It came as a surprise to many when Sony announced at this years E3 conference that a new Ratchet and Clank (R&C) game was coming to the PlayStation 3 and that it would be available via the PSN store. It was later revealed that the game an episodic title, set somewhere between the events of the 2007’s Tools of Destruction (ToD) and 2009’s upcoming Ratchet game, which is revealed in the end credits. While it may not live up to the high standards of the earlier games in the series, Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty is a fine game that should not be missed by any of the series’ fans.
Quest for Booty picks up right after the events of ToD, with clank missing, abducted by the mysterious Zoni. Ratchet’s quest begins with him trying to find a mysterious pirate known as Darkwater, who is the only one who can lead him to the Zoni. The game begins with Ratchet and his female companion Talwyn invading some pirate ships, where he soon finds the secret about Captain Darkwater and his treasure. The story retains the usual humorous charm of the previous games, mainly due to some excellent writing and dialogue. Also, the game is set up in a way that players who haven’t played Tools of Destruction can get right into it without feeling lost.
The first thing you’ll notice on booting up the game is the gorgeous graphics. If you haven’t played ToD, you’re in for a visual treat, and if you thought that Insomniac would compromise on visual quality due to the downloadable nature of the title, then think again. Not only does it look just as good as last year’s full-price Blu-Ray title, but it also surpasses ToD in many places. With improved lighting, cleaner textures and some subtle upgrades to the engine, Quest for Booty is easily one of the best looking titles available on the PS3. There are some occasional framerate drops, but the game has no problems in maintaining its 60fps most of the time. The pirate-themed tune from ToD returns and, as always, the voice work remains excellent throughout.
Quest for Booty (Q4B) plays like any Ratchet game; veterans of the series would feel right at home and newcomers should have no problem with the pick up and play nature of the game. Also, unlike the previous titles in the series, Q4B features a larger impetus on platforming segments than on shooting. Very early in the game, our friendly neighbourhood lombax loses his weapons and is forced to use his trusty old wrench. The wrench comes with some new upgrades; it can now manipulate objects, facilitating some fine puzzle-solving and platforming sequences, as well as the ability to pick up and throw objects. Both these new features will be used extensively throughout the game. Sadly, the wrench is the only weapon that can be upgraded. One of the strong points of past R&C games was the array of quirky weapons and the ability to upgrade them. The customary large arsenal of weapons is completely missing in Q4B. Not only are there no new weapons in this game, but many from ToD are missing here.
One of the criticisms of the series has been that the developers have stuck to their tried and tested formulae, without too many changes. While it’s true that the series has undergone few changes since the first game way back in 2002, Q4B still retains the addictive and fun gameplay with enough new ideas to keep it from getting stale. Another downside is Q4B’s complete lack of replay value. The arena mode from Tools of Destruction would have added much more value to the package, since there is little reason to play this game once you complete the main quest. The game also doesn’t support the newly-introduced trophy system.
During my playthrough, which lasted well over 3 hours on medium difficulty, I did encounter some weird sound glitches and the camera occasionally had a mind of its own, but overall, Quest for Booty is just what you would expect from a short episodic game. If you’re looking for a complete R&C experience, I suggest you get ToD (which is now a Platinum title, retailing for Rs 1,499). But for those looking for their yearly Ratchet fix, Quest for Booty should hold you well till the next instalment arrives late next year. If you’ve never liked a Ratchet and Clank game, Q4B won’t do much to change your mind, but for the rest of us, it’s just what the awesome guys at Insomniac promised – an epic summer blockbuster indeed.
IndianVideoGamer Verdict – 8/10 (Bootylicious)
The disc version of Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty for PlayStation 3 will hit stores across India on September 15 and will be priced at Rs 749.