RATCHET AND CLANK: RIFT APART REVIEW FOR PS5.
The PS5 is now over six months old and yet it only boasts a few true exclusives that fully utilize the hardware on offer. Sure, Astro’s Playroom is a charming freebie and introduction to the platform, Destruction AllStars is fun for a weekend or so, and Demon’s Souls and Returnal offer must-play yet challenging experiences, but there isn’t yet a full-sized game that’s for everyone. Enter Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, which brings old heroes into a shiny new spotlight for their best adventure yet, and the first PS5 game that’s accessible to all players.
Rift Apart features classic characters mixed in with some key new additions (that, in the interest of avoiding spoilers, will be kept vague here). These new additions are successfully integrated and I appreciate the risk that Insomniac Games took with how the story is split up.
All characters are working together to achieve a common goal, which is linked to the rifts that have been tearing reality apart in the various trailers and gameplay demos. This task forces the characters to travel across nine different planets, each boasting a main mission, side content, and collectibles. Each new planet demands a pit stop for a lengthy Photo Mode session. The game is just that jaw-dropping gorgeous.
Those sticking to the main story will take 8-10 hours to beat the game on the default difficulty, though it’s easy to get distracted by side quests and their exciting rewards. While some bosses could stand to be more challenging with expanded movesets, I came away satisfied by the journey. The great ending is the cherry on top of a superb, Pixar-esque adventure.
Playing with power
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart has a lot going on, the most noteworthy being its implementation of the rifts, a mechanic that sees players transported almost instantaneously to another world to continue the fighting in real-time. Moving between worlds, especially during a boss encounter, is a thrill. Though these world-changing rifts aren’t used as often as I would like, the moments when they do occur are special.
The other type of rift is more minor, appearing on the battlefield and acting more as a glorified grapple hook point. They can prove useful for quickly initiating or escaping close-quarters engagements. Combined with the new dodge and sprint mechanics, as well as tighter-feeling evade controls, Rift Apart’s movement feels awesome. Oh, the way the hover boots work on all planets is just fantastic for speeding around quickly.
That awesome movement is paired with a devastating arsenal of weapons. I count 20 weapons in total and they are all upgradeable in various ways. There’s a mixture of conventional and wacky weaponry for players to master. I found ammo scarcity to be suitably tough on the default difficulty, forcing me to switch between multiple guns to finish a fight. While swinging around and switching between my Cold Snap to freeze a large enemy, to the Glove of Doom to spawn some explosive bot teammates, to the Blackhole Storm to deal some rapid-firing damage, it felt like I was playing a family-friendly installment of the rebooted Doom series. It’s chaotic and I love it.
The battlegrounds where these hectic firefights are fought are a mixture of tightly packed rooms and surprisingly large open areas. Helpfully, the latter can be quickly traversed in some very fun ways. However, those hunting for every last secret will want to take it slow.
Some would argue that a Ratchet and Clank game is only good as its Arena Mode. After all, it’s where a lot of players will be spending their time grinding through the various weapon levels and farming resources. Rift Apart’s Arena is good enough, providing a variety of combat and racing challenges, but I fear hardcore R&C fans will be left wanting more from this next-gen version. Insomniac is no stranger to post-launch support, so perhaps the Arena will be fleshed out with online leaderboards and limited-time challenges, although co-op would be my top request.
Though Arena falls a little flat when it comes to replayability, it is fortunately saved by Rift Apart’s endgame. Challenge Mode is unlocked after completing the game once. It lets players continue with their weapon progress and unlocks additional gun levels that further increase firepower. Then there are the well-hidden collectibles, the locations of which can be tracked down using the PS5’s hints feature. Finally, there are the side missions, one of which awards players with the most powerful weapon in the game. Diehard R&C fans will want to wield this!
Last, but certainly by no means least, are the accessibility options. The devs at Insomniac have clearly worked hard to make their game playable by as many people as possible and it’s great to see. There is an extensive list of options including combat and traversal assists, visual adjustments including high contrast to make things stand out, a variety of controller shortcuts, and the ability to slow down the game speed to as low as 30%.
That new-gen smell
Just as Ratchet and Clank’s story evokes comparisons to Pixar’s animated films, that description extends to the visuals, too. It’s with next-gen hardware like the PS5 that games can now look this good. The fact that these images can be processed in real-time honestly boggles the mind. Further mindblowing is the use of ray tracing, which I initially spotted while toying with the Photo Mode. Reflections in Ratchet’s helmet and also in the rubies (a cosmetic alternative for the bolts currency) are way beyond anything that could have been achieved on Sony’s last-gen console.
But it’s not just graphics geeks like me who will notice these things about Rift Apart’s presentation, as the game has three visual modes: 60 FPS, a 60 FPS with ray tracing, and 30 FPS higher fidelity modes. It’s the same graphics magic that was seen in Marvel’s Spider-Man. I imagine most will go for 60 FPS with ray tracing enabled, though the other options are there for those looking to prioritize resolution on bigger screens.
Like other dedicated exclusives, Rift Apart makes use of the PS5’s fast SSD and DualSense’s advanced features. Both successfully enhance the presentation and gameplay experiences with additions like blink-and-you’ll-miss-them loading times, advanced haptics for next-level vibrations, and adaptive triggers that help to make each weapon stand out. These contribute to the game to such an extent that it’s obvious why there isn’t, and likely never will be, a PS4 version.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Review: The final verdict
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is the first PS5 exclusive that I can recommend everyone go out and buy. It’s a cutting-edge masterclass of what the PS5 is capable of, but with the soul of the original R&C games, packaged with a comprehensive set of accessibility options.
Players should find 20-30 hours of enjoyment here with side content and the Platinum Trophy considered. I feel that most players will want to invest those hours and claim the 100% Trophy award across multiple playthroughs, as Rift Apart’s story, gameplay, and presentation is a triumphant trifecta that Insomniac Games has made almost perfect.
Game Revolution reviewed Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart on PS5. Code provided by the publisher.