Part one of Sony's two part action platformer double whammy this Christmas is Ratchet & Clank 3. Being the third Ratchet & Clank game in two years, you might expect to see signs of a rushed job, or that the game turns out to be nothing more than a mission add-on to the previous game. You would be wrong. Ratchet & Clank 3 is one of the best games you could play this year.
The game starts with one of many cutscenes; Clank has been given his very own TV show - Agent Clank - and in a twist from reality, Ratchet plays his sidekick. Agent Clank has gathered quite a fan base, including the very evil robot Dr. Nefarious. With a hatred for Squishies (everything that isn't a robot), Nefarious wants to lure Agent Clank over to the evil side; together they would be too strong for the Squishies, wiping them out completely.
'Weapons are the main focus of the game. You spend the vast majority of the game blasting enemies'
Ratchet & Clank 3 isn't your usual platform game. In fact, you would be stretching it a bit if you were to call it one. The game is really a third-person shooter, with some jumping sections thrown into the mix, along with a few other sub-game style missions; a traditional 2D style platform section being one of the highlights. Clank will remain on Ratchet's back for most of the game, but he does jump off now and again, putting you in control of the tiny robot. Captain Qwark returns along with a mix of old and new characters, together making the Q-Force.
Weapons are the main focus of the game. You spend the vast majority of the game blasting enemies, and a huge arsenal of weapons means this never becomes boring. There are really three categories that the weapons fall under; traditional, bizarre and support. Traditional weapons such as shot guns, rapid-fire pistols and grenade launchers are all present. In the bizarre category, among others, you have a black hole creator, a suction gun and a device that turns the enemy into sheep. So-called support weapons let you deploy turrets, release attack robots and set up defensive shields.
Each weapon has five levels of power. As you use each weapon you gain more experience with it, eventually powering it up to the next level. While this does make the weapons far more satisfying to use, it is easy to ignore your other, more exotic weapons when you have a blaster and rapid file pistol each maxed out at level five. Weapons are bought using nuts and bolts (the games currency). These are gained each time you destroy a robot or complete one of the challenge missions, but also come out of smashed up boxes and anything else that can be blown up.
Enemies come thick and fast, with Dr. Nefarious sending all manner of robots in an attempt to kill all the squishies. For some reason these robots are fighting along-side a race of slime balls, themselves ranging from small to huge toad like creatures. The early missions will require little thought, with mindless blasting being the order of the day, but later missions require a lot more care; good use of cover needs to be made as the enemies can take more damage, while inflicting more on you.