Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
|Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time|
North American PlayStation 3 box art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Series||Ratchet & Clank|
|Engine||Insomniac Engine v.4.0|
|Release date(s)||NA October 27, 2009
AUS November 5, 2009
EU November 6, 2009
JP November 19, 2009
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (known as Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time in most PAL countries) is a 2009 platformer video game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 in North America on October 27, 2009, in Australia on November 5, 2009 and in Europe on November 6, 2009.
A Crack in Time game features gameplay mechanics new to the Ratchet & Clank series. One such mechanic involves the Chronosceptor: A staff that repairs broken objects when you hit a broken object with it. This device may also be used like Ratchet's wrench, to fight off enemies. By using special "time pads", Clank can also record up to a minute of his actions and then a holographic Clank replays them, while the real Clank does something else. Up to four copies of Clank can be recorded at a time. These holographic Clanks can help to solve puzzles. In addition to gadgets like the Swingshot and Gravity Boots from previous games, Ratchet has a pair of Hoverboots, allowing him to move more quickly around planets and moons.
In a noticeable departure from all previous games in the series, Ratchet can now fly his ship freely between planets on a two-dimensional ecliptic in various zones, going to small moons and completing optional challenges, earning special items such as Zoni, gold bolts, and weapon mods in the process. The ship's blasters, missiles, and armor can also be upgraded by obtaining additional Zoni. The game also has new weapons known as Constructo Weapons. These fall into three main categories; shotgun, bomb, and pistol. Each weapon can be modified with additional features and altered in appearance to make a weapon unique to the player.
A Crack In Time picks up where Quest For Booty left off, with Ratchet searching the Polaris galaxy for Clank after the Zoni whisked him away two years ago, when the climax of Tools of Destruction took place. After Dr. Nefarious repairs him and turns against the Zoni, Clank awakens in an alternate dimension housing a giant mechanism called the Great Clock, maintained by another robot named Sigmund. Sigmund introduces himself as junior caretaker for the Clock, guides him through it, and introduces him to a computer simulation of the Zoni's leader Orvus, contained in Clank's subconscious memory. Orvus' goal is to have Clank become the senior caretaker for the Great Clock. Orvus teaches him how to repair time anomalies, and Clank discovers through Sigmund that Orvus left the Great Clock two years ago and never returned.
Meanwhile, Ratchet discovers another Lombax in the galaxy, a rebel known as General Alister Azimuth, who also happened to know Ratchet's father, Kaden. Ratchet enlists his help in obtaining another Obsidian Eye, like the one Ratchet used in Quest For Booty, which would allow them to communicate with Clank. As they journey together, Azimuth reluctantly reveals what happened to the other Lombaxes and why he was left in Polaris: Tachyon had approached the Lombaxes with ideas to benefit the galaxy after the Great War was over. Kaden had warned Azimuth not to trust the young Cragmite, and the rest of the Lombaxes were getting increasingly suspicious of him. Azimuth gave Tachyon access to the Lombaxes' technology, and Tachyon used it as a way to destroy the Lombaxes, resulting in many casualties including Ratchet's mother. Azimuth believes he was responsible for Kaden's eventual murder by Tachyon. When the Lombaxes fled to another dimension, Azimuth was forbidden from following as punishment for his crimes and had been living in exile ever since. Azimuth asserts that by using the Great Clock, they can stop the tragedy from happening, though he warns Ratchet that their use of the Clock to stop Tachyon could erase much about their timeline, including Ratchet meeting Clank in the first place. Nonetheless, Ratchet agrees to help him reach the Clock and use it to this end.
After finding the Eye and managing to communicate with Clank, the robot urges them to go to Zanifar, the planet Orvus had gone to before he disappeared. On Clank's request, Sigmund creates a time portal on Zanifar that travels back to the time of Orvus' disappearance two years ago; through this time portal, Ratchet comes across Orvus being interrogated by Nefarious about the Great Clock. Orvus warns Nefarious that the Clock is not a time machine and disappears. Ratchet discovers through this encounter with the past that Clank was designed by Orvus, which makes him his father.
Clank encounters the Plumber while investigating his own memory banks, and through their exchange, he explains that while him and Ratchet are still friends, he has a higher responsibility to the Great Clock; the Plumber cryptically states that he "wouldn't risk more than six minutes", before sending Clank back out of his own mind again. Clank is taken prisoner by Nefarious' butler Lawrence shortly after.
Ratchet eventually manages to rescue Clank from Nefarious' underlings, and apologizes for his apparent failure to save Orvus in the past. Clank accepts, stating that keeping the Clock safe from Nefarious is more important. Ratchet tries to convince Azimuth of what he discovered through Orvus, that the Great Clock is not designed to alter time in any major way, and its improper use could damage the very fabric of existence. Azimuth does not believe him and after unsuccessfully trying to sway Ratchet to his side again, leaves the party in his own ship.
Ratchet and Clank, along with Captain Qwark, confront Nefarious at his space station, and the latter reveals his plan to use the Clock to rewrite time so that he and other villains always emerge victorious. Ratchet unsuccessfully tries to convince him that tampering with the Clock is not worth the risk, and Nefarious maroons him and Clank on an asteroid while Qwark remains as a prisoner.
The asteroid collides with a nearby planet, although the duo are protected from the impact by the Zoni Ratchet had found. They use another time portal to alter the course of local history, defeating an invading force of Agorians that had originally wiped out the local populace of Fongoids. They obtain the Agorian commander's ship from the Fongoids in return for their help, which they use to pursue Nefarious again. After another confrontation with Nefarious at Lawrence's starship, they manage to escape the vessel's explosive collision with Nefarious' space station by boarding a returning Azimuth's ship. Nefarious is left to his apparent fate in the starship's destruction.
Once they reach the Great Clock, Azimuth once again confronts the duo about their reluctance to take advantage of its power to save the Lombaxes, but Ratchet reasserts that it wouldn't be worth the risk and that the past is not meant to be changed. In his outrage, Azimuth strikes Ratchet down as he is walking Clank to the Clock's central chamber, but the robot is able to seal him out in time. The meaning of the Plumber's advice earlier, not to risk more than six minutes, dawns on him and he uses a control lever in the chamber to reverse time by six minutes, to just before Azimuth's attack, taking the blow for Ratchet instead.
Ratchet chases Azimuth down to the central chamber, and is unable to stop him before he has pulled the lever again in an attempt to shift time at a massive scale, which causes the Clock to start tearing itself apart. After defeating Azimuth, Ratchet attempts to set the lever back but it snaps in his hands. Realizing his mistake, Azimuth uses his own wrench to set the lever in the right position, sacrificing himself in the process.
After reviving Clank and releasing the Zoni back to the Great Clock, Ratchet goes to make his leave on his own, but Clank decides to continue accompanying him and appoint Sigmund as senior caretaker of the Clock in his place; meeting his own father made him realize that he could not leave Ratchet on his own, at least until he is reunited with his own kind.
David Bergeaud did not return to score the music for the game but was replaced by Boris Salchow who, according to Hookedgamers.com, delivered the most "film-like" score for the series to date and that his work added a great sense of emotion to the story.
In March 2009, the PlayStation Blog later announced that a design contest for a weapon would be run until April 10, with the winning design being featured as a usable weapon in the game, as well as a real-life replica being made for the winner and a trip to Comic-Con for the weapon's unveiling to the public. The winning design was the "Spiral Of Death", a weapon that shoots glowing sawblades that after a certain range, return to the user, somewhat like a yo-yo.
In July 2009, Sony announced that players who pre-ordered the game from selected retailers in North America would be able to unlock one of four additional in-game content packs. It was confirmed however, that the package will simply unlock the items earlier in the game—the player can still earn these items while playing. A collector's edition of the game was released in the UK, featuring a 3D-cover, artwork book, and a voucher for use on the PlayStation Network which unlocks the Insomniac Moon, an ingame area which showcased content cut from the game.
A Ratchet & Clank-themed game space was released for PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based service. The "Ratchet & Clank: Time Travelers" space has several casual mini-games, like the Firing Range (past, present, and future) that have rewards like a model of Ratchet's ship for the users personal spaces. Users can also purchase a costume of Ratchet and a Clank back pack from the space's shop. In addition to the game space, there is a themed apartment, the "Ratchet & Clank: Home Sweet Home", that users can purchase. Both the game space and apartment were released on October 15, 2009 in the European and North American versions of Home. Both the Game Space and apartment were released to the Asian and Japanese version on November 19, 2009.
Ratchet & Clank-themed action figures were released in January 2010.
On July 10, 2013, a fourth installment was announced. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus was released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 on November 12, 2013. This is an epilogue to the Future sub-series.
A Crack in Time has received highly positive reviews. IGN's Ryan Clements called it "One of the best Ratchet games ever made" and also noted that it plays like the other Ratchet installments and that players who are not yet tired of the series formula will enjoy it. Eurogamer scored the game 7/10 criticizing the game's lack of innovation and describing it as "more of the same". Reviewer Ellie Gibson did however praise the game as a "quality platformer" commenting specifically on its "superb combat system, decent puzzles, fun weapons, pretty visuals and [...] variation". GameTrailers said that "If A Crack in Time is indeed the final Ratchet & Clank game, then the series has been finished the right way". PSM3 scored the game 90/100 calling it as "Massive, rewarding, funny - all you'd expect, plus some cute new twists".
GamePro reviewer Will Herring felt that the game's camera angles were problematic at times, a statement echoed by Joe Rybicki of GameSpy, but praised its new innovations, calling the hoverboots one of the game's "most enjoyable additions [to the series]". Rybicki found the game's weapon selection "lackluster", especially early in the game, while praising some of the time-based Clank levels. Dan Ryckert, of Game Informer, said that "the Clank sections are the best puzzles seen in the series to date".
A Crack in Time was nominated for the "Outstanding Achievement in Animation", "Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering", "Outstanding Achievement in Original Story", and "Adventure Game of the Year" Interactive Achievement Awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
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