If the 2016 release of Ratchet & Clank served as an opportunity to present the franchise to a new generation of fans, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the perfect catalyst to launch it – and gaming as a whole – into the next generation. With gorgeous graphics, cleverly hidden loading zones, and brilliant writing, Rift Apart is already a strong contender for game of the generation.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart follows the events of 2013’s Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus and features series stalwarts Ratchet and Clank as well as the addition of a new playable character in Rivet. While Rift Apart does technically follow the events of Into the Nexus, it can absolutely be played as a standalone game without knowledge of Into the Nexus.
As the first game truly made for next-generation consoles, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is designed to show off all of the features that make the PlayStation 5 such an appetizing purchase. While enhanced graphics and decreased loading times have been seen in patches for other games on the system, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart stands… ahem… apart… and benefits from being the first major game made exclusively for the PlayStation 5. The most obvious example of this is the existence of both the Performance and Performance Ray Tracing modes, with the latter providing the incredible look of next-generation gaming while still playing at 60 FPS, something that could only be done on this modern generation of consoles.
Each location in the game has its own distinct look and feel, and while it may be cliche to compare modern animated games to Pixar movies, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart absolutely deserves credit for creating a world that feels so vibrant and detailed that it can be compared to some of the most beloved animated entertainment of all time. Whether you are making your way through the bustling and dystopian Nefarious City or the Borderlands-esque Molonoth Gulch, each planet you visit feels so incredibly immersive and has its own personality that it can sometimes be hard to leave and move on to the next one.
It’s more than just pretty looks and smooth gameplay that make Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart a shining example of what the PlayStation 5 is capable of, with the DualSense controller given many opportunities to shine in ways that don’t feel tacky or added on purely as an afterthought. Insomniac use the DualSense to make locations in the game feel truly alive, to the point that when I walked into Club Nefarious early on in the game I could feel my hands vibrating as if an entire club’s worth of subwoofers were somehow contained inside the controller I was holding.
The haptic feedback on the DualSense is also used to give the weapons, a long-standing highlight of the Ratchet & Clank series, each their own distinctive feel. Several of the weapons even use partial pulls of the L2 and R2 buttons for different attacks, adding an extra layer to the already fascinating selection of weapons. Speaking of weapons, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart sees the expected return of the famous Omniwrench as well as some truly fascinating additions like the Lightning Rod (my personal favorite) and the deadly-looking RYNO 8. If you are hoping for a wide variety of zany and unique weapons, it definitely does not disappoint.
While fancy graphics, high frame rates, and a variety of weapons are all good, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart would eventually become an afterthought drowned out by the plethora of upcoming games for the PlayStation 5 if it weren’t for the outstanding writing. Thankfully, the team at Insomniac Games manages to nail the balance between humor and emotion that manages to hit the mark consistently throughout the game. The series has traditionally only contained Ratchet and Clank as playable characters, but the addition of Rivet as an alternate-dimension counterpart to Ratchet was an excellent decision and was executed flawlessly.
Even though Rivet is just meant to be Ratchet in an alternate universe, she is given her own unique personality and characterizations and feels like she has been a part of the series for as long as our main hero. Ratchet was able to benefit from years of saving the universe with Clank by his side, and so since Rivet spent her years fighting alone we see a character struggling to trust these so-called heroes from a different dimension that claim to be friendly. Watching her development over the course of the game and her interactions with the Ratchet and Clank that we all have come to know and love is a genuinely great experience, one that could have easily been botched if Insomniac didn’t given Rivet the care and attention she deserved when writing for her.
Overall, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a delightful romp through a vibrant galaxy that really gives the PlayStation 5 a chance to shine in a way no other game has managed to do so far. I would not be surprised if this game is still being talked about a decade from now as a generation-defining game, and the plaudits would be well-deserved. If I were to pick one bad thing to say about the game, it’s that my time with it ended and I can’t experience it for the first time all over again.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is available now for the Playstation 5.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
While no game is completely perfect, it’s hard to find fault with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The game is stunningly beautiful, incredibly smooth to play, and brilliantly written. A truly vibrant and dynamic universe you will never want to leave.