You can generally tell which games ooze class by how long they stick around for. While some games run out of steam and fade into nothing, others blossom and become much loved series of hugely enjoyable games. Step forward Ratchet and Clank, whose adventures have been enjoyed by many for a long time now, and apart from the slight hiccup last time out (if you haven’t played All4One yet, don’t rush to do so…) each game has been nothing short of brilliant. But these HD collections can be a double edged sword. For under £30 you can get the first three R&C titles from the PS2 era, but with visuals and expectations having moved on so much do we need rose tinted glasses to fully enjoy them?
Well fortunately, no. While it’s clear that these are previous generation titles, you should never put too much emphasis on how a game looks. Sure, none of these three games look as busy or detailed as their PS3 counterparts, but the HD polish has done in incredible job of sharpening up the visuals. The cut scenes are a bit crappy though, shrinking back into 4:3 ratio and dropping the resolution and clarity by a margin so significant it makes you realise just how awesome HD has become for gaming.
The three games are kept fairly individual, even down to each game having its own set of trophies. The first is, as you’d expect, the weakest of the trio. The controls are loose and sometimes fiddly, weapons are relatively low key (although this being relative there’s still some pretty cool gadgets to play with) and the voice acting is a little stilted. It’s as if the game was developed by a slightly nervous team and didn’t want to take many risks. But moving on and playing the later two titles shows just how amazingly well they did when deciding how to advance the series and make life more interesting. Each iteration brings more intense visuals, more relaxed voiceovers and more cool weapons and characters. By the time we get to R&C3 it’s clear the developers were desperate to get their hands on some more powerful kit, with levels being full of life and looking far more accomplished than the earlier outings. The controls also tighten up considerably and feel far more usable by the time you start the last of the trio, and most of the tricky camera problems that crop up on occasions are ironed out making life much more straightforward.
Seeing how the relationship builds between Ratchet and Clank is also fascinating, and as someone who only came into the R&C world by picking up the PS3 games I really enjoyed the experience of the two characters coming together. There’s also the gradual introduction of other secondary characters who become regulars later on in the series, and if you also missed out on these earlier games it fills in a few gaps that might have been floating around in your Ratchet knowledge.
HD re-releases don’t always work out amazingly well – Tekken Hybrid springs to mind – but at times they give a well worked and valuable window into the history of some of your favourite games. The Ratchet and Clank Trilogy definitely slots into the latter of the two categories, and while the nostalgia and beauty don’t quite reach the peak that Ico managed you still get a lot of game for your money here, with all of the comedy and playability you’ve come to expect from this pair. Definitely worth a look if you’re a fan.
Reviewed on PS3