Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (known as Nexus in Europe) is suppose to be an epilogue to the Future trilogy. It certainly does have a bit of flashbacks and membering previous events, but on the whole, you don’t need to have played the previous games to understand or enjoy the story. The game starts with a bang. Ratchet and Clank need to escort a notorious villain, Vendra Prog, to custody. After a brief tutorial, things go south for Ratchet as Vendra’s brother Neflin comes guns-blazing to the rescue. From there starts the chase to catch the siblings and bring them to justice, learn about their devious plan and, yet again, save the whole universe from utter destruction.
Into the Nexus being a budget title, the game is shorter than your full priced game, but still longer than the last short story, Quest for Booty. It took me roughly 7-8 hours to complete the game on Legendary difficulty. Due to the length of the game, the pacing is important, and in it Into the Nexus nails it. You have a constant flow of travelling from planet to planet, getting new fire power and items and combine this with the witty dialog between the characters, it will keep you entertained for the whole ride.
As you would expect, Into the Nexus looks beautiful, like a Pixar animation come to life. Each of the planets (except the last one) you visit have their own style and feel to them, but all share a spooky Halloween theme. Seeing the imagination put into each planet, it’s a bit sad for the last planet to forfeit all this at the expense of looking back at the series and doing purely fan-service. I would have liked more imagination, but pleasing the fans is understandable. Like the scenery, the characters are greatly presented, and as mentioned before, their voice work really brings the characters to life, without forgetting the classic R&C -humor.
Unlike previous Ratchet games such as the co-op oriented All 4 One and the tower-defense game Full Frontal Assault, Into the Nexus brings Ratchet back to its roots with the platformer and shooting gameplay from A Crack in Time. Into the Nexus still has a couple of new things up its sleeve. Bouncing from one platform to another in zero gravity with your gravity boots is very linear, yet fun to do. Or how does it sound to create portal pathways and glide your way to new heights? But by far the best addition is having the ability to use a jetpack in wide open areas to explore the surroundings at your own pace. Even Clank isn’t left alone and he has his own moments in gravity-defying Netherverse sequences that require not only platforming skill, but also a bit of thinking. These were the highlights for me personally.
Ratchet and Clank have always been known for their arsenal of imaginative weapons and Into the Nexus doesn’t disappoint. From the basic guns and bombs all the way to the Blizz-o-matic which turns enemies into snowmen, and Mr. Zurkon, your trusty companion killer, there’s something for everyone. Using any weapon increases its level and with it, the gun gets more powerful and crazy. Large bombs that break into smaller ones? Black holes sucking everything towards them and then exploding? And with your collected Raritanium you can unlock even more modifications to your gun ranging from rate of fire and attack damage to how much bolts will defeated enemies generate for you. Having this kind of firepower though, will have a negative effect on the framerate, when fights get hectic. And I mean, really hectic! Every weapon also differs enough to be interesting and they’re all a lot of fun to play with. I switched between weapons constantly and during playtime I never felt I favorited one weapon over another. And let’s not forget the infamous RYNO, which also makes a return…
After beating the game, you can enter Challenge Mode, which is basically New Game +. You can keep all your weapons and upgrades and play through the game again, now against tougher enemies. Due to the size of the game and the incentive to see how crazy the weapons can get, I immediately started my next playthrough, and this time it took me roughly three hours to complete. It’s not a particularly long game on the whole, but I felt I got my moneys worth of it. There are also skill points and gold bolts to collect and some miscellaneous activities to do such as competing in area battles or collecting horns for money.
Overall Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is taking itself back to basics and in it, it succeeds. A beautiful looking short story, crafted with fun ideas, replay value and a good price point, it wraps up the Future -series quite nicely and leaves us hoping that we haven’t seen the last of our wonderful dynamic duo.