Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, preview of the new gameplay

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, preview of the new gameplay

Ratchet & Clank

For lovers of 3D action platformers, the Ratchet & Clank saga has always been an important reference point; of course, there was perhaps a bit of discontinuity between one sequel and another but when in 2016 Insomniac Games proposed a remake of the series in great shape, there was no doubt that the most famous Lombax in the galaxy and his inseparable metallic companion were destined and regain their place among the PlayStation mascots. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, the adventure released on 11 June exclusively on PlayStation 5, strongly reaffirms the place of this saga in the ecosystem of PlayStation exclusives, covering in these first months of life from the fifth iteration of Sony consoles a very important role. After having had a taste during the State of Play in April, Sony invited us to discover in more detail Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart by showing us a substantial section of gameplay and giving us the opportunity to interact with the game's developers to understand what to expect from what will be the next awaited PS5 exclusive.

Gameplay and cinematics, one thing

During the presentation of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, we were able to witness two different portions of the game: the beginning of the adventure with Ratchet and a more advanced stage with Rivet. The game opens with the scene already seen in the latest trailer for Rift Apart: a huge parade celebrated in honor of Ratchet and Clank, now famous heroes, where the evil Nefarius steals the Dimensioner, a gadget that Clank has repaired to allow the his furry friend to look for his family in other dimensions. The parade scene serves as a tutorial of the game where all the most basic actions are explained: the use of the Omnikey (the giant wrench that Ratchet always carries with him and which allows him to carry out melee attacks, throw from distance and one area hit with leap), jumps, slides on the tracks with Grindboots, and the use of weapons. What is immediately striking about this portion of the game is the total absence of gaps between cutscenes and gameplay moments: not an uncertainty, not a loading, just a slight and imperceptible adjustment of the camera behind the protagonist.

Ratchet escapes an enemy attack during the parade in Megalopolis The fluidity between cinematics and interactive segments is impressive and, we assure you, he will leave even the veterans of the series speechless. Not surprisingly, Insomniac Games wanted to impress from the very first moments of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. It will probably be a constant throughout the adventure, but the very initial scenario is a riot of elements on the screen: there are the protagonists, created and animated with an impressive detail, the crowd, numerous other characters, some enemies, confetti and a carnival of lights and particle effects. Seeing all this during a movie may not actually strike but here, in a moment, the camera changes angle and from a cinematic plane moves behind the protagonist's shoulders and everything continues to move and vibrate on the screen without losing even half a frame. br>

A feast of sounds

Rivet and Clank explore Junktown on Torren IV However, the richness of the scenarios shakes not only the sight but also the hearing, and to tell us numerous background about the work done on the sector sound of Rift Apart, was Daniel Birczynski, Audio Lead of Insomniac Games: to breathe life into the game worlds the studio has worked extensively on the positioning of the sound sources, in order to infuse even more three-dimensionality and realism to the experience. In every corner of the various worlds there will be citizens chatting about their own business or groups of alien fauna placidly immersed in their own habitat. The level shown so far that most of all makes clear the work done on the spatiality of the audio is according to Birczynski Nefarius City, protagonist of the State of Play demo: the developer said that navigating the city, players will come across moments almost to Blade Runner, with the indistinct shouting of aliens, the din of the bazaars and the vehicles whizzing over Ratchet's head ... even the disco that the Lombax seeks in the alleys of the city can only be identified by following the din of the music that resounds inside!

Rivet, between laughter and emotions

Rivet faces the alien fauna of Torren IV The part of the demo dedicated to Rivet is more substantial. Here we see her descend with Clank from her spaceship, in search of a gigantic robot called "Fixer": we don't want to reveal too much, since those parts of the dialogue made us laugh a lot but also a little tenderness. What we feel like saying, however, is that, judging from what is shown, the impression is strong that, compared to the already high standards of the series, Rift Apart will represent a further qualitative leap for narration and dialogue writing. Ratchet & Clank has always been a very hybrid product from this point of view: simple and linear stories, understandable even by the little ones, but told through hilarious exchanges and characterized by a subtle humor often aimed at older players. In this sense, the work done by the developers was even more profound and intimately linked to animation.

Rivet and Clank in a scene from Rift Apart Right from the start, in fact, the intent was to instill a more marked emotional component in the plot of Rift Apart: friendship, responsibility but also fear and loss. All emotions that emerge in the eyes of the characters and that acquire authenticity thanks to an incredibly careful and accurate animation; the way Rivet wrinkles her little ferret nose when annoyed or the way her ears go limp under the weight of sadness are really capable of making a difference in the game's storytelling. game, the visit of Rivet and Clank on Torren IV allowed us to have a better peek into what in the game are called "Pocket Dimension" or portions of levels accessible through faults in the continuum and characterized by temporal lulls; We had already seen one in the State of Play demo, and the way they are positioned within the levels they seem a great way to give variety to the level design.

Gameplay and combat

Rivet in an action scene Much of the demo with River, however, was dedicated to combat. Rivet's mobility during the exploration and combat phases is truly extreme, and she is expressed to the maximum thanks to two particular elements: the Hoverscarponi and the Phantom Dash. The former are a gadget that fans of the series will remember very well, a pair of boots with two rockets positioned on the soles that allow, in this case to Rivet, to move more quickly; in the past, the Hoverscarponi were useful for covering long distances in maps larger than usual but in Rift Apart they become a valid ally even during fights, allowing the Lombax wearing them to increase their mobility during a fight. To these is added the aforementioned Phantom Dash, that is the dodge that, when performed, generates a time lag and makes the character immune to hits. Jumps, dodges and pushes with boots are all excellent ways to stay in constant motion, and are added to the use of the faults present on the battlefield, the last point of escape when surrounded.

Ratchet grabs an interdimensional fault Obviously a large part of the strategy is built through weapons and their upgrading: in the demo, to show us as much content as possible, the developers used numerous weapons, which made the clashes much more various but also a little confused; probably the only perplexities that emerged from the presentation concern the rhythm and legibility of the fights, and from this point of view we can't wait to put our hand to DualSense to remove any doubts. Surely trying the game in first person everything will seem clearer and more linear, but as spectators only we admit that in some moments it was easy to get lost, precisely because of that abundance of visual effects on the screen. But what we found very interesting is the way in which the dynamics between the two characters go to embellish both the exploration and the combat. Clank has always been the mind of the couple, and this does not stop even when the robot joins Rivet: thanks to a constant dialogue between the two (where you can clearly see the perfect synchrony of the protagonists' mouths that move during the action game), Clank often adds some useful hints regarding the mission objective or indicates some combat strategy; during a fight instead we clearly heard Rivet exclaim: "ah, shields? I think I'll have to be creative here".

Rivet in a scene from Rift Apart In short, these are interactions that, if on the one hand they allow us to know more about Rivet's character, and underline how the relationship between her and Clank evolves, on the other they allow through unpublished and non-didactic suggestions to offer an extra guide for the player, especially for the younger ones. It is not a new gimmick in the saga, dialogues of this type were already present in the previous remake of 2016, but on this occasion we had the impression that they were inserted with greater timing and awareness within the gameplay and, for this, we found them extremely pleasant and funny ... net of feeling a bit betrayed by Clank, seeing him joking with a Lombax other than Ratchet!

A game for everyone

Rivet that escapes in an adrenaline-pumping sequence The demo could only end with a boss, a thug affiliated with the group of hilarious space pirates who must face Rivet on Torren IV, followed by a long sequence on Grindscarponi where extensive use is made of running on the wall, another novelty of Rift Apart that is very reminiscent of the platform solutions of Sunset Overdrive. These are extremely intense phases, including jumps, slides and stunts that we can't wait to perform with the pad in our hands. Such agitated platform beats promise an intense and electrifying challenge, but to make sure no one feels left out, Insomniac has left nothing to chance, carefully studying Rift Apart's accessibility options. Of this, to be honest, we are not so surprised because now the attention to accessibility is a splendid practice that all the PlayStation teams have embraced, and the fact that everything has become customary in the Sony stable is something that makes us extremely happy. The experience with the two previous Spider-Man games (Miles Morales in particular) taught the team a lot, and during the press sessions the Insomniac guys showed us a mode designed specifically for Rift Apart and activated from the options of accessibility, which allows those who want to make the particularly agitated game phases easier to perform: using the DualSense D-pad you can activate a slow motion effect that dilates time and requires less alertness.

After a careful and close vision of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart we are more and more convinced of what was previously said: although PlayStation 5 has already seen the arrival in its library of several exclusives, Rift Apart is the first game that really manages to express the maximum potential of PlayStation 5. We are talking about a title designed and strongly optimized around the hardware performance of the console (much more than the previous Miles Morales according to same developer), capable of enhancing the best qualities of PlayStation 5 and, above all, of Insomniac Games which turns out to be a versatile, creative and not at all obvious team. Do not be fooled by the 3D platform features: here we are faced with a solid, rich and chiseled game in the smallest details. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is to video games as Fabergé eggs are to jewelry: apparently small in size but with a significant specific weight, perfect from any point of view you look at it, precious and created by careful and delicate hands. There are very few doubts, much more certainties and, therefore, very high expectations.


Wonderful to see Solid and well-developed gameplay ideas For everyone: young, old and disabled DOUBTS Seeing it without trying it leaves a little confused in certain situations. Have you noticed any errors?

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