Ratchet & Clank test Rift Apart, the ambitious PS5 exclusive

Released on June 11, Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart is the second PS5 exclusive to emerge. Find out what we think of this title in our test.

A few years after the last opus of the franchise, the new title Ratchet & Clank made its sensational debut on PS5 this Friday, June 11. Exclusive to the next-gen console, Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart is intended to be a standalone entry both for fans of the license and for new players discovering it for the very first time on PS5. This AAA signed Insomniac Games has prepared its arrival with ambitious specifications and promises to put us in our eyes. Has this been the case? Discover our opinion through the lines of this test.

A story told with the heart

At the beginning of Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart, our iconic duo are preparing to participate in a eulogy ceremony in their honor. While Clank plans to thank Ratchet for the gift of his friendship over all these years with a Dimensionator, which allows him to reunite with his family, the little party is marred by an attack from their lifelong nemesis, Doctor Nefarious. However, more clumsy than vile, Nefarious succeeds in disrupting the device and inadvertently opens up dimensions at all costs. So it is in an interdimensional world out of control that Ratchet and Clank will try to fix the situation, while being separated for the first time since the beginning of their story.

With Rift Apart, Insomniac Games offers us a successful scenario, worthy of the great Disney Pixar productions, whose title is largely inspired in terms of narration but also animations. If the eternal struggle between Ratchet, Clank and Nefarious was not born out of the last rain, we learn a lot more in this opus on the history of the lombaxes, or on the other peoples of the galaxy. Plus, it’s a story told with so much passion, humor, and compassion that it creates a balance worthy of the best animated films.

As for the dialogues, they are not really exceptional, but Rift Apart knows how to convey his emotions and depth through his animations and everything that surrounds his characters, whether in their facial expressions or in their motivations. We are dealing with strong characters, charismatic and all endearing in their own way. Rivet, the new and double-dimensional Ratchet, is a lombax with a strong head that should not be upset if you do not want to be wrecked. But under his tough shell, Rivet hides a heart at least as big as his ears and compassion to spare. Far from being a female figure who is there to “look pretty”, she has a strong rebellious spirit and brings a real endearing dimension to the title. She also brings a breath of fresh air to a 20-year-old friendship and that doesn’t hurt! The advantage with Rift Apart it is that even the secondary or passenger characters have been worked so that none of the interventions of the NPCs are devoid of depth or personality. Everyone has their little grain of salt to add!

Dimensions and immersion: successful bet?

The selling element of this opus is the interdimensional aspect and the trips between the different planets and dimensions of instantly. The promise of Insomniac Games was to transport us to universes totally different from each other, and to make this aspect the engine of the game. In our opinion, it is a successful bet for the studio which knew how to use its ideas in various contexts and integrate it in a perfectly fluid way. The flaws come to help diversify a gameplay which is not linear, but strongly guided. This can be a black spot for those who dream of a totally free open world where the possibilities are endless and endless. Technically it is, but the characters will sometimes remind you of the main objective with the help of suggestive dialogues. In addition, at the end of a mission, you will automatically be redirected to the very point where the adventure continues, often by means of a cutscene. So you just have to jump into your ship to continue your journey or walk straight in front of you to follow the main quests.

Ratchet Clank Rift Apart Dimensions
Credits: Insomniac Games / Journal du Geek

On the other hand, it’s a great setup for those who would like to focus on the narrative part. Moreover, this does not mean that exploration is prohibited. It is even quite well rewarded thanks to the missions of collectibles which bring you advantages for the rest of your adventure. The optional missions are clearly announced in the menu and therefore it is very easy to follow them. The game map is also very extensive and well captioned. However, we would have liked a little more difficulty on this side, with a map that is revealed gradually and indications of resources that are not given from the start.

The adventure also has a wealth of gameplay that is a pleasure to see. Each character, or almost has his moment of glory within small levels integrated all over the map. Rivet can explore dimensional pockets, Clank shows off his abilities in mini-levels of reflection, and Ratchet meanwhile enlists the help of Glitch, who has his own experiences as well. The whole is sprinkled with a diversity of means of movement and capacities which accumulate gradually. All the capacities and accessories are also shared whether you play as Ratchet or Rivet. When one of the two picks up a prop that influences gameplay, or even a weapon, then the other gets that as well. While this is handy because you can’t get lost between what one or the other has, it’s actually very inconsistent.

Immersion in Rift Apart is supported by a worked and really impactful musical universe. Each composition takes its place perfectly and guides you in the action you lead, whether it is a moment of intense combat or an emotional sequence. Each planet has a musical atmosphere of its own and which humanizes it a little more. Finally, when we play Rift Apart, we have more the impression of having landed in an interactive animated film than in a pure and hard video game, all this thanks to the priority given to the immersive aspect of AAA.

Ratchet Clank Rift Apart Déplacements
Credits: Insomniac Games / Journal du Geek

At the heart of the action

Now let’s move on to one of the iconic aspects of Ratchet & Clank : action and combat. Rift Apart clearly does not revolutionize the franchise on this side but, if all the flagship elements are present, they are pushed to the maximum of their optimization and their originality. In short, we do everything as usual, but better. The combat phases are dynamic and punctuated by an ever-growing arsenal. Weapons introduce some new specialties, such as the topiary sprinkler which allows you to vegetate your enemies and therefore immobilize them for a few seconds. Using adaptive triggers also gives them a dual identity with two different attack angles for each weapon. It is very easy to switch between weapons thanks to the roulette wheel. When you activate it, the action stops momentarily, so you have time to choose your weapon according to your enemies. We can therefore see the hard work of the developers concerning the impressive arsenal that is offered to us.

Ratchet Clank Combats Rivet
Credits: Insomniac Games / Journal du Geek

We also appreciate the diversity of enemies to fight. They each have their signature attacks and clashes often boil down to having to adapt to each opponent while being in the middle of a dozen of them. As the battles are linked, the challenge increases and you take more pleasure in winning a fight, especially when you are facing a myriad of enemies arriving in waves. When you die, you reappear in the thick of the action, so you don’t build up the frustration of having to go to the battle scene again. Also keep in mind that the difficulty can be changed at any time, even in the midst of a fight. However, the stealth approaches are not valued by the game and it is a shame because some fights deserve to be thought more about before being experienced so much the number of enemies is important.

A well-felt PS5 exclusive

From all points of view, Rift Apart is an excellent technological showcase of the functionalities of the PlayStation 5. One could not imagine a DualSense more exploited than it is and the graphic possibilities are simply bluffing. There is almost no difference in quality between cutscenes and gameplay phases, whose transitions are smoothed thanks to the console’s ultra-fast SSD. We will note all the same a slight difference between certain phases which is noticeable but far from being annoying. The SSD also makes it possible to provide much more environments. Rift Apart shows off its many details and animations, imperceptible if you do not seek them, but which make all the difference in the harmonization and realism of the decor. At the time of writing, some minor flaws remain, namely skipping characters or poor synchronization of the dialogues with the gestures of the characters. However, they are extremely rare and may be fixed in the first updates.

Ratchet Clank Rift Apart Monde
Credits: Insomniac Games / Journal du Geek

Right off the bat, you have the choice between three graphic configurations, with or without ray-tracing. If the performance mode sacrifices visual quality, this is the smoothest mode you could find and it’s a real pleasure in combat. If you cannot bring yourself to have less visual richness, then you will be blown away by the quality of the ray-tracing and the graphics, even in the details. This can be seen in particular with Ratchet and Rivet, whose hairs are influenced by the wind and their movements, or even all the metallic parts, in particular Clank, which have more realistic reflections than ever. This is valid for both cutscenes and gameplay phases.

As for the DualSense, it is excellently exploited in the combat phases as much as during the cutscenes. More than the icing on the cake, haptic feedback adds real added value to the immersive experience. Thanks to them, we feel the differences in textures, the effects of the explosions as well as all the small mechanics that we perform during the adventure. Adaptive triggers are more exploited during battles with dual-level weapons as mentioned above. Rift Apart is therefore a title that honors its quality of PS5 exclusivity.

Source: Journal du Geek by www.journaldugeek.com.

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