Well then, here I am talking about ANOTHER Ratchet and Clank game. I seriously don’t know why I didn’t want to play this series at first. Maybe it was because, like the Jak and Daxter franchise, each year after the first game was released, they came out with a sequel. It’s like the Guitar Hero and Rockband ordeal we are dealing with right now. Now, I am not saying this series is bad. I mean, I have only played three of their games, though the first two don’t age that well in areas. The first was funny and had a lot of the series staples in voice acting and writing, but it felt underwhelming and tedious at times. The second game was definitely better, but got WAY too hard near the end of the game. So, here I am talking about the third game, Ratchet and Clank: Up your Arsenal! I don’t know if I am going to review Deadlock as part of this retrospective, but since we have a new game coming out this year called Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, I think I will talk about what I consider the best game of the PS2 games in the series. So, let’s blast our way through Ratchet and Clank: Up your Arsenal.
The story takes place at the home of our two main heroes Ratchet and Clank as they are watching television and come across a news report about Ratchet’s home planet being under attack by an alien group called Tyhrranoids. After taking the aliens out, they find out that an evil mad scientist robot thing named Dr. Nefarious is behind all this and it is up to Ratchet and Clank to team up with some old friends and take him down. The story is basically a cat-and-mouse chase to stop Dr. Nefarious that will give you a good amount of play time for your dollar.
The gameplay is yet again like the past two games with running, gunning, puzzle solving, and vehicle combat. You again control Ratchet who can use a huge arsenal of weapons like the Suck Cannon, Blitz Gun, Agents of Doom, Flux Rifle, Quack-o-Ray, Spitting Hydra, and the Shock Blaster. You can upgrade each gun by using it more and more, and the more you use it, the better it gets. My favorite has to be the Quack-o-Ray since you can turn enemies into ducks. It is just pure awesome sauce. The Clank sections are more or less the same with some mixing up going on, like going through a stage set as Clank to being inside a giant robot suit. Clank still has his little minions, but can also use a gun that shoots a banana that is used to solve puzzles with his one-eyed monkey sidekick. This is also the first game that has multiplayer where you can choose what you look like, and can play through typical multiplayer settings like Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Siege. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing back when this game was out, but since this was the first game to have multiplayer, it was pretty good. There is also more vehicle combat in this game. There are also a lot more missions in each level, where they get harder, but you can gain more bolts. One more thing I almost forgot to put in is that there are more Colosseum-like challenges with some tricky platforming mixed into it if you need to get more money for weapons and armor.
The graphics still hold up pretty well by today’s standards. You can say it looks just like Going Commando and, while yes it does look like the second game, it still looks nice. The enemies and characters have such nice animation that it gives them more personality. The music is also nice to listen to, but, in my opinion, is nothing special. The voice acting however is just awesome as usual. The usual two voice actors for Ratchet and Clank, James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye, do their typically good job and deliver cleverly written lines. However, the best new voice talent to come into this game voices the evil antagonist Dr. Nefarious, Armin Sherman. Now, just to put it on the record, I think Dr. Nefarious is one of the best villains of all time. I just love this villain. He isn’t an evil maniacal fiend (well, not fully). He, literally, just has a few screws loose that make him insanely funny and somewhat threatening. He is kind of like Ratigan from the Great Mouse Detective or Hades from Hercules, where he is funny to listen to but is threatening too, since he could snap at any moment and blow something up. He wouldn’t know what it would blow up, but he would blow something up. I think one of the things that makes him funny is that he will freeze up at times and have soap opera recordings play until his butler slaps him outside the head. The other thing is his butler Lawrence, voiced by Michael Bell, is just so nonchalant about his disrespect for Nefarious in such a calm monotone. These two just make the perfect villain duo because of how they work off each other. Insomniac definitely knew that they were doing when making these two villains.
However, there are some faults with this game that still haven’t been fixed much from past games, and they just annoy the heck out of me. The final boss fight with Dr. Nefarious is complete and utterly unfair! I mean seriously, here is how it goes down. You first fight Nefarious with some easily dodgeable attacks, and then he starts throwing these blue and black shock bomb things, which are pretty hard to see if you don’t watch carefully. After you use up half of your weapons to take down half of his health, he flies off and then you have to run through hordes of the toughest enemies in the game, and you can’t have any source or way of reloading all of your ammo for your guns, and very little health when you’re running through the field. You then fight him a second time, and his attacks are faster, and you’re forced to use other weapons that barely do anything. It makes it so much harder than it needs to be if you don’t get the best armor in the game. Good luck getting it though, because it’s like a million or so bolts. Again, the problem with this game is that everything is way too expensive still. They fixed it up a tiny bit, but still, it’s very annoying. Another thing I don’t like is that when you complete those stadium challenges, the prize money drops. This means it’s going to take forever if you are trying to gain every last bolt for the best weapons and armor. Some areas in the game are also way too tedious. A few examples is going through Quark’s secret HQ, the invasion on the main hub ship, and well, the final boss. Another thing that I think hurts this game by today’s standards is that it feels like not a lot has changed in the PS2 series of the games. I mean, it just builds upon and fixes the problems the past game had, but you still play very short areas with Clank and, I don’t know, something just didn’t feel right about the PS2 series of games as a whole to me. Don’t get me wrong. I love the second and third game, but I don’t know. I hear that the PS3 series of games is better, and I won’t do a review of Deadlock due to it not being considered a real part of the storyline.
Overall though, this is a good game, definitely one of the best on the PS2, and I would highly recommend checking it out and buying it along with the second game if you like it. I am definitely looking forward to reviewing the PS3 games since it actually has a progressive form, and from what I have seen, a good story. I am also excited about the new Ratchet and Clank All-4-One. Ratchet and Clank is definitely a good series of games and are all pretty solid. I say, check out the first three PS2 games, and then try out the PS3 games. I might have been a little rough on this game, but here is just a quick summary. First, game is okay, but doesn’t age well. The second game is also really good, but is really hard. The third PS2 game is also very good, but didn’t feel really different from the last two games. So, yeah, signing off and thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more of the Ratchet and Clank Retrospective for the first PS3 game in the series, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction for the PS3, and more reviews here on Cam’s Eye View.
This game gets an 8 out of 10