Back in 2002 Insomniac Games released Ratchet and Clank, the first game in what would become one of the most popular series on the PlayStation 2 and 3. Ratchet and Clank 2 was released the following year and Ratchet and Clank 3 followed the year after that. The series didn’t stop there, moving the main series to the PlayStation 3 along with several spin off games too. The Ratchet and Clank Trilogy takes the first three games that started it all and packages them together, remastered in HD for €24.99. This collection was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2012 and is now available for the PlayStation Vita. Idol Minds worked with Insomniac Games on the PlayStation 3 port and Mass Media Inc. worked with them on the Vita port.
With the recent announcement of a Ratchet and Clank movie due out next year it is a good time for this Vita release. The film will be reimagining the origin story of the series’ heroes Ratchet and Clank but this is still a chance to play the original games that inspired it.
If you haven’t played this series before, it follows the adventures of Ratchet and his robot friend Clank trying to protect the universe as they fly around different planets and galaxies fighting a variety of enemies. You mainly control Ratchet but at times you get to use Clank’s different abilities to help out too. When the games were first released they stood apart from the usual mascot style platformers like Spyro, Crash Bandicoot and Sly Cooper by adding shooter elements to the game with a large selection of ever more bizarre weapons for Ratchet to use. The collectable bolts scattered through the game were used as a currency with which you could buy ammo and new weapons.
The first Ratchet and Clank game I played was Tools of Destruction on the PlayStation 3, I’ve played each of the main entries since then but had never played any of the PlayStation 2 games in the series. I wondered when I picked this up would it be worth playing these originals or are they just for nostalgic fans who have already played them and complete newcomers who have never played any games in the series.
At the start screen you get to pick which of the three games you want to play, its probably obvious but I recommend playing them in order if you plan to finish them all so that you can be pleased with the improvements and additions to each game rather than missing the features of Ratchet and Clank 3 while playing the first entry.
Having only played the newer games I didn’t find these as entertaining, understandably a game thats over ten years old is showing its age. The graphics looks good while playing but when it switches to cutscenes they are very grainy. The first game doesn’t have upgradeable weapons or armour which it has become well known for but it is fascinating to see Ratchet’s original design and personality. He is shoeless in this first entry and I personally love his little clawed feet over the boots he wears in every other game. This origin story and design will change with the release of the film next year and a new game will also be released that follows the new origin tale rather than the original.
The second and third games have much more familiar game mechanics and add the role-playing element of letting you upgrade weapons and armour. The more you use a weapon the more experience you get from it, levelling it up and making it more powerful. There is a multiplayer option in Ratchet and Clank 3 too which supports up to eight players on the PlayStation Network.
The Vita controls can be a bit awkward, strafing is mapped to the back touchscreen which doesn’t feel natural when holding the Vita and trying to play.
The three games in this collection aren’t as enjoyable as the more recent entries but it is still interesting to see how the games developed and how all the characters that are now established first meet each other. The witty narrative and humour has been a series staple from the beginning and hasn’t aged. The PlayStation Vita has been getting a lot of HD remastered games from the PlayStation 2 era, some good: God of War, some bad: Jak and Daxter. The Ratchet and Clank Trilogy is thankfully a worthy addition to the console with a lot of fun to be had with these classics. However it is still a collection I would recommend playing on the PlayStation 3 instead because of the Vita’s awkward touchscreen controls, unless the only reason you want these games is to play them on the go. You don’t have to choose between the two versions, this trilogy is part of the cross-buy deal so buying one version gets you the other free.