This PS5 exclusive, described as a “interactive Pixar film,” is the best PlayStation exclusive since God of War 4.
Today, I’m going to get right to the point. I adore. This. Sport.
So rarely does a piece of entertainment fulfill all three criteria: it looks good, feels good, and is incredibly entertaining.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart not only checks those boxes, but confidently demolishes them with an explosion of color, spectacular set pieces, and snappy dialogue.
We’ve grown accustomed to high expectations from Insomniac Games, the creators of Ratchet and Clank, Spyro, and the comic book devotees who brought us two of the greatest superhero games in Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020).
Insomniac has created the best PlayStation exclusive since God of War 4 and the best platformer outside of Nintendo’s Mario galaxy this time around.
Since 2002, the Ratchet and Clank adventures have remained relatively straightforward but engrossing. Ratchet, a feline-like humanoid with a taste for high-tech weaponry, and his robot sidekick Clank face off against villains vying for galaxy dominance.
Rift Apart is the eleventh installment (including one re-release) in the Ratchet and Clank franchise, but you don’t need to have played any of the previous games to fall in love with these characters. Naturally, the more familiar you are with the source material, the more Easter egg references to its past you will appreciate.
In Rift Apart, we find world-savers Ratchet and Clank attending a celebration in their honor, despite the fact that they have “not done anything heroic in years,” as Ratchet notes. He panics that their legions of fans now believe they’re washed-up, a self-deprecating reference to the pair’s 2013 adventure.
However, supervillain Dr. Nefarious — delightfully voiced by Armin Shimerman, who has one of the best evil cackles — interrupts the festivities halfway through, stealing the Dimensionator and leaving an interdimensional mess in his wake.
Rivet, Ratchet’s female interdimensional counterpart for whom Nefarious is not just a doctor but an emperor, is also introduced, and the two fuzzballs team up to finally destroy him. You, as the player, will alternate between them at various points.
Similar to Pixar, but superior
This game is best described as an interactive Pixar film. This is a visually stunning world in which family-friendly, cartoonish innocence coexists with perfectly timed jokes that only adults would understand.
For instance, during your time on Rivet’s planet, you meet Trudi, a fire-breathing dragon who is lying on her side and appears to be near death. “Aw, you’re still up late partying?” Rivet inquires. One of the game’s many amusing misdirections.
In a nutshell, gameplay is enjoyable. It’s a lot of fun. Rift Apart is an action-packed and beautifully paced dodge-and-shoot. Although there is little downtime, you never feel overwhelmed.
You’ll acquire new and outrageously creative firearms at an incredible rate, as long as you’ve accumulated enough raritanium crystals for eccentric weapons dealer Ms. Zurkon.
From traditional pistol, shotgun, and grenade launcher mechanics to chain-striking enemies with a blast of light and an apocalypse glove that deploys agents of chaos, there is a diverse array of gadgets to choose from and improve through upgrades.
The gameplay makes extensive use of the PS5’s adaptive triggers, which enhance immersion through resistance and dynamic vibrations.
My only criticism is that I felt like I was squandering an opportunity by playing as Rivet. While she is an engrossing character, it is unfortunate that she does not offer anything novel in terms of combat or weapons.
However, the truth is that there is so much to admire about Rift Apart. With its breathtaking set design, astounding attention to detail (watch Ratchet’s ears flap in the wind), and engaging combat, this is how video games should be.