2016 saw Ratchet & Clank striving for Hollywood stardom with the release of their very own feature film. The news that a new game would also be launching just ahead of their movie probably caused the more cynical minds out there to shout '"cash grab" – especially when it disappointingly turned out to be a remake of their PlayStation debut.
Surprisingly, these worries turned out to unfounded as the film flopped harder than a fish out of water, and Insomniac Games – who was in charge of the other half of this cross media mash-up – delivered a title that actually turned out to not only be one of the best in the series, but one of the best PlayStation 4 games released this year.
"Serving as essentially a Ratchet & Clank mega-mix, this gem is way more than a remaster"
Serving as essentially a Ratchet & Clank mega-mix, this gem is way more than a remaster. Rather than just cranking up the resolution and throwing in some better textures, the time was taken to strip it down and rebuild the original from the ground up. While fiddling under the hood, Insomniac Games took the chance to change up the gameplay, adding in mechanics from some of the later games, which helped make sure there were plenty surprises for players whether they'd played the first game or not.
The selection of weapons also hammered home its greatest hits approach by filling your armoury with tools of destruction from across the series. Sensibly bringing back favourites such as the Groovitron, while also making its own mark with a new weapon – the excellent Pixelizer – the chaotic blasting was still as fun as ever, never outstaying its welcome by changing things up constantly throughout the duo's planet hopping adventure.
Graphically Ratchet & Clank is also a standout, making it arguable one of best looking games released this year. The environments and characters look absolutely beautiful, with the sky boxes alone being enough to make even the most self-respecting writer wheel out the term 'Pixar-like'. Should you also have a PS4 Pro and a 4K TV then playing Ratchet & Clank at a higher resolution with HDR enabled is another welcome treat, upping the ante even more for a title that's already no slouch in terms of visual fidelity.
If there was an endangered video game genre list, then the extremely narrow pigeonhole of the big budget action-platformer would have celebrities queuing up to raise awareness of how close they are to extinction. The scarcity of these sorts of experiences in recent years made Ratchet & Clank feel like a breath of fresh air in 2016, an antidote to modern game design – where the open world and RPG are king – that's more than deserving of its place on our game of the year list.
Did Ratchet & Clank have the Groovitron effect on your mood when it launched earlier this year, or do you reckon that Insomniac Games dropped a clanger? Qwark your own thoughts in the comments section below.