Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chamberlain and Chance on Ratchet & Clank : Into the Nexus.

As it turns out - and contrary to recent precedent - the new Ratchet & Clank is actually a Ratchet & Clank game.  It's not an R&C themed MOBA, it's not a glorified rail shooter - it's a game in which a funny and adorable planet-hopping Lombax and his Dry Wit-Bot saves the universe from behind the barrels of a dozen insane-o weapons.

It's exactly what you want a Ratchet & Clank game to be.  Yes, it's thirty bucks and about a quarter the length of a proper R&C game, but it's beautiful, it's funny and it's fun.

It's fun.  And I'll admit, after All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault, I was kinda' scared for it.

CHANCE : I am shocked - shocked! - by how pleasurable this is.  I've put about three hours into it (cleared 3 planets and 2 arena cups), and it's already terribly evident how truncated it intends to be as I max out the upgrades on weapons with thirty minutes' worth of use, but it totally delivers the pleasures I look for in a Ratchet & Clank game.  I'm wandering big, cool-looking worlds with crazy guns, blowing crap up, collecting bolts and upgrading my gear.

And the writing is pretty awesome this time around too.

CHAMBERLAIN : I am not shocked because we knew that Insomniac had this in them but I am very happy that they remembered what a Ratchet and Clank game should be. After All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault I was beginning to get worried. This is a last minute return to form.

If we weren't literally on the cusp of new hardware the length would bother me, but only because I want more. Each area is visually distinct and fun to explore. The weapons feel just a bit worn out, with the same mix of ones that I will use all the time and others that I will never touch, but the return of Mr. Zurkon means that all is forgiven.

Are the twins characters from the PS2 games? I don’t remember them showing up the Future series. The space witch calling Ratchet out on not finding the rest of his race was heart breaking.

"The twins" are Vendra (not pictured) and Neftin Prog, Nexus's villanous duo.

CHANCE :I think Nexus is the first time we've seen either of them, but I like them as a pair.  Vendra comes across as very powerful but understandably wounded, and her brother's arc is pretty satisfying, so far.

I too cannot help but love Mr. Zurkon (and family) - they're hilarious, and certainly pack a punch once you've upgraded them fully - but I'll admit, a part of me still pines for the Agents of Doom (remember those?  Little ball-shaped robots with feet who would merely say "heheh" when thrown onto the battlefield before charging the nearest enemy and self-detonating?).

I feel like I'm a bit better than halfway through Nexus (the last three horns in the swamp can go to Hell), but it's already sparked a desire in me for an R&C game on PS4.

Just please, God, don't let Sanzaru develop.

CHAMBERLAIN : I'm going to make a run at the game tonight and try to finish it before heading out to pick up my PS4. After that I have no idea when I am going to play it.

CHANCE : Same here.  I'm gonna' play it 'till 22:00, watch the Spike launch special (side note : the Spike launch special was awful) and leave to get in line at 23:00.  The fear of getting one of the faulty units is gnawing at me like a demented capybara.

CHAMBERLAIN : As someone who had three 360s red ring, I know exactly how you feel.

* * *

o  n  e     h  o  u  r     l  a  t  e  r

* * *

CHANCE : Just finished Into the Nexus.  I need someone to explain to me why it's called Into the Nexus

(of the minor variety)

CHAMBERLAIN : I think it's a tease about the next series. The last thing Clank does is steal the Dimentionator. I see him trying to fix it, Ratchet trying to use it and them ending up somewhere else, somewhere between universes.

A nexus. Good stuff. If I wasn't about to get in the car I would be upset that it was already over. Definitely better than Quest for Booty was.

CHANCE : I don't think anyone was thrilled with the bar set so low.  So here's the question: is Into the Nexus worth thirty dollars? 

Another way to put it - did you really get half the pleasure out of ItN that you got out of A Crack in Time or Tools of Destruction?  I'm leaning towards a quarter.  


$15 perhaps. 

But I don't know if that is a fair question. You could spend $60 on a bad game and get nothing out of it or $2.99 on an indie game and get lucky. 

If dollars per hour was the only metric then I would play nothing but Street Fighter and Rock Band. I enjoyed Into the Nexus AND it was too short, not but it was too short.

CHANCE : That's a perfect way to put it.

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