It feels like we’ve been waiting ages for a new full-fledged Ratchet and Clank game- and in a sense, we have. Sure, we got a game in 2016, but that was a remake, not really a fully new experience. We got Into the Nexus in 2013, but that was really a half-length game. We got All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault in the two years before that, but those were spinoffs. The last new full-fledged mainline Ratchet game we got was A Crack in Time on the PS3, all the way back in 2009.
So yeah, Ratchet fans have been starved for the series’ next big step forward. The upcoming Rift Apart looks like that’s exactly what it’s going to be, and based on all that we’ve seen of the game so far, it’s turning out to be well worth the wait. We recently discussed some crucial details from the action platformer in a feature, and here, we’ll be going over a few more details.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is taking us back to the series’ main timeline, and is set after the events of Into the Nexus. Dr. Nefarious returns, and he is, once again, up to no good, as his name suggests. In his bid to wipe out all organic life in the galaxy (which he’s been working toward for a long time), he steals and uses the Dimensionator- but things go wrong. Accidentally, he damages the very fabric of space and time, and sends Ratchet and Clank hurtling across dimensions. The two are separated, and ultimately find themselves in a new dimension where Dr. Nefarious won, and now rules with an iron grip as Emperor Nefarious.
Ratchet and Clank aren’t the only protagonists this time around. Rift Apart is also introducing someone entirely new in Rivet, a female lombax who runs into Clank as he lands in Nefarious City in the alternate dimension. She’s a member of the resistance against Emperor Nefarious, and Rift Apart will see her, Clank, and Ratchet working together to put a stop to Nefarious’ evil machinations, and get things back to normal again.
Of course, Ratchet, Clank, and Nefarious aren’t the only returning characters in the game. The series has established a lot of well-known and beloved characters over the years, many of whom will be returning in interesting ways. Mrs. Zurkon is returning, of course, this time as the weapons vendor, but other characters will be taking on altered roles as well, to fit the whole “alternate dimension” schtick. For instance, space pirate Rusty Pete is now Pierre Le Fer, and though he’s still a space pirate, he’s got a much different personality. Meanwhile, hoverboard maniac Skid McMarx is going to appear as Phantom, a member of Rivet’s group of resistance fighters.
Weapons and gadgets are the beating heart of any Ratchet and Clank game, and that’s going to be true of Rift Apart as well, which is going to feature a mix of new and returning weapons (but leaning more in favour of the former). Where new weapons are concerned, in addition to the ones we’ve spoken of before, including the likes of Topiary Sprinkler, Enforcer, and NegaTron Collidor, there’s a few more to look forward to as well, such as Mr. Fungi, a talking and wisecracking mushroom-esque turret (no, really); the Ricochet, which, true to its name, fires off bounding bullets; and the Lightning Rod, which shoots out chain lightning. Meanwhile, returning weapons will include the likes of the Glove of Doom and the Buzz Blades.
The most crucial gadget in Rift Apart, and the one that will serve as the headlining addition in the game, is the Rift Tether. Of course, it will allow players to travel from one world to an entirely new and different one in the space of a couple seconds thanks to the PS5’s SSD, and that should have some pretty exciting implications as far as visual spectacle, gameplay, and set-pieces are concerned. Additionally, you can also use the Rift Tether to navigate battlefields, and pull yourself from one point directly to another at the other end of the battlefield, thus allowing for greater mobility and more tactical combat.
Greater mobility isn’t just coming from the Rift Tether. In an earlier feature, we spoke about wall-running and the dash ability. Meanwhile, both Ratchet and Rivet also have the ability to hover thanks to their boots, while movement is going to be more refined on a much more fundamental level as well. Speaking to GamesRadar, game director Mike Daly said, “Ratchet’s core movement is faster and more responsive, with faster and smoother transitions from move to move, making Ratchet feel more agile than ever.”
So, with so many weapons in the game, how exactly will progression and upgrades work? Well, if you’re familiar with the series, they’ll work the way you’re probably expecting. Essentially, the more you use a weapon, the more it’ll level up, and eventually unlock new abilities- which means that Rift Apart will let you play how you want. Of course, there will be some enemies that will require specific strategies, but by and large, the game’s progression mechanics will allow you to focus on whichever weapons you like best.
Ratchet and Clank games have a long history of regularly putting the spotlight on Clank as well, and Rift Apart is seemingly going to do so as well. While it remains to be seen whether there will be mainline story sections that will see you controlling Clank (it’s possible, at least), there will for sure be some optional stuff. For instance, it’s been confirmed that the game will have dimensional Clank puzzles, and the brief snippet we’ve seen of them so far makes it look like they will be navigation puzzles and challenges that will task you with escorting a number of holographic Clanks through a gate.
There’s going to be challenge encounters to engage with as well, and more than just one kind. Glitch challenges will seemingly let you play as a mechanical spider of sorts in what looks like a digital scape, while Arena challenges will put you in Ratchet’s shoes. It seems like both of these will be combat focused, though Insomniac are yet to share more details on these so far, other than the fact that they exist.
MORE OPTIONAL CONTENT
Beyond glitch challenges, arena challenges, and Clank puzzles, it still seems like there’s going to be more optional content to dive into. There are gold bolts to collect, of course, which series fans will be familiar with- these are always fun little additional challenges, and make for rewarding platforming sections, so it should be interesting to see how they’re implemented here. Meanwhile, the game also has pocket dimensions, which also look like self-contained optional areas to tackle with their own challenges and rewards- though again, more details on these are yet to be shared.
Challenge mode has been a mainstay of the Ratchet and Clank series for a long, long time, and it’s going to come back in Rift Apart as well. Once you’ve finished the game, you will be able to start another save while carrying over plenty of your progress, including several gadgets, your upgraded weapons, and more. Yeah, it’s basically New Game Plus, and it offers a much greater level of challenge as well, as the name implies.
Rift Apart is going to be a dream game for Trophy hunters, it seems, because it looks like the game is going to have a relatively easy Platinum. Speaking recently in an interview with IGN India, game director Mike Daly said Rift Apart’s Platinum doesn’t waste your time, and can be obtained in one playthrough, depending on how you play. He said: “I can say our Trophy design for this game is again, pretty permissive. You can achieve it on one playthrough, though you need to be pretty thorough in how you approach the game. So if you’ve explored the nooks and crannies, if you’ve engaged with the upgrade systems, then you can get it without an inordinate amount of time invested. I know that this sort of breaks with some of the games of the distant past where we always wanted some crazy stretch trophy that had you doing a bunch of work. If you are the type of player who just really embraces the game and loves it, we are going to make it possible to get the Platinum without wasting your time.”
FRAME RATE AND RESOLUTION
Ratchet and Clank games always look and run great, but Rift Apart seems like it’s going to be on a whole another level, and may very well be a proper PS5 showcase. So what can we expect from the game in terms of performance and resolution? Well, it’ll have graphics modes favouring each- one mode that will run the gam at 4K and 30 FPS, and another that will run at 60 frames per second but at a lower resolution. Exactly what that lower resolution will be remains to be seen.
Rift Apart is looking to take full advantage of the PS5’s hardware, it seems, with its impressive visuals, 60 FPS support, how it leverages the SSD, its DualSense implementation, and more. There’s also ray-tracing support, which looks quite impressive and quite extensive, right down to the tiniest details- hell, things such as Clank’s shiny surface and even Ratchet’s eyes are ray-traced. Given how well ray-tracing was implemented by Insomniac in Spider-Man Remastered and Miles Morales, we’re excited to see how they fare in a game built natively and exclusively for the PS5.
When Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart launches, you’ll have the option to purchase a digital deluxe edition as well. But in addition to the base game, what exactly will it include? There’ll be five armour sets for you to don and show off in the game’s photo mode, an entire sticker pack for the photo mode, a digital soudtrack, a digital art book, and 20 pieces of Raritarium in the game. It will cost $79.99.