Ratchet and Clank, one of the staples of the Playstation has had a very impressive past, both critically and commercially. The blend of cutting-edge graphics and great intuitive gameplay has meant that this game has grown its fan base. Sony released Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters for the PSP last year and, baring a couple of technical issues, was received exceptionally well.
As Sony is inclined to do with its successful portable games (see Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories), it wasn’t long before word leaked out that Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters was getting the port to the Playstation 2, allowing the developers the chance to polish the title to perfection, right?
Well, not really. As it seems with most PSP ports, the game just isn’t quite right blown up on our TV screens. The little things that the PS2 superior controls and processing power should have fixed are still broken. The addition of the second analog stick does nothing to arrest some alarming camera issues; while the graphics are still bland and uninspiring compared to the rest of the series.
It’s these camera issues which will cause the most frustration for players and devotees of the Ratchet and Clank cult. It’s not a common occurrence, just one that will get galling the longer you play into the game. Step anywhere near the corner of a game map and the camera will have more personality disorders than Britney Spears, showing you almost every conceivable angle except for the one you actually want (and need) to look at.
The multiplayer aspect of Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters has also been criminally neglected in terms of “what could have been.” A few two-player split-screen modes which seem a little too similar are “complimented” by an attempt at a capture the flag innovation that really holds no incentive for gamers to give even a cursory play through.
That being said, it isn’t all doom and gloom for Ratchet fans. The game still plays like the Ratchet of old and has a ton of great additions that make it exciting to play when it works like it should. The weapons are still top notch and the levels are nicely varied across the science-fiction realm that the series inhabits.
Finding the right set of armour to go with the right set of weapons will lead to a much more powerful version of Ratchet and gives the title a great deal more depth, and reminds players of the better moments of Up Your Arsenal. While the game may not be great, in patches it is very good, it’s just all a little disappointing given the storied history of the franchise.
Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters still fits in reasonably well with the rest of the series in that it possesses an undeniable sense of style that comes from playing the iconic pair. Gamers will still find themselves sucked into hours of collecting bolts and upgrading their weapons until they possess the most uber of guns to destroy the increasingly more challenging enemies.
This one is only for the hardcore Ratchet fans out there, and whilst the PSP version may be one of the best games on the portable, this port simply isn’t good enough to bear the legendary title of Ratchet and Clank. The sad thing is that this version will probably be able to reach a larger market than the PSP version, which is in almost every way superior. Even more disappointingly, this port comes mere months after the series seemingly reached it’s zenith with the Playstation 3 Ratchet and Clank: Future Tools of Destruction; a game which any frenzied fan boy owes to themselves to pick up instead.