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Gaming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - PS5 Exclusive

Discussion in 'Community' started by Jedi Ben, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    Ye search engine says there is no thread, so there is now.

    This will be a non-spoiler post, as I'm a couple of hours and three levels in, so pretty much all the stuff used in the promotional videos and reviews.

    Just about everyone will be tempted to go: "Sure, it looks pretty, but I've played this game before", to which my response is: "It is jaw-droppingly pretty, but no, you have not played this before." Going by graphics gives you very little by which to assess this game because so much of it is about the feel. The way haptic feedback is cleverly integrated into the game, the effect of 60FPS for how responsive your character is, the ease with which the game switches its camera for melee combat to ranged and back better, the most intelligent auto-aim I've ever experienced, so much of this is built into the player experience and cannot be easily conveyed by any post or review.

    Accessibility options are superb. There's things here that I don't need, like you can set the face buttons are directional controls - someone is going to love that. They have five difficulty settings, with the easiest being that you are immortal - which I'm using and loving. But it doesn't stop there, camera, aiming, grinding, traversal, someone spent a lot of time working out to enable as many people as possible to enjoy this game. The Git Gud crowd will be howling about some of this but screw that lot, this is superb work that deserves recognition and commendation.

    The usual suspects will likely be aghast at the addition of Rivet, a female? Again, screw that lot.

    Which is another thing, the sheer extent of personality in this game is astonishing. Not just the main characters but NPCs, enemies, the worlds, it all feels incredibly vibrant and alive in a way no other game I've played has.

    This game, so far, is as close to perfection as anything I've played. The depiction, the pacing, the feel - it's all stunning. Small imperfections - they haven't cracked the way to display a large enemy without sometimes interfering with your own sense of positioning relative to it. And it's accurate to say Rivet and Ratchet could be rendered more distinct and different from the other, but I can also see why Insomniac went the route they did.

    Back to the good stuff and we come to the SSD effect. This is very much in evidence, in both micro and macro ways, from the rifts you use to the entire world changes, which again, have to be experienced to really see what is so great about it. One boss fight had so much in it that previously it would have probably been a quarter of the overall sequence done here.

    Which gets me to end of this post: This game delivered numerous moments of gaming that I have not experienced previously. It's smartly paced, cleverly designed, ludicruously good looking and perhaps the fastest loading going. In time this will be surpassed, it is the way of games, but Insomniac have laid down one hell of a marker to everyone else that says: Beat this! This will sell PS5s, there's no question of that. Gaming technology, combined with creativity and skilll, has delivered an interactive animated experience that matches - or even surpasses - Disney and Pixar. There is some very smartly done narrative sequences in this game that will instantly win over most people to it.
  2. darthcaedus1138

    darthcaedus1138 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 13, 2007
    It's feeling to me like these kinds of games with vivid, cartoony animation that looks about as good as a Pixar game could unseat movies if the stories are just as good.
    Jedi Ben and christophero30 like this.
  3. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

    May 18, 2017
    I am a huge Crash Bandicoot fan, esp. the original ps one trilogy. I do not have a new system but if I did I'd most like to play the remastered Crash trilogy and the newer Ratchet and Clank games.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    Jedi Ben likes this.
  4. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    The next couple of levels sadly couldn't sustain the brilliance of the opening trio, but the sixth got things mostly back on track, albeit with a couple of weird momentary glitches. It's little things that stand out like a lack of signposting help when the game has done so well in other respects, a very easy fix but which stands out by its absence.

    The problems I had was a boss fight where the camera was too drawn in, with too many enemies, it made for too chaotic a combination. The same boss also demonstrated the need for a lock on, but there doesn't seem to be one. After this, there was an open world level that mostly worked well, except it did a protect X from enemy fire bit and it was very easy to lose track of where Kit was relative to Ratchet amid the chaos. There was also some timed dash sequences that didn't work for me either. Finally, there was a "use the fog to do stealth kills" but as soon as I shot one enemy, they all knew where I was - screw it, break out the bombs. All four of these experiences felt like they had been done by a different team, one stuck in 2017. It still looked lovely, excellent sound, but it felt like the game was throwing pointless older style of challenges that the opening levels suggested the game had moved on from.

    The second Glitch and Clank levels were polar opposites - the Glitch level was very disorientating and it was hard to see what I needed. It needed more assist, not less. In contrast the Clank level had a clearer, more easily understood structure and logic. The dual dimensions and mag jumping of level 6 were well executed. Arguaby better than Titanfall 2's Cause and Effect level.

    Second time around I might enjoy both of those lacking moments more, but even despite those moments, overall the levels were well constructed - one bit with the dash boots looked stunning. On one firefght I was also using local rifts to outflank enemies which was very fun to do.

    The upgrade loop for weapons, with them having a max level encourages you to power up other weapons, with the powered-up ones as a good back-up. I'm suspecting I lack the dexterity to get the full benefit of the half / full squeeze fire, but the full auto on the blaze pistol is damn cool.

    Hopefully, it now stays on track.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    darthcaedus1138 likes this.
  5. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    And, two levels later and a big plot reveal cutscene, it decided against staying on track, instead deploying booster rockets to head into orbit!

    Yep, these two levels match and even exceed the opening trio! There are stupidly elaborate, yet incredibly detailed sequences here that make you wonder how they ever thought them up. There has been nothing like this previously, not to this scale or detail - one of the biggest things you adjust surprisingly fast to is it loading these hugely detailed worlds faster than you've ever seen but it feels entirely natural that it does so.

    It's hard to tell how much of it I've seen at the 5-6 hours mark. Perhaps half the main campaign, perhaps more. There's slew of optional sidequests I haven't yet done too.
    darthcaedus1138 likes this.
  6. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    Spent a couple of hours, perhaps a little more, doing side stuff, which the game was really good at. A level like Savali that, first time around, had some very minor flaws in its missions, turns out to be far more fun for freeform activity. The quests might be simple but they're also built around the idea of encouraging to max boost around the level, which in turn allows the game to really show off - like it wasn't already doing so.

    In this way, I did some sidequests, found some gold bolts, some new armour pieces. Even a defend quest on Blizar Prime went far better - in part, due to my having far better weaponry and I've gotten better at playing the game. Also, pulled off a few pocket dimensions - those wins were particularly unexpected.

    The detail remains insane from the electric stunning effect and the target's response to being stunned to putting your foes, literally, on ice. I've got 12 weapons, there remain far more to get and to upgrade - Insomniac have always had a reputation for creative weaponry and they are demonstrating that to an excellent degree here. Each weapon, when upgraded, behaves very differently and in a way that makes the upgrading feel worth it.
    darthcaedus1138 likes this.
  7. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    Did another level, this one advancing the campaign, completed it then went and cleaned it up as much as possible in terms of the collectables.

    It was an example of how to sustain quality and excellence at the highest level -
    OK, so I didn't care that much for the sea shanty minigame, the colour shading was a little too subtle at times - but it was kind of fun
    - the rest of the level was pretty damn smart from start to finish. Speedle sections remain a delight and experimenting with the weapons ius so damn good. On one occasion I had a load of enemies electrified and, while they stunned, switched to ricochet to finish them off. The other thing about that? This is a darker level, the ricochet pod and the blasts it fires, each emit their light source, which the rest of the environment, including the targets, respond to! You get used to this staggringly level of care and attention, you don't question and easily forget that it just wasn't possible previously.

    I've yet to use the crowd controls weapons, but will get to those in time, if only to upgrade them further.
    darthcaedus1138 likes this.
  8. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    Time now to hand this thread over to others....

    So, just over 17 hours later, I'm done with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

    If you have a PS5, should you play this game? Yes, absolutely. Should you play it now when it'll cost you around £60 to do so? Far more of an individual decision.

    There are times for me that the hours of gameplay metric isn't always the best, sole indicator to go by, quantity doesn't always mean quality. Is this game a quality experience? Very, very much so. You'll pay around £15 for a cinema ticket, but for a two hours movie, many feel that their £7.5o hour rate is worth it. If we take my 17 hours of play, divide £62.85, we get just under £3.70 per hour. Do I consider that a worthy cost? Yes.

    One of the biggest challenges the game makes is to the very nature of gaming. This game offers the ability to massively reduce the possibilities where the player can fail and the penalties that lead to death. For some, just the existence of those optional settings will be an affront. Why? Because from the very start games have been linked to failure, yet, as the last year has demonstrated gaming is becoming more and more a medium of entertainment. What does this mean for games? Well, to borrow some Dara O'Briain material, what other entertainment medium locks people out of accessing content that they have likely paid for? You do not read a book and, after chapter one, get a Q&A that, if you fail it, tells you that you will not be able to read the rest of it! No other medium of entertainment does this and, short of invoking tradition, there is no reason for games to either.

    There will always be a market for the hard-as-nails games - and the Souls-like subgenres, but should that be all gaming is? Let's be honest here - the Mario games are lauded as being superb games, I can recognise the skils and design that went into them, but I have not, nor will I ever, complete one of them. The requirements for completing one isn't within my grasp, I might get a fair way in but that's about. Fortunately, the Mario games aren't great on story so I don't feel that sense of missing out. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart does have such a story. Might I have completed it - or enjoyed it as much - without the assists? I suspect not. It didn't always crop up, but there were times when fights got a bit too chaotic, the camera in that bit too close and I'd end up reversing into a wall because of everything else the game was trying to show me. Or, it's a big boss fight with a screen filling enemy that requires a skewed perspective. No one has really solved how to do this without trade-offs of one kind or another, it would be unreasonable to expect it here - but did have far greater assist defang this effect? Oh yes, to a very large degree.

    But, it might be said, if you can't die, you won't want to play well! Wrong, you'll still want to play well. When you get hit in this game, it disrupts the flow of combat you had going. The lack of health penalty does not reduce the desire and interest in wanting to keep that flow going as much as possible and the sheer audio-visual spectacle also acts as encouragment. Yes, you could play it badly and live but you really won't want to. You will want to play as well as you can, flipping from weapon to weapon, combining effects and mixing in the odd dodge and melee strike as needed.

    If anything it is those times where, having supplied an array of assistance measures, the game sometimes does not supply tiny bits of help, that stand out. You might be told to turn a screw but need a reminder of where, in this complex arena that you spent a good minutes taking apart a small army in very creative ways, it is. And it doesn't tell you or give you an indicator. This applies across the board - due to the game generally being so accomplished in just about every other respect, its little imperfections, when they crop up, will for a short time stand out that bit more. Then you consider everything else its succeeding on and you cut Insomniac Games some slack.

    One serious recommendation - play this with saved data auto-sync enabled. I only had it happen once in 17 hours, but once is all you need if it does a hard crash that requires PS5 restart / rbuild, because in all likelihood it'll hit your saved data too! I didn't lose much, but seeing a message come up saying "your saved data was restored due to corruption" was a bit scary. Had a handful of lesser crashes that only required a game restart. It'll keep getting patched so likely to get more stable, not less.

    Will we see another game like this within the year? With a good many titles being confirmed for both PS4 and PS5 I really don't know. I think it's more likely that this game's successors will arrive next year. For all that a PS5 upgrade of a PS4 game can supply an awful lot of what renders a game PS5 - graphics, sound, haptic feedback additions - this game works as a very strong demonstration of what the SSD effect is and how it cannot be replicated by a simple upgrade. If a developer sought to take full advantage of it then, in all likelihood, they end up with a game that can't be ran on a PS4, which this is. There's a limited number of true PS5 games,but in terms of what could not be adjusted to run on a PS4? This is way ahead of everything else.

    Audio, visuals, feel - all are streets ahead. Sound is very subtle at times but always effective. After 17 hours it might be thought I had seen all the game had to offer, but I haven't. There's entire weapons I haven't seen the effects of, or only briefly like the minions one, which the number of you can have on screen and attacking your enemies has to be seen to be believed. It is both brilliant and hilarious to see. The integration of sound and visuals show when you zap an enemy and you hear them responding to your electric ray. In a comedy fashion, of course. It'd be very easy to render a far nastier version of this but much would be lost by doing so. Freeze rays; electrcs,grenades, shotguns, missiles, projectiles - all have their effects and enemies respond to them all in different ways.

    The consistent sense I had across this game - despite those rare moments of imperfection that slipped through or a button press didn't register - was that of care and attention. Masses of it. How else to describe a ricochet weapon that has its own light sources coming off of the laser it throws out? You might be thinking that it cannot possibly do all this, to which your PS5's answer is: Wrong, watch this!

    Which gets us back to the start can a game you complete in 10-15 hours be worth £60? I wasn't going to buy this right now, I was going to wait for the inevitable price depreciation. But once they started putting out the gameplay videos I was won over because it looked that good, good enough to justify £60. There were times when it irritated sure but overall? That is a very small fraction of the whole. And that whole is one of the best gaming experiences I've had and one I'm inclined to come back to. To try to finish off upgrading weapons, to try and get all the weapons, as there appear to be more to unlock. That's pretty rare for me, as most times a game willl have certain sections I just don't want to play ever again. This one? Even those pieces that irked first time around were considerably easier second time. This is a game that not only wants to enable as many people as possible to complete it, but for them to want to re-play it - and it succeeds at that.

    I wanted to keep playing it, to see what came next. I wanted to get the collectables - and did, there's a good amount but not too many. I wanted to keep getting and improving those so very creative weapons. I wanted to see the next planet, the next level. There's still a lot to be said for a well-executed, linear, perfectly paced narrative experience. It is something Sony's game studios have gotten very, very good at. This makes that case again, but this time for how it can be with a new level of technology. And if I were Sony? I'd be putting in an order with Insomniac for DLC quests for this right now.

    SkillUp's review made the point that with this game Sony and Insomniac haveput out something that can match Disney and Pixar in terms of animation and visual quality, what does it nean for gaming now it is at that level? Plus, for the last few years gaming has taken on a more mature edge, the big games have been more adult narratives - Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, The Witcher, all great games but suitable for a kid? Not really. This is. Back to SkillUp - if Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd decided tomorrow they wanted a Star Wars game in the style of their animated content, the gaming industry can turn around and say they have the tools to deliver a game indistinguishable from a cartoon, except you are controlling a character or characters - tell me that wouldn't sell. (And at some point we are getting The Complete Lego Star Wars).

    I have had a fantastic four days with this game. Two final tips: One, always get the RYNO. Two, don't skip the credits, it has a great villain's song.