Ratchet and Clank Q Force Review
- Rich and detailed combat system
- Attempts to move the franchise in a new direction
- Offers good value for money, especially for Vita owners
Not so much?
- Feels like a neutered version of the Ratchet & Clank world we've come to love
- Overwhelming in single player and co-op at times
Ratchet & Clank Q Force (aka Full Frontal Assault in the US) puts series developer Insomniac in somewhat of an awkward position. On one hand their Ratchet and Clank series is beloved by their fans and revered in the platform genre – a goliath of a franchise stretching back to the early days of the PS2. [...]
Ratchet & Clank Q Force (aka Full Frontal Assault in the US) puts series developer Insomniac in somewhat of an awkward position. On one hand their Ratchet and Clank series is beloved by their fans and revered in the platform genre – a goliath of a franchise stretching back to the early days of the PS2. On the other hand though you have a series that is now seeing its eleventh sequel!
So Insomniac is left with the task of trying to keep interest in the series whilst staying true to the fans that have built the series in to the massive success it has been. Last year’s All-4-One was a neat experiment. Allowing you to take things online in a massive co-op heavy title.
In this year’s attempt, Ratchet and Clank Q Force, they’re taking the winning combat mechanics of the long running series and melding them to tower defence… no don’t go! It’s certainly better than you might think.
Ratchet, Clank and captain Qwark all return to the series as playable characters. The series trademark humour and loveable characters and story are mostly gone here. There are flashes of the old magic, mainly in the cut scenes, but the true core of the series is missing.
So, light on much plot other than you’re defending the galaxy from an advancing force, and missing the humour so richly found in the past titles what we’re left with is an epic action-platformer wrapped around a simple, and often repeated, tower defence title. The wrapping is grandiose and dripping with high production values… all of which seems just a little out of place in this title. It’s hard to fully describe it. It’s like knowing the world outside is full of wonder and awesome toys but being stuck inside a large glass box. You see how great these things are, but you just can’t do them anymore.
Ratchet & Clank Q Force works by taking you to one of a series of battle areas on numerous planets. Here you must strive to achieve your objective (i.e. put the Q Force defences back on line). To do this you must explore the surrounding area breaking crates and killing foes to build up your supply of bolts. You then spend bolts to place defences along the route to your Q Force main hub. The these turrets, mines and towers will take care of the attacking forces whilst you slowly take down varying enemies around the battle field to finally activate the defences. Once these are activated you then have to survive and onslaught of bad guys whilst the thing powers up.
Getting down and dirty with the action is still reasonable fun but the series staples of grinding out weapon upgrades and exploring the use of the wacky arsenal are all just paid lip service.
Things still move at a pace though and the game still looks pretty good for such an aging engine. That said this variant seems to lack a lot of the pop and sparkle of the previous ones too. Voice work is still solid and the music and sounds area all just as good as previous titles.
The sheer amount that you have to do on each level can become daunting. Just the initial stages, that should be simple enough, are actually quite overwhelming – the later ones even more so. This leads to the game hitting an awkward balance between the two genres. The tower defence part is a little off and underwhelming. The platforming and shooting is a likewise underwhelming but it also just feels neutered.
The game seems to struggle on single or co-op modes but really steps in to its stride when you take it online. This was, in all reality, the focus of the product in design stages. The multiplayer doesn’t do anything particularly new or exciting but it at least is well balanced and solid fun. It also doesn’t suffer from the overwhelming issues of the single player mode.
With around five or six hours of single player action over the games five levels and three multiplayer maps to choose from you might feel a little put off – but for around £15/$20 you’re still getting a well produced title – a and free Vita game too!
Ratchet and Clank Q Force is, taken on its own merits, a reasonable enough game. For the reduced asking price you get a reasonable length of campaign, co-op play and a almost game saving multiplayer too. Also, add to that you get the PS Vita release for free (if you have a Vita and can wait a few months), and the package is a reasonable one.
The two play styles fit together well enough but do feel at odds at times. The lack of series staples like a good plot and buckets of humour – along with the unbalanced single player and light content – go a long way to putting a downer on the title.
Yet for the money I feel it’s still a worthy purchase for series fans, tower defence lovers and anyone looking to pick up a non-taxing multiplayer experience for over the holiday season.