Ratchet & Clank: Nexus


By: Fiona O'Kane    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Monday 18 Nov 2013 3:33 PM
 
 
 
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If you’ve been a fan of the Ratchet & Clank franchise since 2002, and its numerous cross-platform sequels, you’ll have your hopes up about the latest release, Nexus. You’ll be expecting humour, a crazy arsenal of weapons, an engaging story (involving classic characters such as Captain Quark), and enough fun to fill a space freighter.

And you’ll get it.

Nexus cracks along from the get-go. The story opens with heroes Ratchet (the last living Lombax) and his robotic buddy Clank charged with escorting the psychotic Vendra Prog to a maximum security prison. Unfortunately her equally psychotic - and absolutely gigantic - twin brother Neftin is still on the loose. Ratchet and Clank must keep their wits about them, as all the signs point to a rescue attempt.

Developers Insomniac didn’t become the success they are by accident: this latest release has poise, polish, humour, and a hint of drama too; everything required to really keep the player engaged. Despite multiple releases over the last decade, they have maintained a generally very consistent quality product for their eager audience, and Nexus is more of the same good old Lombax-and-three-veg fare we’ve come to expect.

The major appeal of playing a Ratchet & Clank title has always been the outlandish weaponry. The pleasure is in carefully upgrading your weapons by particular skill, and rationing out your ammo to suit the opponent - there’s nothing worse than being left to feebly smack a baddie of Bayonetta proportions with your wrench. But don’t let the fact that you can turn your enemies into snowmen fool you into thinking the game is going to be easy. The weapons have to be bought gradually, as you find enough bolts (the game's currency) along the way to afford bigger and better weapons. You can also gradually modify and improve all your weapons by upgrading them with collected raritanium, the mineral found sparingly in nooks and crannies on all the planets you visit.

Add to that the sheer comedy value of being able to turn your enemies into Christmas snowmen, terrify them with a screaming clown plant, or blast them backwards in slow motion like a scene from a John Woo film, and you’ve got hours of entertainment just from the weapons alone.

For the record: my favourite weapon of all time will always be Mr Zurkon. This time there are other Zurkons, too. I sometimes like to get Mr Zurkon out even when I’m not in a fight, just to keep Ratchet and Clank entertained while jogging around planets. I enjoy the way he smack talks enemies, tells Ratchet that his time shouldn’t be wasted on crates, or that “Mr Zurkon has no need for bolts . . . his currency is paaaaain.”

The controls stick firmly to the tried and true: use triangle to select from your weapon wheel, and use the shoulder button to fire. The automatic camera angle is generally pretty good, but you can control it manually using the right stick if needed. As you gather equipment you can rocket, hoverboot, and activate energy streams that you can use as bridges. The controls remain easy to operate, even with these multiple gadgets to manage.

New to this title is Clank’s ability to enter the Nexus (a darker, more scary, dimension). It’s a fun new side scrolling dynamic, where you move Clank around with the left stick, and use the right stick to shift the gravitational field. These mini levels are artistically very different, with a purple and black nightmare look about them, reminiscent of PlayStation classic Heart of Darkness.

Throughout the story, the script is laugh out loud funny, and the characters are as endearing as ever. Some examples of the brilliant in-game enemy quips include “I’m going to kill you, and it’s going to look really good on my resume”, “Hey! He hit me with his omniwrench!” and “Oooh, dibs on that omniwrench!”

Best of all: when you need to obtain the upgraded rocket pack to progress through the story, it naturally appears as the prize in the gladiatorial contest. The announcer says “This oddly specific prize will allow your robot to...”

Comedy gold.

The only disappointing factor is that Nexus isn’t especially long. The planets featured all have their own distinct look and beautifully crafted environments, but sady there just aren’t that many of them. The Planet Thrag is a particularly fun place that you can spend an extended amount of time exploring. There are numerous small islands and giant animals to hunt, items to collect, and quests to complete for another old friend. And, once you get all the gadgets, the world expands even more; it’s a real pleasure to explore the whole map and gather up every available bolt to buy more weapons and armour.

Nexus will delight new players and veterans alike with its humour, enjoyable gameplay, and captivating story. And if you’re disappointed with it being finished too soon, you can always play through again on a harder difficulty level, and see if your Lombax has the necessary skills to be known as Legend. Recommended.


The Score

Ratchet & Clank: Nexus
"Funny, frantic, & surprisingly touching. Long live Ratchet and Clank!"
8.7
Great
Rating: PG   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min

 

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Comments (10)

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KatalystaKaos
On Monday 18 Nov 2013 4:14 PM Posted by KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP
So glad to read the series has gone back to traditional it's OTT weaponry & comedy R&C goodness.

Though this, and I quote from someone/where else, Facebook maybe? This should have been a PS4 launch title. Seems its better than Knack from all accounts, an established and thus much bigger fan-base that's for sure. You'd think it would have been easy enough to spruce up the visual for the next gen platform.

As it stands for me personally it's another must play top PS3 title to join my already long enough current gen back-list & as such further put off the purchase of a PS4.
 
 
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CloudAxel16
On Monday 18 Nov 2013 5:11 PM Posted by CloudAxel16 NZGamer.com VIP
A crack in time is one of my favourite games of all time so I'm glad this game has traditional game-play. Also is it Nexus or Into the nexus?
 
 
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phantom
On Monday 18 Nov 2013 6:01 PM Posted by phantom NZGamer.com VIP
18 November 2013, 05:11 PM Reply to CloudAxel16
A crack in time is one of my favourite games of all time so I'm glad this game has traditional game-play. Also is it Nexus or Into the nexus?
It's called "Nexus" here, and "Into the Nexus" in the US. No idea why there's a difference, but there is... o_O
 
 
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fauzman
On Monday 18 Nov 2013 7:09 PM Posted by fauzman NZGamer.com VIP
I love this series. Was disappointed that this game isnt as full-on as prev. Not to mention the prev few dubious MP aand tower-fortress games. Still, one of my favs of all time.
 
 
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dark_hadou1
On Tuesday 19 Nov 2013 8:07 AM Posted by dark_hadou1 NZGamer.com VIP
This is out tomorrow? Man time flies!

Looking forward to some more platforming, always keen on some Ratchet and Clank :)

Wonder if Copernicus Leslie Qwark will make his usual cameo
 
 
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Sam
On Tuesday 19 Nov 2013 8:52 AM Posted by Sam NZGamer.com VIP
Looks good, I love a bit of R and C with the over the top weapons and stories
 
 
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Jakted
On Tuesday 19 Nov 2013 12:33 PM Posted by Jakted
never really got into this series
 
 
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reavers
On Wednesday 20 Nov 2013 3:46 AM Posted by reavers NZGamer.com VIP
19 November 2013, 12:33 PM Reply to Jakted
never really got into this series
Give it a go, this is some good entertainment fun with Ratchet and Clank. Have enjoyed it since the very first R&C title on PS2
 
 
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Muggshot_
On Tuesday 26 Nov 2013 1:25 AM Posted by Muggshot_ NZGamer.com VIP
I think this would be a nice way to send of my PS3 before getting next gen :P
 
 
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caitlin007
On Monday 2 Dec 2013 3:54 PM Posted by caitlin007
Cant wait to get my hands on it! have loved most of the R&C series (quest for booty was a bit of a waster though)
 
 
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