The Lombax & Robotic duo return to form in the latest outing
As the last generation of consoles pass the baton of responsibility onto the new generation, they still have a few responsibilities before they can enjoy a peaceful retirement. Whilst many series’ have shifted their attention to shiny new hardware, there are some that have one last effort left in them before they either admit defeat or make the bold step into a new generation.
The Ratchet & Clank series has lost its way somewhat recently and a number of spin-offs has left it feeling overdone and at times, unnecessary. The most obvious highpoints for the dynamic duo were the release of A Crack in Time and the HD re-release of the PS2 titles. Both of which feel a galaxy away from the most recent titles in terms of enjoyment, but there is still time to put it right and Insomniac have one more go to win the lost fans back.
Nexus (or Into the Nexus if you’re outside Europe for some bizarre reason) addresses the main flaws with the spin-offs and returns to the action in a similar vein and story arch as A Crack in Time. Whilst all of the titles have had random plotlines and jettisoned off here, there and everywhere, it never felt like much thought or effort had been put into some of them. A welcome return to form is seen here however as the pair are in the thick of it once more, and the platforming magic we all loved has returned. There’s no silly co-op style shenanigan or defence-based missions; it’s all gravy once more in the R&C universe.
As with all previous titles the game looks good but now, more than ever, there’s that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that it could look even better. Especially if the game were treated to VIP PS4 treatment, which it would be criminal to not even consider doing so in the future. But credit where credit is due; the world is as detailed and shiny as ever and the balance between realism and cartoony environments is once more perfect.
In true Ratchet and Clank fashion, nothing is simple in the life of galactic heroes. Whilst returning with captured witch Vendra and transferring her to a detention centre, a malfunction in the cryosleep storage process enables her to escape. Sending the boarded ship scuttling she escapes with the help of her twin brother Neftin and as you’d expect, a galactic-sized pursuit begins.
Whilst these elements of the story feel familiar, the game also features an unusual concept of morality as Ratchet is coming to terms with both what happened in A Crack in Time, and now (avoiding spoilers) his loss and decisions in this game. It’s a different direction for Insomniac and one that works well for the older gamer, but for the kids playing out there I don’t think a Lombax’s heartache is top of their priorities.
Fortunately there is enough platforming and destruction to make up for the story and plotline for the youngsters as a vast array of weapons and gadgets is at your disposal once more. It’s quite amazing how the team can keep up with creating the ideas for these gadgets as the number they have gone through is phenomenal. The staple blaster and bomb glove are still there to begin with but eventually you are entrusted with weapons such as the Vortex Cannon which opens up a black hole and the Winterizer which freezes nearby enemies. Progression through the game sees these upgrade over time with use and their power becomes more powerful and even more ridiculous than before. If some elements of the story don’t have you chuckling (don’t worry, the humour is still there) then some of the scenarios with enemies and taking them down will.
The new worlds in which you travel through feature the usual ingredients of jumping, gliding, climbing and puzzle-solving but a new gravity mechanic sees some of those changed up a little. There are new puzzle sections which feature anti-gravity mazes that you have to traverse and also anti-gravity fields which allow you to travel up to those section that seem impossible to reach. It’s nothing staggering, but enough to make it feel different enough from the last title.
Into the Nexus
- Looks as good as ever
- Nice new gravity mechanic
- Return to old form
Stay in the Nexus
- Not long enough
- Could look better
Ratchet and Clank: Nexus PS3 ReviewWhen it comes to the crunch, Nexus it still quite a short affair and won’t take many people a significant time to complete. Sure there’s replay value in the repetition of levels and boosting your weapon levels, but between the plethora of new titles available on consoles both new and old it’s hard to see R&C get much attention this time around.
On the flipside however, there is plenty of potential for the future as the PS4 undoubtedly opens up plenty of scope for the series and an expansion in the world and levels could definitely be seen. Nexus shouldn’t be seen as a revolutionary title in the series or one that will keep you going for a significant period of time. It’s good, but not great but also not bad either. It’s one that will tide you over for a few days if you need a break from shouting at angry kids on Call of Duty or stabbing a pirate in the neck in Assassins Creed because, you know, those can be quite distressful.
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