Bottom line: Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is this year's summer blockbuster on PS5. Taking players through diverse and gorgeous worlds with excellent combat and platforming, Rift Apart is a ton of fun to play.
- Fantastic opening sequence
- Combat feels satisfying
- The visuals are breathtaking
- Near-instantaneous loading
- Fun story and characters
- A few crashes
- $70 price tag
As one of the PS5's biggest exclusives so far, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart takes the hardware to new levels. This was already evident in its early trailers and gameplay footage, showcasing what the lightning-fast SSD could do for its world and its interdimensional adventure hopping. It's even more pronounced after spending nearly 20 hours with it. Insomniac is at its best here, coming off the already successful releases of Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales the past few years.
To provide some context on my experience with the series, I played the original Ratchet and Clank on PS2 but haven't picked up the series since. Despite taking place after the events of Into the Nexus and the 2016 game, Rift Apart is very accessible to newcomers. I had no issue jumping in, and it stands as an excellent starting point if this is your first Ratchet and Clank game.
With hyper-realistic masterpieces like The Last of Us, God of War, and Horizon Zero Dawn, PlayStation has a solid lineup of flagship franchises. Ratchet and Clank was always a part of the picture, but I don't think it could stand up to some of Sony's other exclusives in the same way. Rift Apart changes that, and I feel like it elevates the series in PlayStation's portfolio.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart — Story and characters
|Title||Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart|
|Play Time||19 hours|
Without spoiling too much, Rift Apart begins when Clank gifts Ratchet a Dimensionator so that he can find other Lombaxes. When Doctor Nefarious crashes the party, things go awry, and the Dimensionator causes a dimensional collapse that sees Ratchet and Clank separated, falling into another universe. From here, the story is all about creating a new Dimensionator while attempting to stop Doctor Nefarious and his counterpart Emperor Nefarious. To do this, Ratchet teams up with Rivet, his own Dimensional counterpart. There are other counterparts to important characters in the game, but I'll let you discover those for yourselves. One, in particular, became one of my favorite characters, and they have a history with Rivet that I was shocked to discover.
The story plays out fairly linearly, though at several points you have the option to choose between two destinations as Ratchet and Rivet complete their own tasks. The action and story reminded me of a Pixar movie (no doubt in part because of the game's graphics). The narrative really emphasized teamwork, despite being a single-player game. Your whole journey to rebuild the Dimensionator wouldn't be possible without your friends and allies. As you travel from planet to planet, you grow attached to the new dimension and its characters.
I liked how the story unfolded between Ratchet and Rivet, giving both characters their moments to shine and developing them in a way that their actions felt earned. As you'll come to find with Ratchet, he's having second thoughts about if he wants to find other members of the Lombax species because he's afraid of being a disappointment. Quieter, introspective moments like this stand out.
It should come as no surprise that everything, for the most part, works out in the end as our heroes save the day — in a spectacular fashion, I might add. What interests me even more now is how Insomniac plans to follow it up, because the ending clearly indicates Ratchet and Rivet's adventure is just beginning.
I've put in around 19 hours or so with a 100% completion rate and 43/47 trophies at the time of writing this. The main campaign should probably take around 13-15 hours if you don't do any of the side missions or go for all of the collectibles.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart — Gameplay
Gameplay in Rift Apart — from its combat to platforming and traversal — is exceptional. I loved every second I was holding the controller (Rift Apart also takes advantage of the DualSense's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers), so much so that as I'm writing this, I just want to hop back in and play it. There are few games that I can say the same for.
Ratchet and Rivet both have access to the same pool of weapons, gadgets, and armor, regardless of which character finds or purchases it. It doesn't make much sense when you think about it, but it makes for a better gameplay experience in the end. You don't have to worry about not having the right tools at the right moment, and this also means you don't have to spend double your money at Ms. Zurkon.
Speaking of Ms. Zurkon, she's your one-stop shop for all of your weapons. You won't have them all unlocked from the get-go, but you'll be able to purchase more and more as you progress through the story. These weapons range from your standard Burst Pistol to wackier ones like the Topiary Sprinkler and Cold Snap, transforming your enemies into topiaries and blocks of ice, respectively. While I wouldn't say ammo is hard to come by, you'll definitely be using every weapon at your disposal as one or two usually isn't enough to win a fight.
Forcing you to use most of your weapons is actually a good thing in this case, as you can only level up individual weapons the more you use them. Do it enough, and you can unlock special abilities and damage buffs that can be incredibly helpful.
Considering its boss battles are often grand, theatrical moments that see you battle against an enemy impossibly larger than you, you'll be happy you leveled up your gear.
There are even moments where you get to play as Clank and solve a handful of environmental puzzles. The nice thing about this is that the game gives you the option to completely skip these puzzles if you're stuck. There are no penalties for skipping a puzzle, and this level of accessibility only makes me like Rift Apart even more. Still, I'm a sucker for puzzles, and I did end up completing all but one without using this feature.
Aside from the dimensional rifts, which instantaneously pull you across sections of the map, there's nothing really groundbreaking here, but that isn't a bad thing. It's more of what people love about Ratchet and Clank polished to perfection.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart — Graphics and performance
I didn't have access to the game's Performance Mode ahead of launch, so I played Rift Apart entirely in Fidelity Mode, which supports 4K resolution and ray-tracing. Like the trailers, everything in Rift Apart looks absolutely stunning. It's like I'm playing a new animated movie from Disney. The lighting effects and ray-tracing make it especially beautiful, and it does wonders for the game's atmosphere.
As far as performance goes, Rift Apart did crash a few times on me, one of which was at the same area when I went to purchase something from Ms. Zurkon. This fixed itself after I went back to my ship. Insomniac is aware of this, and a day one patch looks to address performance issues that players may experience. That said, these crashes never occurred during combat or anything. They always happened when I interacted with a character or object, so it didn't ruin my experience; it was just annoying.
Aside from that, the game runs extremely well, and I was impressed by the power of the SSD. There are virtually no loading screens at all, and even going from the PS5 home screen to in-game takes maybe 10-15 seconds at most. And pulling Rivet and Ratchet through various rifts found throughout each map is as smooth as can be. I can't imagine how Rift Apart would be playable on PS4 in any way without fundamentally changing how its gameplay works.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart — Should you play it?
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is well worth giving a shot, in my opinion, but I know not everyone will be comfortable spending $70, especially when it can be platinumed in 20 hours or less. That's a steep asking price. If it were to release into PlayStation Now or PlayStation Plus, it'd be much more accessible. Without factoring in the price, though, it's a fantastic game. And if you have the extra money to spend this summer, I highly recommend grabbing Rift Apart.
4.5 out of 5
Insomniac's proven once again that it's at the top of its game, and it doesn't look like anything will slow the developer down. With a lot of upcoming exclusives like God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West being cross-generational, it's nice to see Rift Apart get the PS5 treatment it deserves, and it works out in its favor.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Bottom line: Longtime series fans and newcomers alike owe it to themselves to play Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. It's an excellent addition to the beloved franchise that proves you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.
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