus is not short of, it’s trophy-based collecting. Almost everything dishes out currency bolts, but there are also secret gold bolts to find, every weapon to purchase and upgrade, in order to 100% every stage, effectively catering for everyone. Not only that, once the campaign is complete, a new Challenge Mode appears, which is the campaign all over again (stay with me) but with all previously collected weapons, levels and upgrades, and a bolt multiplier, particularly important if working towards a certain trophy (or 10). Great for fans of the series, but might not be the case if his is your first time out. Better to start with the excellent Tools of Destruction if that’s the case.
So I ask again: So, does Nexus deliver on its promises? Yes, it certainly does. This is a game made for the fans; it rounds off the ‘Future’ quadrilogy adequately, and comes at half the price of a normal title. Insomniac knows their target audience, and if that’s you, you’re in for a treat.