Reviews - Updated on April 2, 2022

Last week we attended a presentation dedicated to the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (in Russian localization – “Ratchet & Clank: Through the Worlds”). An unusually large number of developers talked about the new PlayStation 5 exclusive, from the creative director and lead writer to the senior animator and composer. Thanks to them, we learned a lot about the game and are ready to share all this information.

About the plot

The permanent villain Dr. Nefarious was tired of constantly losing to Ratchet and Clank, but decided to try once again to destroy organic beings and change them to robots. A special device will help him with this – with his help, the doctor hopes to find a dimension where he always wins. The device turns out to be faulty, and as a result, Nefarius damages space-time matter, and the main characters visit different dimensions and try once again to destroy the plans of the mad scientist.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

Nefarious City is an alternate dimension version of Megalopolis.

One of the places will be Nefarious City – a dystopian city in which Nefarious nevertheless won and even became emperor. However, the game will not be turned into cyberpunk, but will be left cheerful and charming, despite the gloomy context – which are worth at least funny robots, the design that gives off the fifties.

The story is not connected to past games in the series, so those who meet Ratchet for the first time will feel comfortable. But since the characters will sometimes visit dimensions with planets from Ratchet & Clank’s past, fans will encounter a lot of references, and in the dialogue there may be references to past events.

About Rivet

Ratchet won’t be the only playable Lombax in Rift Apart – Rivet will also be in control. This is a resistance fighter from another dimension, where she did not have a robot companion, and therefore Dr. Nefarius was able to bring his perverted fantasies to life.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

The developers hope that the players will love Rivet the same way the team loves her.

Introducing new characters to a series that has been around for a very long time is usually not easy, but Rivet immediately organically fit into the world of Ratchet & Clank. As lead writer Lauren Mee said, it’s important to make new characters convincing so that you can associate yourself with them. The longer the development went on, the more interesting it was for the employees to develop Rivet.

At first, the developers tried to make Ratchet and Rivet completely independent of each other – what one hero discovered would not be available to another. However, it quickly became clear that the progression system in this case does not reward the player for his actions. So the progress of both Lombaxes will be the same.

About weapons

As always, players will have access to an arsenal of quirky guns, from the Plasma Shotgun to fun weapons like the Ricochet, which bounce projectiles off enemies to set off a bright, pinball-table-style light show. “We have carefully considered every element of the combat system and made it better and more spectacular than ever,” said Lead Gameplay Designer Adam Noonchester. In particular, the use of DualSense adaptive triggers helped with this.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

Ammo can still be found in boxes and bought.

Here, as in the recent Returnal, the weapons have alternative firing modes, but you do not need to press separate buttons to use them. For example, a pistol can fire either slowly and accurately, or quickly and inaccurately. There is no need to switch between modes – you either lightly press the trigger or ignore its resistance. The same with a double-barreled shotgun – with a soft press you shoot only one cartridge, and with a strong one – two at the same time.

Also, this DualSense feature is interestingly used with a weapon called the “Negatron Collider”. It fires loaded projectiles, and earlier with similar guns there were two ways: either load with one button and shoot with another, or do everything with one button, but then it was impossible to cancel the shot. Here, everything is different: you charge the shot with the R2 button by pressing it halfway, and after that you press the same trigger completely. Thus, you can cancel the attack at any time, and one of the fingers is free.

About game design

“One of the key features of any Ratchet & Clank is a huge variety of mechanics and mini-games,” project director Mike Daly began talking about game design. This will not change in the new game. Ratchet will gain access to the rift thread, which transports him to another point when interacting with the rifts. Thanks to the surround sound and tactile feedback in the gamepad, the teleportation process will seem realistic, despite the fact that the hero stands still when changing environments.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

Spectacular episodes will be very, very much.

The so-called pocket dimensions will also appear – portals hidden in locations that move the character to new areas. With their help, the designers were able to realize all their unusual fantasies – such dimensions did not fit into the storyline, but as additional entertainment they work with a bang. There are also plenty of other bonus entertainment, including closed arenas with a bunch of enemies and Glitch challenges. This mechanical spider, capable of crawling on walls and ceilings, will become Ratchet’s new assistant.

Another new addition is the Ghost Dash, which allows you to quickly move a couple of meters in any direction. With it, you can slip through enemy projectiles and not take damage, or move from one platform to another without the effect of gravity on the character.

Using this technique is very convenient s you can switch to it at any time, interrupting some action. This flexibility fundamentally changes the way you approach combat and movement.

Mike Daley, Game Director

Ratchet’s wardrobe is back with jet-boots inspired by inline skates. With the help of adaptive triggers, it will be possible to control the speed of the hero and quickly move around huge (according to Insomniac) planets.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

It will also allow you to use a hammer against enemies.

Another way to get around is mounts. “There are two types of such creatures in the game, and we tried to make them completely different from driving a soulless vehicle. The tactile feedback makes them come alive, and the surround sound allows you to understand how fast you are rushing past certain objects, ”said Daley.

About PS5 features

Although the worlds in Rift Apart are nowhere near as big as Manhattan in Marvel’s Spider-Man, the developers use similar tricks – textures and objects are erased from the console’s memory when the player turns away from them, and are loaded again in a split second if he turns back. Thanks to the powerful hardware of the PlayStation 5, creators can add a huge amount of detail to every frame, thus making the worlds much more alive than in past games in the series.

A quick transition from one dimension to another was also made possible only thanks to the SSD – how quickly the player finds himself in a completely new place was shown in the first trailer. Some planets have been completely designed with this mechanic in mind – on them you regularly switch between two versions of the same major location. Technical director Mike Fitzgerald showed footage of a character hitting a crystal with a hammer once, and a second later, the world around him is transformed.

There are scenes in the game in which the characters fly from one planet to another in a spaceship, but at no time are these scenes used to hide downloads. They are only needed for important story scenes or to showcase beautiful landscapes.

Mike Fitzgerald, CTO

The ability to load two locations at the same time allowed the developers to implement transitions between scenes in the spirit of Star Wars. “We’ve had a lot of fun using all the power the console has to offer to make big changes to the content and look of the new game, not just speed up downloads,” Fitzgerald added.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

The desire to implement the idea with different dimensions has successfully coincided with the preparation of Sony for the arrival of the nextgen.

About sound and graphics

According to Daniel Birczynski, head of the sound team, from the beginning of development, the team had the task of making the game sound like a movie.

Small changes make a big difference. For example, we have a weapon that turns opponents into a bunch of pixels. So, you need to record the appropriate sound, something like the sound of the old processor. In addition, each object should sound different depending on its size – whether it be small flowers fired from one of the cannons, or a giant moving statue.

Daniel Birczyński, Sound Team Leader

Much attention is paid to surround sound. At the beginning of the game, when Ratchet moves through Megalopolis, you will hear the screams of the crowd, explosions of firecrackers and much more from all sides. And in Nefarious City, you can easily determine which side the talking character is on and how far away he is. In this location, you will need to find a nightclub, and the 3D sound will literally lead you there.

Everyone could already appreciate the graphics from the trailers: there are a lot of special effects here, and the quality of textures and objects is unusually high for the series. Ratchet and Rivet’s fur now reacts to wind and rain, and Clank looks more realistic thanks to reflections on his metal torso and ray tracing.

All about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - new ideas, fun weapons and a real nextgen

It is unknown if the costumes from the Deluxe edition of the game have passive bonuses.

A few more details

  • If the appearance of the main character seems rustic to you, they will be allowed to change into found or unlocked costumes: change the headdress, jacket and pants separately. If this is not enough, then each element can be repainted. In addition, you won’t have to wear things that you don’t like on the outside for the bonuses they grant. As soon as you get some armor, the passive ability associated with it is unlocked, and you don’t have to change your appearance – just having this piece of clothing in your collection is enough.

  • Insomniac Games continues to make their games more and more accessible to the majority of gamers. In Rift Apart, you should expect color blind settings, the ability to turn on a pointer leading to a goal, and other options. If platforming is not for you or you can not perform many actions in a row (jumping, dashing, using a thread, and so on), there is a function in the settings that turns slow time on and off by pressing the button on the D-pad. According to the creative director, all these options should not affect the drop of trophies.

  • The music for the game was written by Mark Mothersbaugh, the author of the soundtracks of the Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter trilogies. He really enjoyed working on the game, so much so that he and his team were composing compositions faster than the designers were creating levels. The pandemic hasn’t had much of an impact on the process of writing music – according to Mothersbaugh, modern technology allows you to watch the work of the orchestra and hear the sound in the highest quality.

This is not all that was presented at the presentation and what the developers were ready to talk about for hours. Judging by what we have seen, we are in for a colorful and exciting adventure that will show what the next generation console is capable of. Whether this is so, we will find out on June 11, when Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be released exclusively on PS5.

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