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I came into Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time as a great fan of the series and was not disappointed in the slightest with the conclusion to this fun-filled series. While some elements may repeat the age-old formula, A Crack in Time delivered everything I could ask for in the series and then some. Ratchet and friends prove that what's broken need not be fixed as one of the standout adventure titles of the PS3.
A year or so after the happenings from Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty, Ratchet and Captain Quark continues their search for Clank from the clutches of Dr. Nefarious in the galaxy's Great Clock of Time. Along the way, Ratchet befriends Alistair Azimuth, a fellow Lombax who reveals to him his family's past and carries an agenda of his own. As the two work together to free Clank, they must stop Nefarious from unlocking the secrets of the Great Clock that could unravel time and space from the universe itself.
Like any Pixar movie, A Crack in time shines with stunning looks and charm. The world of A Crack in Time is visually striking and it's brilliant sci-fi environments sparkle with beautiful detail. Deserts and canyons resonate with their expansive beauty and jungles are filled with critters and plant-life to gawk at. The Great Clock space station should be particularly recognized for its grand scale and for the time you'll spend there throughout the game, you'll marvel at its incredible views. Crack in Time's space missions are the most spectacular by far and their gorgeous nebulae and stars will send home the galactic scope the game tries to deliver. Characters in Crack in Time are handled equally well. The fur on Ratchet's coat or the Clank's shiny metallic body resonates with detail and they're well-done voice-work combined with their animations jobs makes them seem almost real.
A majority of the game still revolves around the crazy cool and destructive weapons that Ratchet and Clank are known for and is just as fun as you remember them. Ratchet retains a number of his typical shot-guns, bazookas, sniper-rifles, chainsaws, and pistols as well as more humorous weapons like the returning Mr. Zurkon and the explosive RHINO are a joy to wield. Careening enemies and blowing up enormous amounts of machinery is just as much of a blast as over again. Like always, weapons are highly upgradeable and each contain an extremely powerful "Omega" mode post-game with such invincibility that you'll find it worth it to to level-up each one.
The biggest addition of the game are the new time puzzles of Clank's aboard the Great Clock. To progress through them, players will undergo a complex process of controlling various different Clank clones and master the ability to reverse and speed up time to unlock doors and hit switches. These can often feel like a real trial to rap you brain around and may frustrate many with their challenging lack of direction. Nevertheless, they give the game a pleasant break from the eventual monotony of gunplay and the brain-power you'll have to use to conquer them. Love or hate them, their still worthwhile in the amount of story you'll gain from them.
Side-quests also abound, this time in the form of free-roam space missions. You'll fly around in Ratchet's new ship doing everything from delivering packages to clients to exploring forgotten moons in search of treasure. All these amusements will keep you generally invested in the great new free-roam environment that Crack in Time provides you with, but they're unfortunately shallow and won't extend your play-through very long.
The game lives for its series history and characters, which only reflects what a good job it does in telling its fantastic story. Crack in Time is filled with the same amount of well-crafted humor and charm that the franchise is well known for and the presence of the hilarious Captain Qwark adds to the laughs you'll have with their goofy antics. Dr. Nefarious furthermore proves his status as the series's definitive villain and his wacky menace is a welcome return. However, the game is told as a story of Ratchet first and foremost, and as such, A Crack in Time displays the best development for the character that he's seen before or since. Ratchet feels more human this time in his choices and his friendships with his friends makes you like him. Newcomers like The Great Clock's resident of Sigmund and Alistair Azimuth are welcome additions, but it's Azimuth that's the real new star. His character is an engaging one and provides some interesting clues to Ratchet's past and his fatherly figure brings a warm, heartfelt element to the game's captivating narration. The ending is thus all the more emotional and inspires the same Pixar-style heart that it seems to possess.
Despite familiar gameplay, A Crack in Time amounts to an excellent game of charm and wit. It stands unique from the typical games on the market and you if you want the kind of fun that a family-friendly adventure can give, then A Crack in Time is the best Pixar-level experience that you can get on your gaming console.
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