Review

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2004-11-04

1176 Views

Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: November 2, 2004 Also On: None

Last year’s Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando will go down in video game history as the best 3D platforming ever made. That’s a bold statement, considering it’s going up against Super Mario Sunshine, Mario 64, Jak and Daxter, and a few other blockbuster titles. If I had the choice of a single title for the entire 2003 release calendar, Going Commando would have been my pick.

For Insomniac to move the series forward, they would need to build onto the series. That’s what they did with Going Commando. They took a winning formula, recalculated it, and made it work twice as good as it did the first time. With Up Your Arsenal, they added an unnecessary multi-player element, that feels out of place, and reduced the size of the single player missions.

Ratchet and Clank took about 7 hours to beat, Going Commando about 14 hours, and Up Your Arsenal comes in at about a medium of 10½ hours. It’s a bit under-whelming, considering the size of Going Commando, and unfortunately, the multi-player doesn’t necessarily make up for this. Each world that you traverse seems to have fewer missions, and where you actually returned to them sometimes in Going Commando, once you’ve visited it once, you’ll never come back.

Another tone-down is the Clank mech levels and the tiny circular worlds. Both only have one level, compared to the several in Going Commando. In the case of Clank mech, I wasn’t fond of that to begin with, so I’m glad to see that the difficulty for the one level included has been reduced substantially.

You could tell from the villain in Ratchet and Clank that the developers at Insomniac were James Bond fans. So much so in fact, that the super villain that Ratchet and Clank go up against is inspired by the villain from Moonraker, known as Drek in R&C. I’m a Bond fan myself, and I haven’t seen the connection between the new villain and a Bond film. Anyway, the Bond cut-ins are humorous at times, with Clank in his tux.

Right from the start in Up Your Arsenal, after a game of chess, Clank turns on the television to find Agent Clank on television, a character that Clank plays as. Meanwhile, Captain Qwark is unaccounted for, while Dr. Nefarious runs rampant, a robotic evil mastermind behind a plan to turn all living beings into robots. As far as the story goes though, there aren’t as many plot twists in this game as there were in Going Commando. If you don’t see where everything is going, you’re a dope.

Apparently, Captain Qwark appeared in a five series set of video games. You’ll collect them as you play through the game. Your room in the ship, the Phoenix, is where you’ll play the Qwark games. All of them are 2D, and come with an introductory video clip, explaining what you’re doing (i.e. fighting space pirate ghost robots). These levels are straight-forward 2D platforming goodness. Kudos to Insomniac for the Qwark missions, hopefully we’ll see them in the next game.

Up Your Arsenal packs a lot less weaponry than Going Commando, it seems. Like with Going Commando, where you could transfer weapons from Ratchet and Clank, you can transfer Going Commando weapons (i.e. lava gun) to Up Your Arsenal. Plus, you get a 10% discount on all future purchases at the store.

Be sure to collect bolts from enemies, destroyable items (i.e. crates, glass, etc.), in order to obtain the necessary combat weapons. You’ll want to upgrade your weapons, using the experience system, in order to prepare yourself for the final boss. Like in Going Commando, as you kill enemies, you will gain experience, which can upgrade your weapons and your health meter.

Now, as far as multi-player goes, you have the option of playing online or offline. If you choose to play online, you can play with a maximum of eight players. You have the choice of playing deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, or siege. The only one that needs explaining is siege. In this mode, you and your comrades will destroy the base defenses of the opposing team, including the inner core, to win. Claiming ‘nodes’ will give you weapons, vehicles, and defenses. Think of nodes as checkpoints between your base and the opposing base, with an option to respawn at any given node that your team controls. There are 10 multi-player maps. Maps include a sewer, a sphere where your gravity boots allow you to walk on the walls, and some larger maps, meant for CTF and Siege.

When all is said and done, I would have easily sacrificed the multi-player for a longer single-player. It seems that there is no escape from deathmatch and all of these multi-player modes, not even in platformers anymore. If Insomniac wanted to have the multi-player, fine, you can do that, but at least give us a single-player that can stand up equally to your predecessor, Going Commando.

As a fan of the series, I enjoyed this game, but I am unsatisfied with the length, the over-powering AI in later levels, and I don’t see a need for multi-player. My suggestion is, if you want a new take on multi-player modes, buy Up Your Arsenal. There are enough maps, weapons, and modes to keep anyone happy, that wants to play a multi-player game. For me though, platformers aren’t meant for multi-player, which is why I walked away a tad bit disappointed. If you’re like me, and you crave single-player platformers, then you might want to wait until the price drops to $20, as there’s really no new single-player gameplay features.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.9
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell

1176 Views