Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction Demo Impressions - 03/11/2007

Ratchet and Clank was the most successful platform series on the PS2, and Insomniac have brought the furry Lombax and his mechanical friend back for their next-gen debut. From the demo, it looks the part, it's hilarious and best of all, it plays like something out of this world!

The demo begins with a cut-scene to get you in the right mood. Ratchet is trying to fix his ship, when Clank gets a message on his thingy-ma-bob inside his chest. Captain Quark, that green, so-called superhero from the other R & C games, is in trouble yet again. Before ducking under an incoming laser, he tells you that heavily armoured space aliens have invaded Metropolis. It's your job to get there, and quick. So Ratchet and Clank hop onto their ship and surprisingly, it malfunctions, which sees you plummeting towards the ground, forcing you to get there on foot.

When you watch the opening cut-scene, you'll notice how polished the game actually is. If you look closely you can see each individual hair on Ratchet's body, the attention to detail is amazing. I tip my hat to Insomniac for creating PS3's first game worthy of a 'graphical achievement' award. And just when you think the best is over, the cut-scene ends and you see that the actual gameplay is just as good, if not better. Without any prompt, I muttered "oh, my, God" at just how good the visuals were. Not just the graphics, but the overall package. If you stand still and look into the distance, you'll see loads of ships, rockets and aliens soaring through the midday sky, shooting each other, dodging each other and in some cases blowing up.

Then comes the first enemies you have to destroy: medium sized robots that only take 2-3 smacks with your infamous wrench to defeat. Then comes your second taster of humour, following Captain Quarks girly scream with a duck - when you beat these guys, their armour disappears leaving an orange fish like creature, reminiscent of The Simpson's three eyed fish. Although it's only funny the first time, you can get a good few laughs out of squashing them with your boots.

There are 5 main weapons you can choose from in the demo, those being the Groovitron, that disco ball weapon that makes each enemy in range boogie down to the music; the Fusion Grenade, which is similar to the Bomb Glove used in earlier Ratchet games; the Transformer, which pretty much speaks for itself, it turns them into penguins; the Combustor, which shoots orange pellets and is just your standard gun; and lastly, your wrench.

While they're all useful, you could probably go through the whole demo only using your wrench and the combustor, as the others have very little ammo and don't do as much damage. The Groovitron can be useful when swarms come at you, but when they start side-stepping it gets harder and harder to actually aim at them. The Transformer is funny more than it is useful, and you'll find yourself just watching the big menacing robots turn into helpless penguins.

To break up the on foot parts, Insomniac have added grind rails and sky-diving sections. The grind rails are just the same as before, you jump between each rail to stop from bumping into oncoming traffic and the odd laser. Or you jump over obstacles and gaps that are stopping you from making your way to wherever it is you're going. The sky-diving part is genius, and sees you running down a bridge that is collapsing under your weight, and then: CRUNCH. The bridge completely snaps off leaving you soaring towards the floor. With a little help from Clank, you have to tilt the SIXAXIS to dodge the traffic that looms below. Insomiac-Ingenius.

Then, you get to the Planetarium and you are confronted by a 4-legged spider-like Robot. He looks at Clank and a toaster icon pops up on screen, to which I went into hysterics, and nearly fell of my chair. Then comes another grind rail bit, and at the end of that you are confronted by a friendlier, but more "Awwww," 'www.ratchetandclank.com.'

So there you have it, my demo impressions of Ratchet and Clank. If you like the sound of demo then you're not going to be disappointed when you buy the game. The gameplay feels smooth and solid, and the seamless transition between gun-play and grinding rails is excellent, and it always keeps you on your toes. If you liked any of the other Ratchet games, then you couldn't go wrong with this. Ratchet And Clank Tools of Destruction could be Sony's first triple A game for the Playstation 3. Nuff said.

- Tyler Roberts



Sony CE
Insomniac Games