Ratchet and Clank – Cloud Gaming Review

Platformers. If there was one genre that is synonymous with video games, this would be it. We’ve had some great ones over the years too. The original Ratchet and Clank is from the PlayStation 2 era, when 3D platformers were enjoying their golden age. Ratchet and Clank were peers to Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, Blinx the Time Sweeper, Crash Bandicoot and many, many more. When Ratchet launched in 2002, it would be among the most well-received of the PS2 platformers, and would go on to spawn more sequels than any other 3D mascot, including Mario himself. But this is the one that started it all. And after replaying it again this year, I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. The original Ratchet and Clank isn’t just a great game to play in the modern era, it might be the best version of this beloved duo.

Ratchet and Clank on PS Plus

A dynamic team

One thing you’ll immediately notice about the story is how sassy Ratchet is. When this game was remade in 2016, they rewrote the entire story and made Ratchet a lot more kind, more kid friendly. But in the original game, Ratchet has a huge attitude problem, and I love it. He mostly lives a life of solitude, tinkering with whatever he can get his hands on. He finds Clank in a shipwreck and sets him aside, presumably to use him for spare parts later. When Clank wakes out of his hibernation, he calls Ratchet to aid him on an adventure.

Ratchet is reluctant at first and actually remains that way for most of the game, only being convinced to play the hero when there’s a new gadget, ship or weapon that he can get in exchange for the trouble. Of course, through the adventure the two are at odds with each other, but through their mutual struggle they build a great friendship that feels far more authentic than the late 2016 remake did.

Platforming greatness

And there’s something else that the original does better than perhaps any of its sequels. It feels more platformer than shooter. In later games, the action would be more intense and the series became a light-hearted shooting gallery. In the original, it’s more about the jumps and selecting the right weapon for the situation. For example, a famous series staple is strafing back and forth while jumping to avoid shots while you just spray whatever is in front of you. There’s lock-on targeting and weapon leveling, giving you flexibility on how you like to handle particular encounters. That of course is a natural evolution of a game like this, but there’s something pure about the way the original handles its encounters. There’s barely a lock-on system here.

When you encounter a group of enemies, it really is a pray and spray situation, firing shots towards the camera because you know there’s an enemy SOMEWHERE over there, but you can’t rotate the camera fast enough to tell. In some situations, you’ll equip a flamethrower and just run around in circles because that’s the most viable strategy. For some, that could be a complaint, but in my estimation it gives Ratchet and Clank a unique identity. It’s not a shooter. It’s a platformer. But it’s not a jumpy platformer like Mario or Donkey Kong where you bonk every enemy on the head. It’s not a punching platformer like Crash or Sly Cooper where you’re slapping enemies to death. It’s a shooting platformer and possibly the only one of its kind.

Ratchet and Clank on PS Plus

Great arsenal

In the original Ratchet and Clank, you’ll see a group of enemies in front of you and need to select a particular few weapons for taking them out. If you’re approaching from a higher vantage point, you might toss down some explosives with the bomb glove to thin the herd. If they have the height advantage, you might equip some drones to seek enemies out as soon as they come near you, giving you the few seconds you need to pull out your blaster and unload. For example, if multiple enemies have long-range weapons, you’ll throw out a decoy to distract them, so you can move in close with your rocket launcher. If you were to judge this game by traditional shooting mechanics, Ratchet and Clank is a horrible third-person shooter.

But because it’s bad at being a shooter, it requires you to use your tools thoughtfully to survive encounters. There’s no brute forcing your way through enemies with a maxed-out machine gun, as it was possible in later entries. In the 2016 remake, I had a few guns that I stuck with as my favorites. But playing through the original here, I found myself using every single weapon as I encountered new and unique situations in every world. That might sound like I’m excusing the game out of nostalgia, but you must understand, there is so much about this game that feels so tightly constructed, I really think this platforming-shooter hybrid messiness was intentional. I suspect the series changed later because of popular complaints. 

Ratchet and Clank on PS Plus
This weapon is OP. Buy it as soon as its available.


Anyway, playing the game in the modern age, you might need to forgive the game some shortcomings. I like the shooting. It’s great. But there are bits here that were boring in 2002 and are still boring today. Sometimes you’ll assume control of Clank as a means of breaking up the action. It is a cute idea, but he moves around with a clunkiness that isn’t present with Ratchet, and it’s not the kind of gameplay that makes for an enjoyable change of pace.

Likewise, there are a few missions where you’ll man a turret, and the aiming feels messy. I sometimes died because I couldn’t shoot an incoming missile fast enough, even though I’m confident I had that thing in the dead center of my crosshairs. It was like the game wouldn’t connect the bullet to the target, simply from poor hit detection. It made these diversions an annoying chore because they never have the polish that the core game does. Thankfully, each of these diversions only show up once or twice throughout the game, they’re often short, and sometimes they aren’t even necessary to progress the plot.


The wonderful benefit of PlayStation Plus is that so many first party Sony games from history can be played in modernity. If you’re interested in Sony’s history, Ratchet and Clank should be one of the first places you visit. The art style holds up remarkably well, even twenty years later, and the witty writing should bring a smile to your face. The quirky sci-fi soundtrack slaps as good as any and, strangely, when you compare the original to future entries in the franchise, you’ll find a sincerity and spunk that future entries would lack. No doubt about it. The original Ratchet and Clank is a great game, and certainly worth your time.


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