Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, for adults or children?

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, for adults or children?

Ratchet & Clank

The Ratchet & Clank saga has always been characterized by a strong duality: a colorful and cartoonish 3D platformer, perfect for children and teenagers, which however hides a more mature and adult soul under hilarious and sometimes cutting scripts.

This dual nature for years has confused the public a lot, especially those less close to the world of video games. Why would an adult play a game like Ratchet and Clank? And how can a child find funny a parrot with such black humor that it suggests "take them out and steal their kidneys"? These questions must have long hovered in the studios of Insomniac Games, and with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (out June 11 exclusively on PS5) it seems that the developer wanted to put a point on the matter. Is Ratchet & Clank a game for children or for adults? The focal points of the analysis are basically two: gameplay and story, and we face them in this special.

A child's play… maybe

The focus of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is undoubtedly represented by firefights. The quantity of weapons and their functioning, the combat arenas, a large group of bosses and minibosses, suggest the intentions of the developer: to create chaotic and spectacular clashes. The careful balance of the weapons, added to that of the ammunition, and a careful study of the level design, make the fighting of Rift Apart certainly challenging and also a bit strategic: not everything is solved by shooting a little everywhere and making a mess but, during a fight, the types of enemies, the quality and their position must always be identified. The movement skills of the characters, able to shoot quickly or perform acrobatic dodges, then make it all really stimulating, visually and mentally.

Ratchet fights against Nefarious' thugs Told this way, Rift Apart seems absolutely unsuitable for a childish audience, but the difficulty level selection and accessibility functions can easily adjust the game. Too often we make the mistake of thinking of these two elements of contemporary video games as features designed exclusively for players with disabilities, when in reality the concept of accessibility is incredibly broader.

Clearly some features are designed for specific handicaps, such as the options for visually impaired or color blind players, but others can be activated by anyone. From this point of view, Rift Apart has numerous options aimed at simplifying the game action, such as being able to slow down the time during the more platform phases to have more time available during a jump or activate a protection to avoid falling from a cliff during a fight. Even the adaptive feedback of DualSense, which could be a bit tiring for a child's hand (think for example of the resistance of the triggers that simulate those of a weapon) can be deactivated and reactivated at will.

Rivet during the escape on Torren IV The ability to select the difficulty level at the beginning of the game is therefore not the single help that the game provides to our Lombax puppies and in this sense Sony's praises must be praised, always at the forefront when it comes to accessibility; because putting in a rich list of accessibility options is great, but talking about them and explaining them to your users is even better, especially to moms and dads who own a PlayStation console at home.

Public education in the field of accessibility is not yet so widespread but Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart not only uses its megaphone to share the word, but demonstrates to everyone that "accessibility = disability" is a very partial and short-sighted association. Clearly the difficulty can also be increased as well as decreased, going against the taste of even the most demanding players, it being understood that the 3D platform genre, in the spirit, is devoted to exploration and fun rather than pure technicality.

Emotional education

Ratchet and Clank during the parade in their honor But there is another kind of education that Rift Apart provides its audience, be it small or large: the emotional one. Until the clear change constituted by this last chapter of the series, the Ratchet & Clank saga has always had very linear storylines, without too many pretensions, and characterized by extremely funny scripts; characters that seem funny to the eyes of the little ones and grotesque to those of the grown-ups. Rift Apart does not betray this tradition, remaining anchored to a very simple and full of irony story, but adding an emotional element with extremely positive and motivational connotations.

Ratchet launches into a dimensional fault Those who hoped that this Rift Apart would be indissolubly linked to Into the Nexus, not only picking up the events from that point onwards but elaborating the plot in that direction, will perhaps be disappointed . What for some could be a critical issue, for us it is actually a great strength because Rift Apart has its own meaning regardless of how many and which chapters of the saga you have played.

Instead of proposing the usual themes of friendship and heroism, using references to events that not all the public could know, Insomniac has decided to focus more on the feelings of the protagonists. The audience then puts themselves in the shoes of Ratchet, Clank and Rivet, looking at them with different eyes and empathizing with them; despite the simplicity of the concepts, the reaction that this generates in the player is of great impact, especially in adults.

Rivet in a scene from the game: What's scaring her? The cast of Rift Apart teaches us that it is permissible in life to have doubts, that being a beautiful person does not automatically mean being a successful person and that we can save the galaxy even if we have some doubts about our abilities; it is natural to feel depressed every now and then and it is okay to show it to others, being tough does not mean being the ones who never cry and that self-improvement is always the best way but also accepting some defect, ours or others, can sometimes soothe our soul. And these concepts, on the other hand, do not even pass through too light examples. We found the entire narrative arc relating to Rivet's mechanical limb effective and moving, which manages to be extremely delicate while dealing with an extremely violent event with an amputation. And it is right that children are exposed to motivating and positive messages of this kind, even through stories that we do not conventionally associate with childhood. In addition to often forgetting when children are extremely intelligent and much more receptive than us adults, it is sacrosanct that even the entertainment that caters to the little ones is careful to provide a certain type of education about feelings, treatment that many Millennials and generations older ones have absolutely not received.

The Repairman in a scene from the game And you realize it when what should be "baby stuff" resonates inside you, now in your thirties, producing an echo that you can feel in your stomach. A moment that undoubtedly really struck us (and sunk emotionally) is the one dedicated to the Repairman on Torren IV, already shown weeks ago in the preview ... but in case you haven't seen it, then, we specify that a part follows spoiler The Repairman is this gigantic robot created, as the name implies, to repair anything. The automaton, however, is useless because he is the first to be broken and this generates a paradox that makes him hostile towards the world. "I'm broken! How can I fix something if I can't even fix myself?" What a child will see is a funny robot who complains and who decides to help the protagonists precisely because Clank will restore his self-confidence to the Repairman. What an adult sees instead is the representation of any person in crisis who tries to put together the pieces of life after it has been shattered. And it hurts, you want to hug that robot, to offer him a beer, because we have all known a Repairman in our life, or maybe we have been in first person.

Compared to all the other chapters in the series, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart speaks to everyone, young and old, with heart in hand, reminding us that there are emotions and video games in life that transcend the concept of age .

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