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Zany humor, cheeky titles, and crazy weapons define the platforming series Ratchet and Clank. Starring a Lombax and a robot, this duo saves the galaxy again and again while using weapons that make more and more things explorde. Ratchet and Clank is a favorite series of many, and it is one that helped define the PS2. One series in a trio of platformers (Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter), Ratchet and Clank is still popular today with it's Ratchet and Clank: Future series, as well as the co-op based game All 4 One. The Ratchet series has had a lot of entries over its 12 year life, and I'm going to rank the nine games from least favorite to best in the series. Most of the entries in the Ratchet and Clank series can be put in any order based on personnel preference, nostalgic value, and entry point into the series. I'm going to try to remove any outside bias and judge each game on its own merits. There will be SOME MINOR SPOILERS, but it will not be spoiling too much. Without further ado, here is my ranking of the Ratchet and Clank series.
Ratchet and Clank might be waiting for their movie to release to release a new game.
#9: Ratchet and Clank Future: A Quest For Booty (PS3)
Starting off the list is the downloadable only title in the future series. Set soon after Tools of Destruction, A Quest For Booty has Ratchet looking for clues to where Clank was taken at the end of the previous game. He must elude Captain Slag and Rusty Pete, two pirates from the previous game, while trying to do so. This adventure feels rushed, and has something missing from it that defines the Ratchet series: Clank. The banter between Ratchet and Clank isn't there, so Ratchet primarily interacts with Talwyn, a main character from Tools of Destruction, and the pirates. Clank being absent eliminates most of the fun platforming and puzzles the series previously had. Add that in with the fact that all of the weapons you obtain in this game are from the previous Tools of Destruction, a 20 health cap, and you have a game that feels shallow and too long at the same time. This game had way too much from Tools of Destruction, and didn't try to make itself it's own game. I would only recommend this game if you want to play all of the games in the series, but otherwise, it's not worth your time.
#8: Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One (PS3)
A four player Ratchet game sounded fantastic. The previous attempt at co-op Ratchet was a slam dunk for me, so I was incredibly excited to pick up All 4 One when it released. While better than Quest for Booty, there were a few things that I felt were missing from the experience. The addition of the Vac-U can be problematic if you play with friends who don't take anything seriously, as anything and anyone can be picked up and shot out in any way. The weapons, while varied, don't level up at all without purchasing power-ups. One upside of this game is the dynamic character interactions. If you play as Quark and your friend plays as Ratchet, they banter throughout the game. The characters not on screen don't have a voice, which isn't a good or bad thing. I never made it to the end of the game, as halfway though the game, it stopped being fun for me, and I traded it in at GameStop for 20$.
#7: Ratchet and Clank Future: Into the Nexus (PS3)
The most recent Ratchet game, Into the Nexus is an epilogue to the future games. While short enough that it could have been a download game, the game is worth playing. Into the Nexus has Ratchet trying to stop a brother and sister who are trying to bring their only friend, Mr. Eye, into their dimension using the Dimensionator from Tools of Destruction (That game is referenced a lot.) Into the Nexus introduces a new gravity mechanic, which (in specific spaces) allows Ratchet to zoom to metallic surfaces scattered around. That said, a lot of the game feels like it's just riding on the steam of previous games, as seen in the Museum area, where most of the exhibits have to do with the content of previous games. It feels like it could have been the end of the series, and the end of the game is what makes me think that the series is coming to a close, with Ratchet seriously considering whether he should join the other Lombaxes.
#6: Ratchet and Clank (PS2)
Where it all began, the original Ratchet and Clank set many standards for the series. With lots of weapons, the introduction of comedic relief Captain Quark, and the beginning of Ratchet and Clank's friendship, the series would not be here if this entry weren't so great. The original game has Ratchet trying to stop Chairmen Drek from harvesting bits of multiple planets to make a planet for his own species. Clank, who was made in a factory of Drek's, runs away to try and find Captain Quark to stop Drek. With the origin of the R.Y.N.O weapons, (Rip You a New One) weapons that cause massive destruction, and exploring multiple planets, it's a game that's worth playing through today. The one problem I have with this game is how difficult it is. In every other Ratchet game, you gain health at a steady rate throughout the game, but in this you must buy your own health, something that doesn't become available until very late game. This results in many moments of controller throwing rage. It doesn't help that the Nanotech (health) is expensive even when you do get to it. But that small flaw doesn't get in the way of how great the series begins.
#5: Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
The first PS3 entry added as much to the series as the original. With a more in-depth story focusing on Ratchet's past, and the past of his species, the addition of the Zoni, and the beginning of an arc that concludes with Into the Nexus, it's a great beginning entry for the series on a new system. With even more arena challenges, weapons, and levels to upgrade your weapons with the new Raritanium system, it certainly shook up the franchise. This entry is relied upon for most of the story details in Ratchet games since the release of this game, as it introduces Emporer Percival Tachyon who has a grudge against Lombaxes, the Dimensionator, Cronk and Zephyr, and Ratchet's talking ship: Aphelion. This game is worth playing even if you aren't necessarily a fan of the series, it's a great game in general.
#4: Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
Set after the events of the original trilogy of games, Ratchet: Deadlocked throws Ratchet right into the thick of a gladiatorial arena run by Gleeman Vox, and become apart of a TV show Dreadzone, which features gladiators fighting through obstacles an each other. While alright as a single player game, Deadlocked excels as a multiplayer game. This is the first Ratchet game to allow cooperative play in the main storyline, and it's a great variation from the Ratchet formula. Deadlocked takes the idea of previous game's arena battles, and turns it into a game. This means making it to different areas in giant maps, taking out lots of enemies, and surviving a set number of waves of relentless enemies. The weapons in this game are some of the best in the series, with the standout being the Harbinger. This game is unique in the Ratchet series in the fact that it allows you to level your weapons up to 99, a feat I have never accomplished. I wouldn't recommend downloading it on PSN however, as it lags much more than it's PS2 counterpart, and has many visual glitches.
#3: Ratchet and Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
When my friends say that the second in the series is the weakest, Going Commando is my counterpoint. While the original introduced the concept of the Lombax and his robotic friend, Ratchet 2 took it to new heights. While the original had weapons that were fairly normal, yet destructive, Ratchet 2 takes the weapons and goes crazy. My favorite gun in the entire series makes an appearance in this game, the Sheepinator, which turns enemies into sheep. The story has Ratchet searching for an escaped lab experiment for a questionably crazy scientist Abercrombie Fizzwidget in another galaxy. This game introduces more staples in the forms of the arena challenges and health that increased every time you leveled up. While the first Ratchet game founded the series, the second entry took it to greater hights.
#2: Ratchet and Clank 3: Up your Arsenal (PS2)
The only Ratchet game to get a lauded 10 from our very own Game Informer, Ratchet 3 continued the upward trend of the second game and took the series from being respectable to undeniable. Going Commando allowed you to level up your weapons once before making them the best they could be, Ratchet 3 lets you go even further and level them up to level 5. That might not sound like much, but in the grand scale of things, it changes which weapons you use a lot. The arena challenges return from the previous game with even more challenges, rewards, and enemies. The crazy inversion cage match is in this game, forcing you to survive 40 waves of enemies, while switching from floor to cylinder in the sky after every wave. With more sidequests, even better characters, a comic book, the introduction of Dr. Nefarious, and some of the series' best humor, Ratchet 3 is a hard game to beat.
#1: Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PS3)
This is how you make a game. Ratchet and Clank continues after Quest for Booty with Ratchet still looking for Clank. Quest for Booty left off with you learning that the Zoni, who took Clank in the first place, hired Dr. Nefarious to fix Clank, as he was broken. Nefarious instead tries to discover how to unlock the secrets of The Great Clock, the place where Clank is being held, what's holding the universe together, and the center of the universe (Give or take 20 feet.) In this game, Clank's absence is a good thing, as you get to guide Clank through The Great Clock learning about his own past, and completing wickedly difficult puzzles involving time manipulation. The characters are at their best, with Quark being as hilarious and incompetent as always, Nefarious breaking down when he gets angry, and the amazing Alistor Azimuth. While Clank is inside The Great Clock, Ratchet is looking for a way to get inside, and the only one who knows anything about it is Alistor, the only other Lombax in this dimension. His past is a driving force, and through this game you learn why there aren't any Lombaxes anymore, why Tachyon had a grudge against the Lombaxes, and much more. The weapon design is overall the best in the series, with strange weapons like the Groovitron, which makes enemies dance; the R.Y.N.O. V, which has an insane amount of ammo and plays the 1812 Overture whenever you use it; and most importantly, the Constructo weapons, which allow you to construct three different weapons however you want them to be. The best version of the arena battles is in this game, with it being difficult, constantly shaping things up, as well as allowing you to mindlessly blast through wave after wave of enemies. The story takes twists and turns throughout, and has a finale that I would rank among my favorites of all time. If you want something to convince you that the Ratchet series can still create great games, this is your game.
So that's my ranking of all of the Ratchet games that I've played. I couldn't include Secret Agent Clank. Full Frontal Assault, or Size matters, as I haven't played any of them.
Thanks for reading, and if you have a personnel list of Ratchet and Clank games, share them below.