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Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Review

Ratchet and Clank Into the NexusRatchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (Available exclusively on PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action Platformer
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Insomniac
Release Date: November 12th, 2013

Parent Talk: Into the Nexus is rated E10+ for everyone over the ages of 10. It features alcohol references, comic mischief, and fantasy violence. As with every game in the series, it can easily be enjoyed by children and adults alike because of it’s subtle humor, phenomenal graphics, and light-hearted gameplay. This is the darkest Ratchet & Clank released yet, but it’s still perfectly playable for everyone in the family.

Plays Like: Thankfully Into the Nexus plays like the rest of the Future series, in that the focus is on action, platforming, and exploration. It’s a downloadable title (also available on disc), about eight to ten hours in length that shouldn’t be missed by fans of the series. Much like Quest for Booty, it’s a wonderful tide-me-over until the next 20-hour game is released.

Review Basis: Finished the campaign on Normal difficulty.

Let’s be honest with one another, All 4 One, and Full Frontal Assault had their fun parts but couldn’t hold a candle to Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty, and A Crack in Time. These three games were some of the very best action platformers released during the entire generation, and it’s why I’m so pleased Sony and Insomniac decided to end the Future series with a bang. Into the Nexus might not be the 20-hour adventure some long-time fans were hoping for, but it does a perfect job of wrapping up any loose ends, and proves Insomniac has more than a few tricks left up their sleeve for this fantastic series.

The Great:

Even though the series has been around for over a decade now, it still proves fresh and exciting. One of the biggest innovations comes in the form of the Netherverse, another dimension where Clank has to wake a beast, and race back to the entrance with it in hot pursuit. What makes this so interesting is that the right analog stick is used to manipulate gravity, so pulling up on the right analog stick causes everything to shoot upwards. Throw in puzzles, non-stop pits of death, and the fact you have to race back to the entrance all the while manipulating gravity, and you have some of the most intense, and rewarding parts of the entire game.

The other very innovative gameplay mechanic involves the Grav-Tether. This item, which is always equipped, allows Ratchet to activate two platforms and create a funnel which can then be used to travel across. Think of it like the air streams in the Portal series. It makes for not only some creative puzzles, but also some really cool secrets, and hidden areas.

Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus4The Good:

+ The story does a great job of wrapping everything up from the previous games released this generation. While it’s short, it fits the narrative perfectly. Ratchet and Clank are transporting Vendra Prog to prison, when her brother comes to her rescue. The dynamic duo then race off to five different planets in hot pursuit. Along the way, the series’ famous humor shines through, and a wide assortment of familiar faces pop-up to say hello. It’s a great way to say good-bye to this console generation, and welcome something new.

+ There’s also a much greater emphasis on action this time around. Gone are the grind-rails, interactive platforms, and challenging puzzles. They’ve been replaced by more direct methods of transport, and lots and lots of enemies. While this might sound bad, it’s actually a good thing because the weapons are as fun as ever to use.

+ Many classic weapons return from the previous games, such as your typical blaster, rocket launcher, Mr. Zurkon, and more. Each weapon can be upgraded three times, and has an upgrade tree which gives you a lot of freedom in how you enhance your weapon’s abilities. In order to upgrade your weapons you need to find Raritanium, once you have enough you can start unlocking new weapon upgrades at the usual weapon vendor. New weapons also feel fresh, like the Winterizer, which plays holiday chimes while transforming enemies into snowmen.

+ As a whole the game feels tighter and more refined. You can easily zip along with your hover boots, and then activate Clank’s new jet-pack attachment to soar in the air, all without breaking up the action with needless menus.

+ There are also a lot of optional collectibles to find, the classic challenge mode, which increases the difficulty, allows you to power up your weapons even further, and increases overall replay. Basically, if you enjoy this game, there’s plenty of reasons to keep you coming back.

+ Fantastic audio visual experience.  From lush graphics, to a killer soundtrack, Into the Nexus delivers on that Pixar-like quality you’ve come to expect from Insomniac.

Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus2The So-So:

-/+ As happy as I am that the series has returned to its roots, I know there will be people out there who will feel that there has simply been too many Ratchet & Clank games released this generation, and to be perfectly frank, I’m one of them. Into the Nexus marks the duos sixth original game released this generation, seventh if you include the HD remastered version of the original trilogy. That’s just a bit over too much if you ask me. It would have been far more ideal to hold off on the previous two entries, and make this one the grand epic conclusion.

Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus3The Lowdown:

Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is a wonderful way to close out the series on the PlayStation 3. While it doesn’t rewrite the book on action platformers, it continues the tradition and is a must-play for long time fans of the series. One can only hope that Sony will green-light a PS4 game in the coming years because this is a series that deserves to continue for many years to come, just please stop the yearly releases.

Final Score: 8.5/10