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Insomniac's duo make a stylish and entertaining debut on the PlayStation3...
- Stunning visuals.
- Entertaining romp for everyone.
- Insanely enjoyable weapons.
- Little innovation.
- Shooting sections are a little weak.
- Storyline not as strong as previous games.
Established as one half of the double-act duos taking on mascot duties for the PlayStation2, Ratchet & Clank make a return from their well earned R&R with a debut on the PS3, and it seems their latest adventure couldn't have come quick enough for Sony. In desperate need for strong exclusives, Tools of Destruction may not offer a genre defining experience, but it's still satisfyingly good fun nonetheless and the type of game you just won't find on the Xbox 360.
Caught up in an invasion led by the malevolent Emperor Perceival Tachyon, Tools of Destruction centres upon the duo's attempt to track down an ancient Lombax secret. It turns out that Emperor Tachyon is the last known Cragmite, seeking revenge for his species' near extinction at the hands of the Lombax, whilst Ratchet wants to track the secret down to discover more about his origins. Discovering that Ratchet is the last known Lombax in existence, Tools of Destruction involves plenty of planet-hopping, platform action, with loads of cameo appearance and new characters along the way.
Good Wholesome Shooting Fun
Having taken a break from the duo's adventures with the struggles of Sgt. Nathan Hale against the Chimera in the PS3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man, Insomniac Games' return to Ratchet & Clank immediately feels like familiar territory for anybody accustomed to the duo's previous adventures. The lack of innovation initially comes as a bit of a disappointment, with the exception of visuals a next-generation platformer this isn't. However perhaps what Sony and PlayStation3 needs most is a solid and enjoyable romp, something that Tools of Destruction certainly delivers.
Carrying on the series' inkling for a more intense experience, Tools of Destruction provides the same compelling blend of strong platforming gameplay with a heavy dose of shooting action. Armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weapons crammed with the creativity you'd expect from a Ratchet & Clank title, Tools of Destruction's relentlessly enjoyable action is once again a result of the solid setup. With the full range of strafe, target-lock, and over-the-shoulder camera features, Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction lays the groundwork for the weapons and gadgets to take the centre stage, whether it's ensnaring Ratchet's adversaries to dance like divas on the dance floor with the Gravitron or dealing a nasty surprise with the Plasma Beasts. Similarly to previous titles in the series, excessive use of one particular weapon will upgrade it; however, this time around further abilities can be unlocked by purchasing them with the Raritanium crystals that Ratchet & Clank harvest along the way. Beyond the instantly entertaining appeal, Tools of Destruction's vast array of weapons, gadgets and devices (sounds suspiciously like a Microsoft division) provide the basis for a surprisingly diverse range of tactics needed to defeat the various adversaries and bosses that the duo come up against.
Tools of Destruction takes Insomniac's fetish for imaginative weapons to a natural and successful extension on the SixAxis. Sticking to the formula for success, Tools of Destruction restricts the SixAxis motion-control to subtle but effective sequences. Rotating the pad to control Ratchet in a free-fall sequence reminiscent of the Fifth Element, further uses of the SixAxis include drawing with the Geo Laser to carve a shortcut through walls, guiding the Tornado Launcher's twisters, and steering a glider-enabled Ratchet (thanks to Clank). Thankfully all of these compliment the traditional action rather than put up any frustrating barriers, we just hope PS3 developers continue to take advantage of the joypad in such a manner.
Without wanting to spoil any plot details, Clank takes the central role on a number of occasions. Similarly, to previous games these sections take on a light squad based mechanic, which along with a handful of new tricks provides the variety needed by a modern platformer, and more importantly gives some appreciated prime time to Ratchet's pint-sized sidekick.
Belying the stunning cartoon-like appearance, Tools of Destruction (like its predecessors) packs a deceptively tough challenge, which coupled with the game's layered approach to the script and humour means that once again Ratchet & Clank is a game that virtually everybody can enjoy. Complimenting the combat heavy action, Tools of Destruction provides an ample dose of entertaining, if unremarkable, platforming action and the occasional puzzle to solve. Even less enjoyable are the mediocre space-shooter sequences that did little but leave me strangely longing for some StarFox. There's little in these areas that are particularly noteworthy; solid, satisfying, but we'll wait for Super Mario Galaxy to push the platform genre forwards.
Given the series orientation towards multiplayer in the final chapters on the PS2, it's quite surprising to find Tools of Destruction a solely single-player experience. With a handful of mini-games Tools of Destruction can be rushed through over a weekend, with the only real replay value stemming from Insomniac's traditional selection of Skill Point challenges to achieve on every level.
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