GSY REVIEW | PS3 Monday, November 2, 2009 | 9:40 AM

Gamersyde Review: A Crack in Time

Gamersyde Review: A Crack in Time

After several games on Playstation 2, the Ratchet and Clank franchise found its way on to Playstation 3 with Tools of Destruction and then Quest for Booty, which was more of an addon than a real sequel per se. The next part of the two heroes' adventures is about to be released with Ratchet and Clank: A Crack In Time and on this occasion, we have decided to give a try to something completely new here on Gamersyde. From now on, provided as many publishers as possible send us their games in advance, we will be proposing some real written reviews, minus the final score however. These reviews will always be accompanied by videos illustrating the different paragraphs of the article and they will allow us to be more thorough than when we simply give our first impressions. Don't worry though, we will keep delivering our usual first 10 minute videos for all the games we will get just in time for release. So if you are into reading, follow me inside and please leave a comment as we would love to hear what you think.

The story of A Crack in Time exactly resumes where it stopped as Clank is now Dr Nefarious' prisoner. No need to panic if you are like me and you are not that familiar with the previous games, a rather amusing summary of what happened before will keep you busy while the game is being installed on your hard drive.

The two heroes being separated right from the start, the game is quite logically divided into two distinct gameplay types depending on the character you play. Clank will be on a quest to find out more about his past and origins while trying to keep the universe time-balanced, no less. Ratchet on his part will have to follow the different clues leading to his good old sidekick, which will involve a lot of traveling around everywhere in the galaxy.

As Clank, the gameplay proposed is a subtle mix of platforming and puzzles, pretty much all related with time control. You will for example need to learn to record your actions so as to use your other selves to open the door to the next room for example. It starts off pretty easy of course but it soon becomes quite challenging, hence a lot more interesting. It is also quite common to visit Clank's subconscious in some sorts of tutorial sequences aiming at teaching the player some new abilities as the game goes.

Even though Clank also has to use force from time to time, most of the shooting and punching takes place with Ratchet. Expect some heavy and explosive action sequences with the series' typical lethal and original arsenal. Like in the previous games, the weapons can be upgraded but this time, you don't have to spend your precious bolts to do so. Much like in a RPG, the efficiency of the weapons improves when you use them. As a result, the more you fire a weapon, the deadlier it gets. You can also find some hidden modules that allow you to customize your arsenal completely. There is obviously also a lot of jumping around to do and Ratchet always has to beware of the numerous traps he encounters. You are often asked to activate different mechanisms to move forward, which is pretty common in the genre. Added to that, Ratchet also happens to be able walk upside down on walls or ceilings every time he uses his gravity boots or in other instances, he can grind some rails much like in the other games of the franchise. There are some new additions to his gear as well since at some point you are given a pair of hover boots, a gadget that should make all Wipe Out fans very happy.

Keeping the game as varied as possible was definitely Insomniac's intention and then again it shows with the space sequences where you are in control of Ratchet's spaceship. Once a mission from the main quest is completed, you are free to wander around the sector you are in and visit one of the many small planets looking for collectibles: on each planet you can indeed either find a Zoni - one of these apparently harmless creatures responsible for Clan's capture and whose endgame still remains a bit of a mystery - or a gold bolt. Some might think these sequences are a clear wink at Mario Galaxy but after all they were already included in the PS2 games of the franchise, way before Nintendo's game was even announced. Apart from exploring all the different moons, you can also fight other ships, transforming the game into a good old shoot 'em up.

On a technical standpoint, Rachet and Clank: A Crack in Time is a mix of good and average. The first contact with the game is a very positive one as it comes with some nice-looking - and by the way funny - cutscenes. The lighting and textures are excellent and it almost feels like a Dreamworks movie - though some might consider it is not so much a good thing when it comes to sheer humor, question of tastes I suppose. All things considered, Insomniac did a really good job in that area and it should definitely be praised.

However, there is a clear difference in graphics with the gameplay not looking as good as the cutscenes. As a matter of fact, the lighting effects are a bit old gen and the backgrounds and landscapes sometimes feel a bit blurry which makes the visuals less clean than they should be in HD. That being said, don't get me wrong, the game still has its moments graphic-wise and the more you progress into the game, the better the environments get. Overall, the levels involving Clank do not look as good as those with Ratchet, which are also a lot more varied and colorful. Some textures are maybe a bit simplistic but there are also some nice effects to be seen like for example the water effect. When it comes to framerate issues, they are very few and the game runs at 60 fps in almost every situation.

The soundtrack on the contrary is rather flawless and it is easily among the best out there. The voice acting is good and the music score really makes you feel involved in an epic adventure. As a result, it is very easy to be sucked into the story, even when you're not a big fan of the franchise in the first place. The humor I was mentioning before has a lot to do with this impression and it is not only present during the cutscenes as you will hear the characters talk when playing too. So you can realize Insomniac's attention to details, just take a look at the video below showing some of the short adverts that come with every single weapon of the game.


Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time is packed with funny and endearing characters, varied and colorful environments and, above all, a very solid gameplay. If you like the genre, you will certainly find everything you are looking for in the game, especially since there is a lot of incentive to play with all the sidequests and collectibles. Needless to say that fans of the franchise will be more than pleased to join the two heroes on what appears to be their final adventure, which even happens to be more mature this time. If A Crack in Time really is the last game in the series, then it's a very good way to put an end to Ratchet and Clank's story. Here at Gamersyde, we did enjoy the game very much, it's now up to you to see if the game works like a charm for you too.

Weapon ads
Clank gameplay
Ratchet gameplay
Space gameplay

All comments

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Commented on 2009-11-02 10:00:05
The vids would be a nice idea if it didn't try to force you to sit through an advert every 2 seconds. :/
Commented on 2009-11-02 10:01:30
Really? It's supposed be one ad every 6 hours... You can download the videos at the bottom as usual of course.
Commented on 2009-11-02 10:14:46
Excellent style, I've always wanted reviews to show proof of what they're talking about, and videos are for that. Super great writing, Driftwood.
Commented on 2009-11-02 10:51:14
Great idea with reviews (and no scores, for me the most important things are impressions of the reviewer, not the final score). R&C:ACiT review is really well written, great job.

I only disagree with Driftwood with this: "the lighting effects are a bit old gen". I saw more games with worse effects that people/reviewers praise to be the best looking.

And big plus for that:

"Some might think these sequences are a clear wink at Mario Galaxy but after all they were already included in the PS2 games of the franchise, way before Nintendo's game was even announced"

Many people forget about that (even reviewers).
Commented on 2009-11-02 10:54:23
A fair , educational review here, excellent job and may it continue.

I'm a fan of the series so it's all good for me .Liking the shmup section
more than TOD, more of a starfox feel.
Commented on 2009-11-02 11:41:30
Eu release is 6th November right?
Commented on 2009-11-02 12:19:35 In reply to skyform
Yep, this Friday.
Commented on 2009-11-02 13:08:07
Great review, I enjoyed reading a lot. I'm glad you don't give stupid scores. These would only attract fanboys trying to start a flamewar by saying stuff like "Game XY sucked, but you gave it a higher score than this one, but this one is like the best game of all time and beyond, 89% is a way too low score for the best game of all time and beyond" etc.

Well-written and informative reviews combined with awesome Gamersyde video quality. Keep them coming!

As for the game, I'm a newcomer to the series too, but I know I'll love it. Somehow reminds me of the good old N64 days with all the platforming and the colorful art style. Gonna get Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty too, I should have never missed out on these games.
Commented on 2009-11-02 13:08:57
Nice review Gamersyde ;)

I love R&C on PS3.
Commented on 2009-11-02 13:19:42 In reply to digi_matrix
Posted by digi_matrix
Excellent style, I've always wanted reviews to show proof of what they're talking about, and videos are for that. Super great writing, Driftwood.
That's what videos reviews are for, these are great reviews but they would be more relevent as video reviews, mainly because distinguishing between the plethora of written reviews is seldom impossible to impart and so without a lick of apparent originality (unless your first), it becomes another chore to read similar opinions again and again, still great work guys, but give my idea some thought if it's not too challenging :), especially since there are few meaningful video reviews and even fewer that can deliver the quality gamersyde offer :).
Commented on 2009-11-02 13:40:22
should have this on thursday...cant wait. loved the demo, and clanks time based puzzles where very fun to play.
Commented on 2009-11-02 15:09:02
One of the best reviews Ive seen in the net,excellent job.
Commented on 2009-11-02 15:52:12
Very nice review.
Commented on 2009-11-02 16:12:05
This game is simply one of the best PS3 games out there. I finished it and almost have all of the collectibles and am then going to go back and do challenge mode afterwards.

Game is tons of fun and brings out the kid in me.
Commented on 2009-11-02 17:27:52
Nice review although from everything I have seen I disagree about the visuals as the game is based around a cartoon world as opposed to a slavishly realistic one so to talk about simplistic textures is kind of redundant, IMO. I also prefer games that maintain a solid 60 fps frame rate compared to many titles that sacrifice fluidity for additional effects but this manage to have a great deal of action on screen and stay smooth.

Aside from that caveat a very nice review of what looks to be one of the best in an always stellar series. Thanks for the vids too I am looking forward to friday when I will pick this up...
Commented on 2009-11-02 17:31:48
munkini, there are numerous parts where the framerate dips below 60fps, but for the majority of the game it is silky smooth.
Commented on 2009-11-02 17:34:28 In reply to munkini
From what I saw (and Insomniac's latest rant about 60 fps) the game is hardly locked at 60 fps though. Driftwood was using brand new capture hardware for these videos so I spent a lot of time making sure everything was ok with these, and I had him redo some videos because there was framedrop in them. I thought it was the new hardware, but it turns out that the game when it displays lots of geometry framedrops quite a lot. No tearing though.
And I totally agree about the lighting, it's been my main issue with all Insomniac games on the PS3 since day one.
Commented on 2009-11-02 17:38:06
Nice review, hope you guys review more games in the future.
Commented on 2009-11-02 17:43:47
I'll be doing a review of Bayonetta. Not sure I'll be able to write as well as Driftwood though :/
Commented on 2009-11-02 17:47:08 In reply to BlimBlim
Stop saying that, you'll do just fine!

By the way, thanks everyone. :)
Commented on 2009-11-02 18:44:35
Commented on 2009-11-02 19:12:38
Nice review, not sure what passerotto is on but I want me some of that.
Commented on 2009-11-02 19:19:16
Great review guys! I wasn't interested in this particular game in the least, but it's very nice to see you giving full reviews now. I also appreciate the fact that you chose to do without the final score. Cheers!
Commented on 2009-11-02 19:19:54
Like others have noted, I LOVE the fact that you guys aren't using scores for your reviews. It starts idiotic flame wars and such a number placed by the review is far too arbitrary anyhow considering how many aspects of a game are being discussed.

Pretty good writing and and a nice/refreshing style of review. I look forward to seeing more of these from one of my fav gaming sites.
Commented on 2009-11-02 19:25:41 In reply to BlimBlim
You should have IRAIPTOIR do the Bayonetta review!

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