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Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault Preview

Nick_Tan By:
GENRE Action 
DEVELOPER Insomniac Games 
E10+ Contains Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence

What do these ratings mean?

A bolt from the blue.

Putting a twist on the solid platforming tradition of Ratchet & Clank, Full Frontal Assault pits the heroic duo in a battle arena that combines both real-time strategy and third-person action. Ratchet and his motley crew of friends, this time with now ally Captain Qwark, must manage both weapon-based mayhem and turret defense to rid planets of alien mercenary forces in an intergalactic conflict.

As you might expect from a turret defense title, the object is to defend your Q-Force base by protecting its six generators from being destroyed by swarms of Grungoids. Although Ratchet can personally see to the demise of many foes, especially with his firepower and speed with the Hoverboots, he alone won't be enough to stymie the tide. Instead he'll need to rely on the base's defense systems, which include barriers that slow an enemy's advance and turrets that deal damage per second. With careful planning and placement, maintaining the base's overall health is easily achievable; that is, if Ratchet has enough resources.

Bolts are the key currency and building block for all of the deployable defenses in the base. Most can be found in crates or through loot drops, while a bonus amount of bolts can be earned by opening weapons pods strewn throughout the level with precision. Weapon pods contain three pieces of special equipment, of which Ratchet can choose one once the player hits the blue target areas on a semi-circle with the correct timing. If the player manages to hit the white area on the semi-circle, bonus bolts are awarded. Hey, every little bit helps. The developer's favorite was an icy cryo-shot, performed by hitting

On the strategic level, players will need to be vigilant for whenever the Invasion Detector trips and must work on the fly to protect lanes that are being attacked. If need be, they can disassemble undamaged turrets for a full refund of its purchase price and place them in another lane that needs it.

Of course, this applies to both missions in single-player as well as multiplayer, particularly two-player cooperative battles online or offline, as the difficulty ramps up to balance the welcome aid of a teammate. How well the player or team performs affects not only rankings in head-to-head match-ups, but also what medals are earned and thus what armor and perks are unlocked.

Insomniac Games hopes that this will foster intense 1v1 or 2v2 firefights between friends, where communication is just as important as savviness. Every phase matters towards a victory, going from the initial Recon phase where bases cannot be infiltrated but bolt-earning nodes can be captured, to the creation of underlings in the Squad phase, and finally slugging it out in the Assault phase. If things ever get too hairy, a player can activate the panic button which shields the base from an onslaught, but it can only be used once per match. Exactly when to use it, of course, is all a part of the strategy.

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault will release some time in the Fall for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, and will be among the first titles to take advantage of Sony's Cross-Buy promotion where the purchase of the PS3 version will come with a code for the Vita version for free.
More GR previews for this game:
Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault preview posted on 09/02/12.

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