The introduction to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is one to remember. Your PlayStation 5 will be completely wrung out in a short period of time. The controller, the ray tracing, the SSD: no aspect remains unexploited. And the good news? It stays that way for almost the entire game.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is probably the most beautiful console game we’ve ever played. The lighting and HDR are phenomenal. The ray tracing, for example on Clank’s body or on smooth floors, steals the show in every screenshot taken. The funny and colorful house style is fantastic, thanks in part to the beautiful character models and almost Pixar-like animation. When all kinds of particles and other objects are flying around, the difference between this game and the older animation films is difficult to see.
How you experience those graphics is not only your screen. The game has two 60 fps modes: one with and one without ray tracing. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is also playable at thirty frames per second, with the game running in 4k resolution and with all the bells and whistles turned on. Dips in the frame rate are not an issue in all views. We preferred to play in 60 fps mode with ray tracing.
But whichever mode you choose, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart knows how to impress graphically. And the game is a good showcase of the PlayStation 5 controller’s haptic triggers and rumble sensors. The use of the DualSense is reminiscent of Astro’s Playroom in almost everything. You can feel raindrops tapping in your hands and the bass of disco music rumbles through your controller. You keep bumping into new things that make inventive use of the DualSense.
Rift Apart is also the first PlayStation 5 game to use the SSD as part of the gameplay. The game does much more with it than ‘put you nice and fast in the game world’. After all, the lightning-fast storage in the PlayStation makes it possible to alternate between different game worlds at a rapid pace. Developer Insomniac Games definitely delivers on that promise. As we know from the trailers, in this game you jump smoothly from dimension to dimension via purple portals.
That’s continuously impressive, but mind you, it certainly doesn’t happen continuously. Insomniac Games is quite reserved with this game mechanic. It seems that the developer wants to prevent the portals from feeling ‘gimmicky’. Traveling between dimensions is mainly discussed during chaotic moments. Those are often the moments when you expect such hectic pace. And that’s fine, because it never gets boring or annoying.
That does not alter the fact that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart ultimately tells a light-hearted story, and is not a great epic. The game plays with the idea of dimensions, but don’t expect quantum physics in your action platformer. The game is clearly written so that children can understand everything. That’s not a criticism at all, but it’s something to consider if Rift Apart is your first Ratchet & Clank game. Then you can appreciate the scarce allusions to adults much better.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is otherwise very similar to the 2016 remake. The gameplay largely relies on the same pillars. Bit of fighting, bit of grinding on rails, bit of platforming. That doesn’t sound very exciting, but because of the decoration and the frantic pace, the gameplay is never boring. The game does its best to vary the regular fighting action. Every now and then you have to defeat viruses with a cute drone in mainframes and the planets burst from mini bosses.
Ultimately, it is the weapons from which the action derives its impetus. There is so much to choose from. Take the sniper rifle that slows down time or a drone that bombards enemies with clusters. Our personal favorites are the weapons you use to summon AI-controlled auxiliaries. If you use them all at once, you can create an impressive army of turrets, floating purple blobs and bumping green subjects in seconds. Because of all the violence on your screen you hardly see your enemies anymore. Apparently you can also play Ratchet & Clank as a kind of necromancer.
It’s a lot of fun to experiment with the weaponry, and it’s impressive how the game keeps introducing new interesting weapons . Sometimes, bored of two weapon wheels, the offer can even be a bit overwhelming. You should also keep in mind that you probably won’t unlock everything in your first play session. If you do want to do that, the ‘battle arena’ is the best way to collect everything. Oh, and another tip: Rift Apart is a fairly easy game. So if you have some experience with a controller, it’s best to go for the Hard difficulty.