Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart review: the PS5's first must-own game has arrived
The PlayStation 5 exclusive arrives this Friday.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales was fantastic, but did feel like it fell between the two stools of full game and DLC. The remastered Demon's Souls was great, but not essential to anyone who played it before. Destruction All-Stars was a lot of fun, but hardly a game changer.
Almost seven months to the day since the PlayStation 5 was released, and we've got our first must-own exclusive game for the console in the shape of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Representing a Best Of in terms of platforming, shooting, and puzzle solving, this also feels like the closest we'll get to a Guardians Of The Galaxy game for some time, as it effortlessly mixes humour, pathos and action into one visually stunning, massively entertaining product.
If it has been a long time since you've played a Ratchet & Clank game, or if you've never played one before, don't worry, as the game picks up with our two heroes celebrating at a parade in their honour, only for it to be crashed by their nemesis Doctor Nefarious, now armed with a weapon that allows them to travel between dimensions.
But it may also cause all known realities to stop existing, and in trying to stop him, our heroes are split up and paired up with alternative dimension versions of themselves: Ratchet teams up with Kit, a shy robot with a big secret, and Clank helps out Rivet, a kick-ass heroine who has got used to saving the universe on her own.
So we jump back and forth, depending on the level, controlling Ratchet or Rivet, in a series of gorgeously realised worlds.
When a game relies on action and gunplay as much as Rift Apart requires, it really needs to be as finessed as possible, and we're happy to report that it is properly brilliant here. The wide variety of arsenal at your disposal is staggering, but never overwhelming, allowing you to balance attack and defence, up-close power and long-distance precision.
Pausing in the heat of the battle to switch between weapons gives a brief respite to the adrenaline-pumping set-pieces, but your instinct is never to take your time, but to wisely choose your next weapon and continue into the thick of it.
The same amount of care and attention has been paid to the platforming sections, which will need both patience and lightning fast reflexes, and help add to the sprawling sense of scale to each of the levels we're playing through. The same goes for the puzzle sections, some of which see you controlling Clank, and seem to borrow liberally from the classic Lemmings games.
It all coalesces into a uniquely entertaining combination of gameplay styles, but they all still manage to mesh tremendously well together. It also helps that the game is often very, very funny - at times barely a shade lighter in tone than Portal.
If some of the characters sometimes lean a little too hard into struggling with their individual crises (a supporting character who is used to defeat computer viruses is particularly saccharine), it is a small price to pay for a game that will be equally delightful to a 10-year-old as it would be to a 40-year-old, but like the best Disney movies, in two very different ways.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is released exclusively on PlayStation 5 on Friday, 11 June.
Clip via PlayStation