Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
North American Release Date: August 28, 2012
European Release Date: June 29, 2012
Trophies: 1 , 5 , 9 , 18
The third and final part the Ratchet and Clank trilogy is finally here for our memories to be re-invigorated from the 2004 release. Does the game deliver the explosive firepower that it originally did, or do you just wanna shove it up your arse....nal and blow it to bits?
Is there anything especially significant throughout the entire series as of yet that changes the entire formula rather than improving upon it? The answer, obviously, is no, but thatís the entire basis of what makes the gameplay so enthralling. Itís familiar enough for you to instantly feel at home with, but sufficiently different to instill a certain sense of improvement.
The controls are smoother and tighter, allowing you to strafe, lock on and jump with ease, unlike in the first game where the gameplay was sloppy, undefined, and sent your controller hurling towards the TV screen in rage. Thatís certainly not the case with Up Your Arsenal. The mechanics feel tight and secure, allowing you to perform whatever action you see fit to perform with ease, allowing for multiple situations in platforming, combat and stealth. Itís a well-rounded system that leaves very little room for error.
Being able to whip your enemies is so pleasurable...even more so for them, considering the amount of sex jokes in the game..
Even better, the weapons themselves have gone under a massive improvement, allowing you to blast your enemies to pieces with as many guns as you like. Each time you level up your weapon, it automatically gains some sort of modification or perk, which encourages even further use of that weapon. The slight disadvantage is that because this weapon becomes used so often it becomes overpowered, giving you little reason to use the other weapons, even when you run out of ammo. To avoid such a situation, youíll need to purchase and user a variety of weapons, of which there will be plenty. Youíll be able to purchase each one easily, as you gain thousands of bolts without even trying in each level, and there are continuously extra bolts for you to earn in side missions and arena quests. Youíll get into the rhythm of smashing all the crates, blasting your enemies with your leveled up weapon before flying off to an arena to add even more bolts to your collection, and then spending it on a new gun, or even a sexy new suit of armour. The action just feels good, and really gives you the motivation to keep going.
Of course, youíll be doing more than just firing guns at mindless aliens. There are plenty of stealth missions, which put you in the shoes of Clank, or in some cases, a Tyrannoid. These events are particularly exciting, but they do add a pleasant change of pace. But when you get to fly aircrafts and drive buggies, itíll more than make up for it. Hacking, puzzles, mini games and Qwark vid-comics additionally stir up the action, giving you the element of choice and what exactly youíd like to tackle next. Side missions can also mix up the action, even though most of them simply require you to perform mundane tasks, such as harvesting crystals from a sewer. Not exactly fun, but nevertheless it provides extra reason to go back once youíve finished the game.
The gameís difficultly is perfectly balanced this time around. The first game was too hard, and the second too easy. Up Your Arsenal finds the perfect medium between the two, and gives you weapons to match. The game itself may not be easy, but with the wide array of gadgets, guns and gizmos at your disposal, any confrontations you encounter on your journey across the galaxy can be resolved with the joyful squeeze of the trigger, with as much noise and chaos as possible.
Even better, its possible for you get your weapons upgraded with our friend from the previous title, Cognito, who now sells extra weapons that you canít usually purchase from the vendors. Just beware of his suck cannon.
Up Your Arsenal doesnít revolutionize the seriesí gameplay as much as build up upon it, but in all honestly thatís a great step forward, as the series knows when itís going overboardÖor at least did. Regardless, the gameplay in Up Your Arsenal is tightly, intoxicatingly addictive, and a complete and utter blast.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the campaign in Up Your Arsenal is the quality that it presents despite lacking a story better or equal to the first gameís. Saying that, the series has never really built upon story, but rather other aspects of the single player campaign.
The entire game has a military/operational theme to it, which notably is both positive and negative. The downside is that most of the game youíll be given mundane orders and directions barked at you to fly to this planet and do this, or return to base and see the commander. Youíll be doing a lot of backtracking, certainly more than youíd like to.
On the flipside, you find a bond between yourself and the game that you never experienced before. As the base is on the enormous Starship Pheonix, youíll be accompanied by multiple characters, such as Al, Sasha, Skidd, Qwark, Helga and more. Each of these characters has an undeniable charm as they converse, throwing their wits and skills at each other, resulting in organized chaos. However, thereís more than just the characters that make this ship a pleasant place to be; you can view trophy rooms (added for the collection), upgrade your armour, buy weapons, play Qwark vid comics, explore the ship, train in the simulator, and more. These features instil an atmosphere filled with warmth and adventure unseen in other games. Itís worth noting that almost all missions are done with other soldiers or characters on your team, adding to the delightful battles of destruction.
The reason for this gathering of heroes? As it turns out, the evil robot, Dr. Nefarious is plotting to turn everyone in the universe into robots, and itís your job to stop him. Granted, thereís more to the story than that, such as kidnappings and twists, but itís nothing thatís especially noteworthy. However, story is interesting and will keep you wondering what will happen next, albeit the inevitable occurring.
The game itself, however, does its job extremely well on its own. Variety is the spice of life here, adding new elements and options unseen in previous games. Some particular missions require Ratchet to disguise himself as a Tyrannoid, and converse with others in his new language, attempting to earn their trust and sneak past them. Other parts require additional stealth, such as Clank when he uses Qwarkís monkey to distract the guards and lasers to sneak past them.
That shotgun has one hell of a range....
Even the standard action has variety. Youíll leap from an aircraft to get to the ground, and then drive a quad-bike through a war-zone, as you aim to take out turrets. In some cases youíll have to wipe out all enemies, in others your quest will be to defend/attack a certain area. Whatever youíre doing, everything is mixed and varied, never giving you the implication that youíve done whatever youíre doing before.
Even when you complete an area, you can still go back to take on a series of short missions in which you perform certain objectives as you attack and advance on the enemy. Youíll man turrets, fly aircrafts, drive cars, explore sewers, and whatever else may be of interest you to. Of course, the game has plenty of side missions and requirements for you to complete, making it worth returning to for another playthrough or two.
Even though the story may be lacking and receiving your quests either from soldiers or through a speaker, the single player campaign in Up Your Arsenal is the best the series has ever seen, providing a vibrant atmosphere where-ever you may roam, each experience containing more quality than the last, and itís this quality that makes this game playing, and replaying.
When it was first released Up Your Arsenalís online did exactly what most games do today. They take the brilliant gameplay from the single-player campaign, and then allow you to take it up online with human opponents. If you wanted to, you could easily compare this to the way Uncharted handles the online. While the experience may be enjoyable, itís nothing to really get excited about. In fact, it feels tacked on, and a waste of time.
For example, once you start a match, you have to get to the very end of it before you can actually earn any XP, and these matches sometimes last around half an hour, which will consist of a few guys running around with their over-powered weapons, blasting each other to bits before you can even move. Itís irritating.
Don't be fooled, it's nothing to be excited about.
Then again, once you get a party together and enter a match, it does become beautiful madness. Itís a shame that the standard isnít consistent throughout the entire online experience. Even loading the multiplayer menu can be a drag. Itíll take at least a minute at a time, and even when you do itís difficult to find an actual party thatís active enough for you to join , and even when you doÖwellÖyou know that already.
The multiplayer in Up Your Arsenal isnít exactly bad, per say, but the limited amount of players and frustrating loading times provide little reason for you to actually spend any time in the multiplayer. Itís a great concept that handles lots of action on screen well, but the poor execution and lack of balance prevent the multiplayer from holding any attraction whatsoever.
The presentation in Up Your Arsenal is piled on with candy and tangible goodness to such an extent that you may be taken by surprise that this isnít a half-baked remake where presentation is concerned. Rather, it does the job effortless and brilliantly.
The visuals are ace, providing you with a smooth motion and textures throughout. Apart from a few quirks, such as characters themselves and cut-scenes (which are set to a 4:3 rate automatically and canít be changed), the frame-rate is silky smooth with textures to match. You seriously couldnít ask for more, in all honesty.
The voice acting, as usual, is excellent, with even more dirty humour to matchÖ. with everything from the title of the game to half the comments that the characters make. Itís great stuff.
The audio is just as awesome, the soundtrack, effects and more all reaching the standard that we expect of them and more.
Donít let the game itself fool you into thinking that the trophies are easy. They are in fact, quite difficult, particularly the trophy that requires you to obtain all skill points. Other than a select few, there isnít that much here thatíll stop you from getting the platinum; itíll just take a while. Thankfully though, itís not a platinum youíll need to grind for.
Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal does an amazing job of improving the series and what itís known for whilst instilling a sense of unity and adventure throughout your journey across the galaxy. By far the best game in the collection, and well worth the purchase in itself. Donít miss out on this one, whatever you do.