Ratchet & Clank has gone through a bit of an identity crisis as of late. After saving the universe time and time again, the duo changed their recurring course of action. They expanded their team to four members in Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One creating a less than memorable four player co-op game. They attempted again in Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault by adding tower defense to the formula, resulting in another miss in the series. Such diversions hasn't convinced the audience that Ratchet & Clank should be anything but a wacky platformer about blowing aliens up with overpowered weapons. It didn't take Insomniac Games long to recognize this problem. Instead of another stab at a different formula, Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus returns to its classic roots.


The controls and design play out like the same game you've been enjoying back in 2002, with new weapons and mechanics bringing new light into the old formula. Your arsenal comes in many flavors. From classics such as the Warmonger and Fusion Bomb, to clear the battlefield from villainy in seconds, to new variety, such as the Nightmare Box, a weapon that launches jack-in-the-boxes to scare enemies as well as attack them and the Netherbeast, a glove that unleashes a flying serpent to tear through numerous foes. There is also a new RYNO to construct that launches a wall of missiles all orchestrated to “Night on Bald Mountain” that plays the longer you hold the trigger. The weapon selection is diverse and filled with variety, opening the door to multiple different strategies and all satisfying to wield.


The gameplay comes with new mechanics that fits comfortably with the series. A new gadget is introduced early on called the “Grav-Tether.” This creates Portal like sequences where Ratchet connects to points creating a gravity beam, that you traverse. This mechanic is strictly used for traverse feeling like missed opportunity for gravity based puzzles. You will also obtain a jetpack upgrade for Clank for traverse. This opens up as you can use the jetpack to explore huge open areas within planets, creating fun flying sequences as well as open the opportunity for aerial combat. The hoverboots return late game opening up new ways of moving along the battlefield, in fast, dynamic action.


Another new dynamic is the new Clank sections. These sections take place within another dimension as Clank must explore and lead a Netherbeast through a gate to the overworld. These sections are side-scrolling, where gravity becomes a major factor in traversal. Clank alters gravity with the right stick,as you shift from the ceiling, floor, and walls using it to complete puzzles and avoid dangers towards your goal. These sections are a welcome change that can prove to be challenging at times.


The story itself is of a darker tone, harkening back to Ratchet: Deadlocked. The story returns to Ratchet's personal story and serves as an epilogue to the Future series. Ratchet & Clank are escorting a space witch, by the name of Vendra Prog to prison, when her twin brother attacks their ship in an attempt to free her. The two escape and the chase begins. The story is pretty straight forward with predictable plot twists, classic humor familiar to the series, even events that may effect future Ratchet & Clank games to come, even a haunting behemoth for a final boss that gives Ratchet a run for his money.


The game overall is a short one however, taking me around 5 hours to compete. Four planets in total, as well as an arena planet similar to previous games in the series. Each planet is unique and filled with variety. One planet takes place in an open swamp where you can hunt flying serpents for their horns, which you can sell for profit, another is a haunted city, where your journey takes you through its murky caverns as well as a trip through a creepy orphanage, old and decayed. Each planet is filled with crates to crush, gold bolts, and RYNO plans to find. Arena battles, however, feel short lived, as most end within minutes, leaving the player less satisfied. This makes the experience overall feel like a tack on instead of a full fledged planet as it did in previous games in the series. Challenge mode returns as well featuring tougher enemies as well as a bolt multiplier that increases per enemy defeated without being hit.


Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is definitively a short, but sweet adventure and a long awaited welcome back to the series roots. At the cost of quantity is quality; a classic formula that still feels fresh to play. For a smaller price, as well as a free digital copy of Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, its a hard game to avoid adding to your PS3 library. As what appears to be the last game in the PS3 generation, Into the Nexus closes its chapter leaving fans craving more to come.