Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart review – The best reason yet to buy a PS5
Ratchet & Clank are back in the dimension-hopping PS5 exclusive Rift Apart. It’s the iconic duo’s first major new adventure since the bygone days of the PS3, and we’re glad to say, it more than lives up to the hype.
Gamers who are lucky enough to have snagged a PS5 have been waiting for a blockbuster game to properly demonstrate the power of their new machine. Out of the slew of remasters and multi-platform releases emerges Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which could well be the answer they’ve been searching for.
Taking full advantage of the console’s ultra-fast SSD and DualSense features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, Rift Apart is a highly imaginative and insanely fun shooter-platformer that moves at breakneck speed and barely affords room to breathe as you explore all it has to offer.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – Key Details
- Price: $69.99
- Developer: Insomniac Games
- Release Date: June 11, 2021
- Platforms: PS5
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart trailer
A true showcase for the PS5’s power
Insomniac Games waste no time showing off what the PS5 is really capable of in Rift Apart. After a brief cutscene where Ratchet asks, “What if everyone thinks we’re washed up?” – a fun, tongue-in-cheek nod to their years out of the gaming spotlight – our loveable heroes emerge to a victory parade in honor of their past achievements, and it truly is a ‘wow’ moment.
Hundreds of cheering creatures spread out into the distance and a rainbow of colors pop off the screen. Tiny vibrations pulse through the corresponding side of the controller with every step Ratchet takes. When you approach a cannon, smacking it with your wrench will cause it to shoot out an explosion of confetti. It’s these joyful moments that make you remember you’re playing a next-gen title, and there’s plenty of them to discover.
Rift Apart also makes the best use of the new DualSense features we’ve experienced since Astro’s Playroom. When walking around Club Nefarious, for example, the controller will rumble in time with the bassline so you really feel the music, and when taking on robot enemies, subtle yet unique sounds buzz out of the speaker, making the experience just that little bit more immersive.
On a purely superficial level, this game is absolutely gorgeous to look at, too. Ratchet’s adorably fuzzy face is full of expression, Clank is shinier than ever before, and each world you’ll visit is a visual treat in its own right. with unique creatures, villains, and environmental features to take in. If Pixar made a sci-fi movie, it’d probably look something like this.
Light on story, heavy on action
Longtime villain Dr Nefarious is back once again, only this time, he’s stolen the Dimensionator and taken our heroes to another world where he ‘always wins’ and civilians live under his oppressive surveillance. The Dimensionator breaks, sending the world into chaos and leading Ratchet and Clank on a mission to build a new one to get back home. It’s nothing heavy – and there’s no denying plot isn’t Rift Apart’s strongest point – but it’s a perfectly acceptable story to get the action pumping.
It’s here, in this dangerous new world, that we meet a new female Lombax called Rivet. She’s this dimension’s version of Ratchet, and players will be splitting their time equally between the two characters, as each planet is pre-assigned to one or the other. Ratchet and Rivet play almost exactly the same, and even share the same weaponry – although we have to say, Rivet is a slightly more likable hero.
Full-throttle from the get-go
Rift Apart does things in excess, and as a result, it can often feel like binging on too many sugary sweets and watching a very loud children’s TV show. Whether you’re grinding rails around a gargantuan robot known as The Fixer, smashing your way through wise-cracking enemies as bolt pickups shower across the screen, or catapulting yourself into other dimensions with the new Rift Tether, Insomniac have thrown everything they have at this game. And it works, because Rift Apart feels expensive.
Speaking of the Rift Tether, this high-tech gadget is Rift Apart’s shiny new gameplay feature, and the one you might have seen shown off in the trailers. It’s not quite as dramatic as early footage suggested – you won’t be hopping through multiple worlds in a row outside of cinematics, sadly – but it’s still a lot of fun. You can use the gadget to teleport yourself across wide chasms or towards enemies, and even venture into mini dimensions to fix anomalies and find treasures.
This feature is utilized best in Blizar, one of the many planets you’ll visit on your journey. Whack a crystal here, and what appears at first to be a broken, apocalyptic wasteland ends up transforming into a bright mining planet bustling with chattering creatures. Completing this mission requires you to switch back and forth between the two dimensions, find hidden crystals and move them about, and of course, tackle hordes of enemies along the way.
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There is some respite from the chaos. At certain points, you’ll control a tiny hacking robot known as Glitch and eliminate viruses inside computers, while helping it overcome imposter syndrome (it’s very cute).
Later, in a series of Lemmings-inspired levels, you’ll get to become Clank as he attempts to fix dimensional anomalies by guiding holograms known as ‘Clank Possibilities’ through hazards like buzzsaws and deadly drops. Using various spheres that reduce gravity or boost speed, you’ll need to figure out the correct sequence to progress. These mini levels are a welcome break, and help keep things fresh.
A jam-packed arsenal to wreak havoc with
The bread and butter of any Ratchet & Clank game is the high-tech weaponry on offer, and Rift Apart certainly doesn’t disappoint in that department. You’ll start out with just a basic Burst Pistol, but quickly gain access to Mrs Zurkon, the peppy robot merchant who’ll sell you weapons ranging from defensive to devastating. You can also upgrade them using Raritanium, the game’s primary collectible.
Weapons fall into two categories: Guns, like the Negatron Collider and the Buzz Blade (which fires bouncing blades to slice and dice your enemies), and Gloves that launch projectiles like the Shatterblast. They’re not all about dealing pure damage, either; the Topiary Sprinkler, for example, stuns enemies by turning them into foliage, while Mr Fungi sends out a cute animated mushroom to distract your opponents – both perfect in a tight spot. Some don’t quite hit the spot in combat, but they’re all at least fun to try out.
These wacky weapons also make great use of the DualSense features (we really can’t praise them enough). The perfect example is the double-barrelled shotgun known as The Executor: Press the trigger halfway for one shot, or all the way for a double shot. The explosive Drillhound works in a similar method, with a light press locking on to your target and a full press unleashing the powerful homing missile. Again, it’s small features like these that show off how much love and care has gone into making Rift Apart feel special.
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Aside from weaponry, Ratchet and Rivet can also unlock pieces of armor by taking part in arena battles or closing Rifts. Each piece offers a bonus like decreased damage from a specific enemy, be that Pirates or Goons-4-Less. In a nice touch, all armor pieces have multiple color schemes to choose from, offering a ‘lite’ version of character customization for those who prefer their heroes blazing pink or neon green. Gold Bolts are another fun, if slightly less important, collectible, unlocking novelty old-school cheats like replacing bolt pickups with Zelda-inspired rubies or energy drink cans.
It may not bring anything totally groundbreaking to the table, but Rift Apart does what it sets out to do incredibly well. It’s uncomplicated, low-stakes fun that flashes by at incredible speed and sweeps you up in how chaotic it all is. Whether you’re a longtime Ratchet & Clank fan or you’re dropping into the series for the first time, there’s just so much to love here. We can’t recommend it enough.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a technical marvel that looks amazing and pushes the PS5 to its limits, but most importantly, it’s ridiculously enjoyable to play. If you’ve been waiting for an experience to truly show off what the new generation of consoles can do, look no further.
Reviewed on PS5