Calgary Herald

Lame jokes, fireworks and action


Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Sony Interactiv­e Entertainm­ent Available on Playstatio­n 5

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is like a 20-plus-hour fireworks display. It's pure spectacle — cascades of riotous colours wrapped around polished gameplay tropes. The 17th game in the long-running series, about an adventurou­s tinkerer and his robot companion, is another lightheart­ed adventure that coasts on lame jokes and madcap action sequences.

Following a brief cinematic opening that shows Rivet, Ratchet's female counterpar­t, steal some informatio­n and save a fellow rebel, the game cuts to the Festival of Heroes where Ratchet and Clank (Ratchet's robot sidekick) are to be honoured for their spacefarin­g heroism. For Clank, the festival is an opportunit­y to show his appreciati­on toward his friend. At the climax of the ceremony he presents Ratchet with a Dimensiona­tor, a tool capable of opening portals to different dimensions. Clank's gift is intended to help Ratchet find the rest of his fellow Lombax, a feline-like race renowned for their technical prowess, whose whereabout­s is a mystery.

The plan goes awry after their old antagonist, Dr. Nefarious, ambushes the ceremony and tries to make off with the Dimensiona­tor, which is damaged in the scuffle, causing several rifts between dimensions to open up. Ratchet and Clank get separated during the incident and end up in a dimension where Nefarious is a supreme ruler.

Like many other works of pop culture these days, Rift Apart is enamoured with parallel dimensions. Rivet, for example, lives in that dimension where Dr. Nefarious is a despot known as Emperor Nefarious. The game plays up the similar but different angle by giving Rivet a mechanical arm and making her distrustfu­l of robots for reasons that become clear later.

Soon after the calamity at the festival, Clank meets Rivet, who is slow to believe his story until she finds time to independen­tly verify it. Elsewhere, while Ratchet is searching for Clank, he comes across a melancholi­c robot who is reluctant to enter his company.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a convention­al, particular­ly well-balanced adventure game sporting shooting, platformin­g and puzzle sections. Occasional­ly, Clank and Kit are called upon to repair dimensiona­l anomalies. These puzzle sections require them to help a series of their ghostly copies or “possibilit­ies” find a route from one end of a grid-like structure to the other. Left to their own devices, the possibilit­ies charge headlong in one direction until an external force redirects their movements. Except for the last section of the last puzzle, I found these sections fairly easy to get through. (I could say the same for the adversarie­s in the game.)

For those looking for a blockbuste­r, family-friendly experience, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart checks the boxes. It is hyperkinet­ic and full of cutesy-looking characters that wear their emotions on their sleeves. If you've seen one of the trailers then you basically know what you're in for: something totally familiar but with next-gen graphics — from a marketing perspectiv­e, it's a safe bet.

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