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Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus review

Solid
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AT A GLANCE
  • Fun platforming and shooting levels
  • Contains the humor the series is known for
  • Story ends too abruptly
  • Side-scrolling sections aren’t that fleshed out

Ratchet and Clank have been all over the place--and I’m not just talking about the different planets they’ve traveled to. After defending the universe from power-hungry fools and dabbling in a few different genres, the galactic duo is back doing what they do best: running around, cracking jokes, and blowing things up. Into the Nexus feels a lot like classic R&C game and brings the series back to its roots. It’s not very innovative nor does it leave a long-lasting impression, but it’s a nice reminder of what made the series so much fun to begin with.

Keeping things simple, Nexus focuses on the iconic duo's attempt at saving the galaxy via third-person platforming and shoot-outs, eliminating much of the extra fluff introduced in recent games. This stripped down version works in delivering a fast-paced experience that's in line with what you’d expect from the series. Combat sections are quick and enjoyable (a good thing, considering you'll be doing a lot of shooting), and even when you’re not hurling explosives at enemies, Ratchet never slows down. You’ll walk up walls in anti-gravity sections, zoom through swamps on hover boots, and fly around in your stylish jetpack. The varied movement is fun and keeps the action humming at a steady pace.

Ratchet’s arsenal also keeps things fresh, featuring both classic and new weapons that are as inventive as ever. The Winterizer, for example, plays a festive rendition of “Jingle Bells” as it turns enemies into Snowmen, which, as it turns out, are fun to unbuild by way of smashing them with the OmniWrench. Of course, classics like Mr. Zurkon are back but have received some nice new upgrades that provide even more options in battle. 

Nexus occasionally shifts gears, featuring some neat 2D side-scrolling levels starring Clank. Gravity plays a big role here, as you need to change its flow to guide him in and out of interdimensional Netherverse mazes. These sections provide a nice breather amidst all the action, and offer a more puzzle-like approach gameplay. It’s a shame they aren’t that frequent, and there's not much variety to speak of. On top of all that, figuring them out is a cinch.

Progress is mostly linear and story-driven, but Nexus does retain some elements from recent games that work to make this adventure even more enjoyable. You can hop into your ship and fly to a previously explored planet, for example, and complete any secondary objectives or collect things you might have missed. There’s lots of stuff to find, and the return of Challenge Mode (a fancy name for New Game +) adds to the replayability by letting you start a new game on a harder difficulty while retaining all your upgraded equipment. A deathmatch arena featuring waves of enemies and hazards is also included, but it’s rather short and isn’t that challenging--though all the heckling from spectators makes it worth checking out. Ever wondered what burnt Lombax smells like? You’ll soon find out.

To add to all its thrilling moments, clever cutscenes and voiceovers always fill you in on what’s going on, and the usual blend of comedy and action makes it hard not to laugh at times. Expect sexual innuendos and crude humor, though a slightly darker tone also ties in nicely with themes of homesickness and isolation, providing a nostalgic reminder of Ratchet’s past struggles and tough decisions.

Think of Nexus as the end of an adventure, a tying of loose ends after years of games on the PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, this well-crafted adventure ends too abruptly and doesn’t give our heroes complete closure. Some serious moments of reflection let you feel for Ratchet and his friends, but are then brushed off and forgotten. At one point, you travel through a museum that highlights some major victories and characters in the series, but they don’t provide any major significance in the story. Nexus’s conclusion is weak and its cliffhanger ending only seems to exist to build up momentum for future adventures.

Nexus only lasts about five hours. Yeah, it’s pretty short, but those are some good five hours that’ll remind you of why you fell in love with Ratchet and Clank in the first place. Its $30 / £20 price tag makes it a great incentive to pick it up, and it delivers what you’d expect from the series. Nexus may not be the most conclusive of the Ratchet and Clank titles, but it is a (mostly) charming sendoff to years of PS3 gaming.

More Info

Release date: Nov 12 2013 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: Sony
Developed by: Sony

Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus is an admirable return to form, even if it doesn't offer the strongest of conclusions to the Future series. Still, it's an enjoyable bargain at $30 / £20.

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10 comments

  • Doctalen - November 11, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    I haven't played a Ratchet and Clank game since Up Your Arsenal. I miss it *sadface* I'll put buying a ps3 and all of the ratchet and clank games on my to do list.
  • Earthbound_X - November 11, 2013 2:46 p.m.

    A Crack is Time is one of the best games in the series, Future Perfect? Not so much. It's still OK though.
  • Doctalen - November 11, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    Give the next gen consoles a couple of months and the prices will be low enough it wont matter too much ^_^ I bet by now the games are dirt cheap too
  • Earthbound_X - November 12, 2013 3:32 a.m.

    Not sure, I own most of them, but not that last couple that weren't "normal" games in the series. I own All 4 One, but have yet to play it. Last couple games seem to be experiments, 4 player co-op, tower defense. Even this one, going back to the core series, doesn't really seem like a full game in the main series.
  • ObliqueZombie - November 11, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    DAMN, that is a short game. But the price is reasonable, if you one likes NG+'s, which boy do I, especially R&C's. This seems oddly beautiful... Are those bullshots, or is this game really this pretty?
  • Divine Paladin - November 12, 2013 8:21 p.m.

    Having played it today, it's really that pretty. Say what you will about the A4O character models, the backdrops and lighting this engine provides are fucking gorgeous.
  • shawksta - November 11, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    Neat Sucks to know for a trilogy end it's does it abruptly
  • JarkayColt - November 11, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Bummer. I thought the point of this game was to tie the PS3 sub-series up with a bow, so why would it end abruptly on a cliff-hanger? Oh well, I'll probably still play this anyway seeings as it's at a nice price point. I skipped All-4-One and Q-Force so I feel like playing a proper Ratchet again, which this seems to deliver.
  • GOD - November 11, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    I'm ok with a cliffhanger as long as it guarantees we get to see a true to form, full R&C game on PS4.
  • J-spit - November 16, 2013 7:13 a.m.

    DLC

Showing 1-10 of 10 comments

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