Following on from an earlier review of the Ratchet and Clank game for PS4, I decided it was only apt to return to the game in the series that kicked it all off for me many, many, moons ago. So here’s a review of Ratchet and Clank 2 HD (essentially the same as the original just on the PS3/Vita with a fresh lick of HD paint) that I got round to writing. Enjoy.
Once again, the plot follows Ratchet and Clank, picking up shortly after the point from which their first adventure finished off. The pair find themselves hired by the CEO of the Megacorp facility, Abercrombie Fizzwidget, to recover a stolen ‘experiment’, thus setting in to motion their second colourful and charismatic adventure throughout the Bogon galaxy. Adventures which see the return of the pea-brained Captain Quark, alongside a cast of new characters too. Most notably of these is Angela Cross, who looks suspiciously like a female lombax (although this was never touched upon again), who’s a strong female protagonist that proves equally as capable as Ratchet in saving the galaxy.
Replaying the game’s 10-15 hour campaign in shiny HD on the PS3 brought back many childhood memories, in my opinion this entry is still one of the strongest in the series to date. The gameplay largely stands the test of time and the port over to ps3 with the upgraded sound and visuals, feels smooth, looks sharp and sounds groovy. One downside is that cutscenes haven’t been visually improved and look pretty poor by today’s standard, but whilst that may be the case, they are still watchable and also show just how far games have advanced over the past decade. The cutscenes themselves don’t hinder the overall experience just because they seem a bit fuzzy by today’s standards anyway, it’s just a minor niggle and nothing game-breaking.
All of the things that stood out to me over 10 years ago as improvements over the first game; hoverbike races, space battles and the upgrades available for your ship from Slim Cognito’s Ship Shack are all still here, now in shiny HD gloss. Returning too are the arena battles, found on two different planets, which offer an array of challenges to hone your skills as a gladiator and potentially earn a healthy sum of bolts. Everything handles brilliantly on the PS3 or Vita and appears to have stood the test of time, bringing as much gleeful joy as they did all those years ago.
Ratchet and Clank 2 also featured an improved weapon upgrading system, somewhat RPG-like in its design and saw you levelling up weapons through their use on enemies, over its predecessor and the inclusion of challenge mode too. Essentially this is what would be referred to in modern games as ‘new game plus’, with tougher enemies to defeat but the reward of extra bolts and further upgrades to your weapons as they build up to their ‘ultra’ versions- put one of these in Ratchet’s furry little hands and you’re in for a good time.
Challenge mode also allows you to gain a multiplier for your bolts, which can rise up to twenty provided you don’t take damage, and this multiplier is invaluable when helping to quickly earn 2,000,000 million bolts to buy the game’s best armour and weapon- the Carbonox Armour and R.Y.N.O II respectively. Acquiring them will not only snag you a bronze and silver trophy but the right to call yourself the most badass Lombax in the whole galaxy.
Skill points are also unlockable once more and all of the other collectibles- platinum bolts, sand crystals and moon crystals- are still included in the HD remaster too, the former allowing you to unlock different skins for Ratchet and the latter two a hefty number of bolts when traded in. Unlockable skins are something that transitioned in to the later games, and, whilst it was never personally my thing, having the option available is still another great touch to the game.
Scores on the virtual doors for Ratchet and Clank 2?
8.5/10- To a young boy this game brought with it wonder and amazement, a love of space and the spark of imagination to design his own crazy weaponry, much to the worries of his parents. Over a decade later and I only have to boot up the PS3 or Vita (our actual OG PS2 is long gone by now and replacements aren’t always the most reliable) and I have the opportunity to revisit my favourite game of all time. If you were a fan of the original games on the PlayStation 2, or have never tried them at all, this HD remaster, bundled with the first and third game is definitely worth an investment.