Ratchet & Clank: QForce

With the franchise now a decade old, it’s somehow comforting that Lombax mechanic Ratchet, along with his metal buddy Clank, are still together throwing spanners, collecting nuts and bolts, and saving the galaxy from alien invaders.

In Ratchet & Clank: QForce, the boys, along with Retired Galactic President Qwark, have to defend three planets from alien invasion. “Three planets? Easy,” I hear you say. Not so fast, because the planets are defensive outposts, and if they fall the whole galaxy is in trouble. So, it’s business as usual for Ratchet & Clank - get some cool weapons, try not to let Captain Qwark make an idiot of himself, and wipe the floor with the alien invaders.

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But, Ratchet & Clank: QForce is different to most of the titles in the PlayStation exclusive franchise. Like 2008’s Quest for Booty, QForce is designed to be downloaded from the PlayStation Network. While it is available on disk for around $40, it’s fairly light on story, concentrating instead on co-op and multiplayer online.

The way it works is you choose to be Captain Qwark, Clank, or Ratchet, and head down to the surface of a planet. Essentially a tower defense game, you have to protect half a dozen generators within your compound, while battling alien attackers, finding and knocking out alien tech, and finally reactivating the planet’s automated defense systems.

Although many of the familiar Ratchet & Clank elements are there, it feels lightweight. It’s as if a tower defense game had a checklist of things from Ratchet & Clank to add to it. A bit of humour, some platforms, the groovitron gun, and the always awesome Mr. Zirkon. It’s all there, but we’ve seen it all before.

There are a couple of entry points to your compound, and a few boxes lying around. Breaking the boxes get you bolts that you can use to place mines, turrets, and force fields. To get more bolts you have to leave the compound. But, if you go too far without building a strong enough automated defense, your generators will be destroyed by the aliens before you can get back. So, the game is a balancing act between collecting bolts, building defenses, and racing around the map trying to find the alien strongholds you need to destroy to clear the level.

The story mode is short, despite the option to play two-player co-op and the presence of a few difficulty spikes. Especially when the alien tanks start rolling in. QForce looks good, plays well, and fans of the franchise will definitely find it both familiar and enjoyable. The maps are compact, but have enough complexity to keep things interesting. You also start each level unarmed. So, you have to search for weapon caches to build up an arsenal powerful enough to take out the aliens. From the Warmonger rocket launcher to the electrified Thundersmack, if you can find them there’s more than enough firepower to keep those aliens in line.

Once you’ve dealt to the aliens, it’s time to head online and deal to the humans. QForce lets you play 1 vs 1 battles or in teams of two, with each side defending a compound containing six generators. The game consists of three stages. In the first you zap around with your hover boots, fighting robots, collecting bolts, and trying to capture waypoints that will generate extra bolts. When the second stage begins you can use your bolts to pay for an attack force, upgrade your health or attack power, or add to your compound’s shields, mines, and turrets. In the final stage you can stay and protect your base, while your small army attacks your opponent, or you can trust in your defenses and head out to blow up the enemy generators.

The online contest works well. You can set up a custom game or just jump straight into a quick match. Although waiting for a match can take a bit of patience, playing a game is a nice blend of getting to know the maps, tactics, and just blasting everything in sight.

Unfortunately, despite being fun, there’s just not much to it. It’s a quarter of a story and just one online mode. And while the whole tower defense thing works, and the game looks, sounds, and plays perfectly well, you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve seen it all before.

Ratchet & Clank: QForce
"Too short, but at least Mr. Zirkon’s still there."
- Ratchet & Clank: QForce
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (6)

Posted by Kegz
On Thursday 13 Dec 2012 8:07 PM
I suppose at least the game sounds like it's not trying to be anything more than a PSN title. They haven't tried to extort any extra money out of the fans just because RnC is a AAA title.
No doubt I'll be picking this up.
Posted by sandrampage
On Monday 17 Dec 2012 7:51 AM
Thats unfortunate. I was going to buy this later on for Vita, but I'm rethinking it over a little now. Tower defense? Really? I have faith in the series and loved it as a kid but I want a true sequel to come out at last (For Vita)
Posted by Vicx
On Tuesday 18 Dec 2012 10:11 PM
I just finished the original trilogy and I'm loving this (only played the demo so far). I think all the R&C games are awesome including All 4 One, I think it's great they're expanding the universe trying something new. Tower Defense is awesome as it is so combine that with R&C and everyone's a winner.
Posted by skhar7
On Sunday 6 Jan 2013 8:05 PM
Need to still play the trilogy before i move onto this one :P
Posted by Cindysm
On Friday 12 Apr 2013 7:48 PM
I wish they would go back to the "old school" R&C.
Posted by ADz_Nz
On Tuesday 16 Apr 2013 8:58 PM
6.0 but low imo