Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus
Insomniac Games is returning to the original Ratchet formula for its next PS3 entry in the action platformer series. Into the Nexus is the downloadable epilogue chapter following up the PlayStation 3’s Future trilogy. Something goes wrong during a prisoner transport, sending Ratchet and his mechanical buddy on a mission to recover the criminals through the spooky corners of space. A recent hands-on demo shows off the gravity-focused gameplay, new goofy weapons, and a side-scrolling section starring Clank.
One of the first noticeably different things about Into the Nexus is its spooky atmosphere. The farthest reaches of space are only meant for the brave. In one section Ratchet uses Clank’s new flashlight ability to light a trek through dreary, dank sewers as waves of little critters attack the duo. It’s a new vibe for the series and it gels well with the colorful art style.
Ratchet and Clank’s journey through the series leads them to glowing purple cracks on walls that bar their progress. These are rifts that Clank can teleport into for some side-scrolling fun. Players use the right analog stick to control the flow of gravity in four main directions. Clank can use the new ability to sail sideways through the air, hover above spike traps, and more. At the end of this section, Clank frees a sleeping, dog-like alien critter that gives chase. Clank must outrun this vicious creature to the exit, where it eventually busts through and shatters the wall formerly blocking the way.
We also saw a new gadget for Ratchet. The hero can use specific targets throughout levels to create tractor beam-like gravity tunnels to transport him to previously unreachable locations. The order in which players blast these targets with the gravity tether dictates the flow’s direction. The puzzling situations revolving around this new gizmo start out simple, but eventually require players to create criss-crossing gravity tunnels and other more complicated maneuvers.
Insomniac has strayed from the classic Ratchet & Clank formula in recent years, but Into the Nexus feels like a return to form for the developer. The furry protagonist controls like you remember him from the Future trilogy, and upgradeable weapons return. New weapons include a gun that scares enemies stiff with a nightmarish surprise, one that turns them into snowmen, and another that delivers a concussive blast that suspends foes in the air, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire.
Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus arrives on PSN this holiday for $29.99. The downloadable title is cheaper than previous retail Ratchet games, so expect the game length to reflect the value. Insomniac isn’t talking about a Vita version right now, but we’re holding out hope we can take this new adventure on the go.