Console, Gaming, PlayStation, Review

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review: A True Next-Gen Title

Ratchet & Clank is one of the longest-running PlayStation exclusive series, and the latest entry in the franchise, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, is easily the best one yet. Built from the ground up for the PlayStation 5 by Insomniac Games, it looks stunning, it tells a heartfelt story, and it’s a masterful showcase of the PS5’s next-gen hardware.

If you’ve always been a fan of the series, or you simply just want one of the best PS5 games right now, Rift Apart is definitely worth checking out. It’s one of very few games that I strive to get 100% completion – it’s that much fun.

Story

Before we get to it, I have a confession: I’ve never played any entry of the Ratchet & Clank titles, so Rift Apart is my very first experience with the series. Admittedly, I do feel lost in a couple of story moments in the game, but I still find the storyline absolutely compelling.

In fact, Rift Apart made me a fan of the series. As per previous games, the new title revolves around Ratchet and Clank as the duo go against “an evil emperor from another reality.” Joining their adventure is a mysterious female Lombax from another dimension, Rivet.

As you progress through the story, you will come across familiar faces. Well, alternate dimension versions of them, anyway. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, I don’t actually know these characters before starting the game, but I imagine longtime fans of the series will definitely appreciate this.

Without going into spoiler territory, suffice to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Rift Apart’s narrative. There’s a surprising amount of depth to the story; I find myself smiling at the exchanges the characters have in the midst of battle, not to mention the heartfelt moments – which there are quite a number of – throughout the game.

Of course, the excellent voice acting really helps with the immersion of the story too.

That being said, I do wish Rift Apart’s story was a tad longer. Not because it was short by any means – it took me about 15 hours to complete the story without actively completing optional quests – but I was hoping the plot would be advanced just a little bit further.

Granted, the game does have very good character development and replay value, thanks to the new game plus mode dubbed Challenge Mode. Aside from that, I still have a number of optional quests to complete, so there’s no shortage of content here.

Gameplay

I’m genuinely surprised by how much fun Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s gameplay is. I was a little concerned when the combat feels a little too easy in the beginning of the game, but as I progress further, the difficulty does ramp up accordingly. In fact, I had trouble in later parts of the game because I didn’t upgrade my weapons enough.

And boy are there a ton of weapons in Rift Apart. Almost every time I visit the weapon store, there’s a new one up for grabs. All of the weapons feel unique with their own playstyles, and it’s not very difficult to upgrade them with raritanium either; a rare mineral that’s conveniently marked on the map of explored areas.

What makes Rift Apart that much more enjoyable is how Insomniac Games made full use of the DualSense controller’s features. How the adaptive triggers behave, for example, changes from one weapon to another.

Take the basic Burst Pistol: holding the R2 trigger button halfway shoots out one projectile at a time, but depressing the trigger all the way activates the weapon’s burst mode. While holding down the trigger, I can physically feel the trigger vibrating – yes, the trigger was vibrating – with every projectile that’s shot out.

This extra layer of immersion is further amplified by the DualSense’s incredible haptic feedback. Loud music playing in the background? The controller “thumps” accordingly. Walking on a metal floor? Surprisingly, the DualSense’s haptic feedback can even emulate this.

But the DualSense truly impressed me – not that I wasn’t fascinated by it already – when I tried to hit an enemy encased in ice. It’s hard to explain, but I do get the sensation that I am hitting ice with a hard object through the controller’s haptic feedback.

Basically, It really is amazing how well Insomniac Games implemented the DualSense’s range of features in Rift Apart. I’m not exaggerating when I say this controller is one of the PS5’s most important hardware for a true next-gen gaming experience.

Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand. Combat encounters in Rift Apart feel fun and challenging enough without feeling overly difficult, and I love how quickly I can move and dodge in the encounters. When I’m low on health or ammo, I just start running around the area to look for health or ammo crates.

The satisfying, fun combat experience, huge selection of weapons, and extra layer of immersion offered by the DualSense controller make Rift Apart an absolute joy to play through. On top of that, the game loads extremely quickly, and it looks great too – more on that in the next section.

Graphics

This being a PS5 exclusive, it’s a given that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart looks stunning. Character models are rendered in painstaking detail, facial expressions are done very well, and the environment of the different planets look fantastic too.

Three different graphics modes are available in Rift Apart: Fidelity, Performance RT, and Performance. The first mode, as its name suggests, focuses on delivering the best-looking graphics at 4K resolution with ray-tracing and enhanced lighting, but the frame rate is capped at 30fps.

Performance, on the other hand, is a dynamic 4K mode that sets the frame rate higher at 60fps. If you want the best of both worlds, there’s Performance RT: while it’s also a dynamic 4K mode, it runs at a lower resolution to offer ray-tracing at 60fps.

While Rift Apart looks gorgeous when running in Fidelity mode, my go-to graphics setting is Performance RT. Sure, some graphics fidelity is sacrificed in this mode, but in fast-paced combat, having the game run at a much smoother 60fps more than make up for it. Plus, I still get ray-tracing as well.

Conclusion

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a fantastic PlayStation 5 exclusive. It has stunning-looking graphics, its gameplay is fun with plenty of replay value, it tells a heartfelt story, and the way the game uses the DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers really elevate this game to must-play status, in my opinion.

Yes, Rift Apart’s RM299 price tag is steep, but this is how much a high-profile PS5 game of this calibre will be priced at moving forward. Plus, you’re getting a lot of game for the money here, and I cannot wait to get the platinum trophy in this game as I complete the slew of optional quests and hidden achievements – long after I’ve completed the main storyline.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart launches on the PS5 on 11 June 2021.