Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart uses the power of the PS5 to put on a stunning display, highlighted by bombastic action, plenty of humor, and heart.
Since its trailer debut, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart has been poised to take on the role of PlayStation 5 showpiece. Designed from the ground up for Sony’s next-gen console, the latest entry in the long-running third-person action platformer series has set its sights on two goals: being impressive and being fun. And despite a little familiarity in the narrative department, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart more than succeeds in those endeavors.
As the 16th installment in the Ratchet and Clank series, Rift Apart has a lot of history to build on. Fans have explored the history of the Lombax, time paradoxes, and a number of other zany scenarios that serve as perfect action platforming fodder. They know exactly what they are getting into when it comes to the Ratchet and Clank series, and Insomniac Games typically doesn’t shy away from that. There is a familiarity to the setup in Rift Apart that hits all the expected notes, even if there aren’t a lot of surprises.
As the title implies, Ratchet and Clank are once again separated but working together for a common goal. Ratchet is sometimes flying solo before meeting a new partner named Kit, while Clank is paired up with Rivet, the mysterious female Lombax voiced by video game veteran Jennifer Hale. R&C have found themselves in a different dimension thanks to Dr. Nefarious and they must find a way to get home while contending with the likes of Pirates, Goons, and indigenous monsters. Rift Apart has a lot of the same planet-charting excitement of past games, only with next-gen polish. The humor is still on point and there are a lot of fun characters to meet along the way, and there are some great moments for longtime fans of the series.
It may feel routine, but Rift Apart has enough heart to help keep things moving and enjoyable. Rivet is a great addition to the roster, bringing new dimensions to the characters of both Ratchet and Clank through their interactions, while also developing her own story as well. The alternate dimension concept is mined for all it’s worth and Insomniac makes sure to pack as many story beats for longtime fans. At its core, Ratchet and Clank puts an emphasis on family friendly fun and Rift Apart is no different.
Even though the characters have become defacto mascots for Sony, Ratchet and Clank the game has always been about the arsenal and Rift Apart takes things to new heights thanks to the PS5. Old standbys (or riffs on old standbys) are still present but the ingenuity on display for new and revamped weapons is simply staggering. With the power of the PS5, simple weapons take on a ton of personality thanks to the destruction they can cause. Firefights are simply dazzling with the way that particle effects splash across the screen, and the interplay between the different weapon types is always exciting. Juggling the weapons is a bit clunky with the two-page weapon wheel, but it’s not a huge hindrance in the grand scheme of things.
Oftentimes players will find a handful of favorites in shooters and stick to only those. But in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart there are so many fun weapons with diverse functions that it’s hard to choose. There are weapons that pack pure damage like the massive Devastator shotgun or Warmonger rocket launcher. Weapons that are about crowd control like the grenade-like Shatterbomb and the Topiary Sprinkler, which completely covers enemies with leaves. And weapons that are pure Ratchet and Clank, like the helper minion Mr. Fungi and the aptly named Pixelizer. Players might be crippled by choice but the game actively encourages using each weapon through its XP-based leveling system. As players use a weapon they will earn XP for it and unlock 5 different levels, before the final form changes the weapon in some clever ways. Each level unlocks new nodes on the upgrade board like more ammo reserves, faster fire rates, and damage, as well as more unique upgrades that are earned by unlocking all of the nodes around it.
Switching between over a dozen different weapons helps keep each enemy encounter feeling fresh but also looking incredible. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a stunning game to look at, from every conceivable angle. The designs of Ratchet and Clank have never looked better thanks to fur textures on the former and reflective metal textures on the latter. And each planet that players visit has a distinct design sensibility and style. Many of these environments should be familiar in terms of their tone and theme, but players have never seen them rendered in such detail as this. Then, when things start moving the game kicks it into another gear.