Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
After the initial success of Ratchet and Clank, a sequel was to be expected but keeping the qualities that were successful, changing the ones that weren't, and creating a new experience can be difficult to achieve. Many sequels fail in one or more of these areas and never reach the success the original enjoyed. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando however, has managed to recapture the essence of the original while offering new capabilities and features that may give Jak II a significant challenge for best platform game this year.
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando picks up where the original finished as a more mature Ratchet and Clank have been basically killing time waiting for the next job to come in. One finally does come in obviously and they take off in an effort to recover a stolen prototype. The story line, although not incredibly strong, does put our heroes through interesting situations and allows enough flexibility for the gameplay to standout.
The gameplay is one of the stronger aspects with a number of enhancements that improve on the original design. There are twenty levels to work through each with a handful of mission objectives and different planets can be flown to even if your current mission objectives aren't complete. A few RPG features are mixed in as well with Ratchet and Clank's aspects improving as they progress in addition to being able to purchase upgrades to armor, weapons, and their ship. The weapons take particular advantage of RPG aspects as they each have an upgrade potential that can be realized when used enough.
To complement the gameplay, the graphics once again deliver a strong performance adding more detail to an already great looking game. In addition, many platform games fail to deliver enough diversity in environments and enemies but Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando have numerous environments and multiple different enemies throughout the game to keep it from becoming stale.
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando creates and experience that in many ways is superior to the original. With larger levels, RPG elements, and all around improved gameplay there will be few platform games that will perform at this level. Any fan of platform games or those just looking for an entertaining game should give this one a shot.
Download Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
I was convinced that Going Commando was bound to be some lame pseudosequel created to turn a quick buck. I mean, this is the delicate art of platforming, not just some yearly update of Madden'. I've rarely been so happy to be wrong--Insomniac has crafted a worthy follow-up that handily bests last year's debut. The premise remains the same: wisecracking furball protagonist and deadpan tin sidekick hop and shoot their way across the solar system, completing various odd jobs and heroic deeds. The characters have been tweaked a bit for the better--Ratchet doesn't look quite as dorky, and Clank has a lot more to do now (you get to take A control of him more often, and he can now attack while on Ratchet's back). Plot-wise, though, it's kind of a wash. Outside of a few funny quips from Clank, the story consists mainly of goofball fetch quests and corny puns...but hey, platformers aren't really about gripping narratives. Here, the gameplay is the star. From the get-go, it's supremely easy to get back in the R&C groove. Even if you somehow missed the first game, control here is instinctive and precise. At first, Going Commando seems like another rote collect-a-thon, but all those shiny bolts you're gathering are indeed valuable--you can spend 'em on new weapons. You can amass a huge arsenal of cool, crazy guns, which can now be upgraded and modified as you progress. Figuring out the best weapon for each enemy encounter demands strategy and experimentation, and luckily, the game's forgiving system of infinite lives and plentiful restart checkpoints keep the frustration to a minimum. As sequels go, this one doesn't look very different from its predecessor, but that's not such a bad thing--the original R&C sported fantastic visuals, with a variety of massive planets to explore. The new spherical levels are cool, and the spaceshooting bits really impress this time, too. Even so, a little more creativity might have been nice; a new desert planet, a new ice planet, and a few new planets that rip off Star Wars' Coruscant are hardly original. So, other than a vague sense of deja vu, there's little to fault Going Commando with. It's doubtful you'll find a better platformer this year.
I liked the first Ratchet & Clank a lot, except...I didn't like Ratchet. In the first game, the furry dude was kind of an ass, and it's hard to totally dig a game when your lame alter ego pisses you off. But magically, he's now a likeable guy in Going Commando. (Sensitivity training, perhaps?) And for me, that goes a long way toward making this a better game. And boy, oh boy, is Going Commando excellent. The platforming-action genre has a lot of competition, but this year, Ratchet runs away with the prize. This is an absolute must-play--even if you didn't play the first one. It's got everything you've ever wanted from an action game. The weapons are bigger, better, more creative, and now fully customizable. Also, a fantastic experience system works just the right amount of RPG-ish depth into the mix, and you won't dread the various minigames and arena challenges. Commandds level design is perfect, providing plenty of things to discover in each challenging (yet extremely satisfying) world you explore. Better than Jak II? Definitely. Set aside some time, 'cause this is a monumental game you do not wanna miss.
I dunno what Shane is griping about. Yes, the levels look a bit like those in the first Ratchet, but that's about as meaningful as saying I look like my brother, so you should like me less because of that. Whatever. The level design is brilliant, the weapons combat is a freakin' blast, the subtle tweaks really do change everything, and the characters are more appealing than the last go-round. Even at its toughest, when you're stuck replaying an especially difficult area, Commando is a metric ton of fun, thanks to the fact that you're gaining more experience, your weapons are growing and evolving, and you're earning more bolts to buy new weapons. Those RPG elements seem so straightforward, but they really, truly change everything. I've never felt as encouraged to experiment with so many different things in a platformer, all for the sake of leveling up and gaining some amazing new weaponry. The other little tweak that matters so much: strafing. I'm not much of a shooter guy; I come to this game as a pure platformer nut. But the weapons combat has gone from intuitive to blas-tastic bliss. I'm pulling off moves that I never thought possible, like strafing around high-impact baddies while doing side jumps and tossing explosives. Commando controls like a charm, making even the most hardcore of feats fairly achievable. But most of all, Commando is incredibly addictive fun. I really, really love this game.