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Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (or just Ratchet & Clank 3 in Europe) rep­re­sents the final game in a loose tril­o­gy that also encom­pass­es Ratchet & Clank and Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. This rep­re­sents the “clas­sic era” of the series to most peo­ple, and whilst they don’t have too much in direct sto­ry cor­re­la­tions they do share a lot of mechan­ics, weapons, and even read each other’s save files. There is a sense that each game direct­ly built on the last one mechan­i­cal­ly; refin­ing and hon­ing each ele­ment rather than attempt­ing to com­plete­ly rev­o­lu­tion­ize and re-invent the game each time.

It’s dif­fi­cult to pin down what makes Ratchet & Clank 3 such an excel­lent entry in the series because on paper the sin­gle play­er seems a lit­tle bit cut down. The rac­ing and space com­bat that saw use in the pre­vi­ous two games have been removed, and new com­bat or chal­lenge ori­ent­ed sec­tions have been added in.

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Image cred­it youtube.com/user/SiiliKarhu/

These two mod­es allow you to flex the mus­cles of the teem­ing array of weapons the series is known for, and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal does not dis­ap­point in this respect. The weapons and upgrade sys­tem has been expand­ed so that each weapon in the game goes through five stages of lev­el­ing that cul­mi­nates in a pow­er­ful final form, and the game has you pick­ing up mod­i­fi­ca­tions along the way. This is extreme­ly sat­is­fy­ing, and the grad­u­al increase in pow­er and fea­tures makes the play­er feel they are con­stant­ly get­ting some­thing new to play with. Most of the weapons are very sat­is­fy­ing to use, but there are a few duds in the exten­sive line-up. Though, the vari­ety is such that you can pick and choose those that fit your play style.Annihilation Nation once again expands the are­na com­bat of the series with added plat­form­ing death-courses. There are a good num­ber of var­ied chal­lenges on offer that are unlocked through­out the game, and it allows you to earn a lot of extra Bolts should you require them. The game also fea­tures all new mis­sions from the Galactic Rangers; many plan­ets fea­ture a series of objec­tive based chal­lenges that have you sup­port­ing a squad of robots, and some objec­tives of the main game revolve around this for­mat. They are most­ly ground com­bat mis­sions, cap­tur­ing blot-cracks, and the slight­ly tedious hover-ship chal­lenges.

The clas­sic gad­gets take a bit of a back-seat this time around with the only major addi­tions being the laser re-directing Refractor, and the new puz­zle mini-game of The Hacker — which is a lit­tle brain­dead and tedious, but you won’t spend too much time with it. The Swingshot makes a return, as do the grav­i­ty boots, but the grind boots take a break in Up Your Arsenal. It all feels very unob­tru­sive, the Swingshot auto­mat­i­cal­ly deploys and you just click on hack­er puz­zles; this allows you to get on with the game with a min­i­mum of fart­ing around. There’s also tele­porter gad­get,  but you’ll only use it a cou­ple of times.

The major new ele­ment of the game is the addi­tion of the Quark Vid Comics; a 2D plat­form­ing game with­in the main game that is very well exe­cut­ed, and helps dri­ve for­ward as well as give back­ground to the main plot of Up Your Arsenal. They offer up their own chal­lenges too; like beat­ing the var­i­ous episodes with­in a set time lim­it or col­lect­ing all the Quark tokens with­in a lev­el.

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All of this makes replay­ing or back-tracking to hunt skill-points and tro­phies a less monot­o­nous task, and cre­ates a game which feels far more repayable than it real­ly should be. Every ele­ment here is fun to engage with and offers you what­ev­er lev­el of val­ue you are will­ing to get out of it. You can skip through the game at break-neck speed or you can stop and com­plete as much as pos­si­ble in your play through. Although you will find your­self need­ing to do mul­ti­ple play throughs to get to 100% com­ple­tion. You’ll also find your­self want­i­ng to do them, as your weapons get more ludi­crous­ly over­pow­ered and your Bolt count reach­es the stratos­phere.

The sto­ry and char­ac­ters are more fleshed out and bet­ter exe­cut­ed than in pre­vi­ous games too. Clank has more of his own role this time being cast as “Secret Agent Clank” — who would lat­er get is own mobile spin off. The true stars of the show are supervil­lain com­e­dy duo of Dr. Nefarious and his long-suffering butler/man-servant Lawrence who has a dry, mock­ing sense of humour. They are by far the strongest vil­lains of the series and return in future games for good rea­son. The plot itself revolves around Dr. Nefarious’ plan to turn the entire galaxy into robots. A plan as insane as the robot­ic mega­lo­ma­ni­ac him­self, and one that leads you to many side char­ac­ters and loca­tions.

Quark is ever-present in this entry in the series, but his bum­bling is on the good guy’s side now, and the ear­ly arc of his sto­ry is both ludi­crous and reveal­ing. The vid-comics give you a glimpse into how his hero rep­u­ta­tion was forged, in both sens­es of the word, as well as pro­vid­ing back­ground on Dr. Nefarious and clues as to his moti­va­tions and where­abouts. The game has good pac­ing because of the inter­play between the­se ele­ments.

The sup­port­ing cast of the Q-Force get a mod­er­ate amount of screen-time, but I wish their var­i­ous inter­ac­tions and mis­ad­ven­tures aboard the Starship Phoenix would have been more fleshed out as they are ripe for char­ac­ter build­ing and com­e­dy. As it stands, they do serve as NPC’s that help you in var­i­ous sec­tions of the game. Especially Scrunch the Monkey who serves as a “Banana guid­ed mon­key device” for Clank to use in his sec­tions of the game. The Clank sec­tions them­selves are rel­a­tive­ly the same, but with more of an empha­sis on avoid­ing traps and haz­ards than the gath­er­ing of Gadgebots that dom­i­nat­ed the ear­lier games. Gadgebots still make an appear­ance, but your main method of deal­ing with chal­lenges will be to guide Scrunch with your sup­ply of bananas.

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Image Credit youtube.com/user/EpicSnowCastle/

The game also fea­tured online and local com­pet­i­tive mul­ti­play­er mod­es which, quite hon­est­ly, most peo­ple didn’t play due to the lack of online sup­port for the PS2 at the time. Many of us had launch mod­els, or ear­lier mod­els, which required a net­work expan­sion and a wired broad­band con­nec­tion to func­tion. The PS2 didn’t come with inte­grat­ed net­work capa­bil­i­ties until the PS2 slim-line that was also released the same year as Up Your Arsenal in 2004. By the time many of us had reli­able access to the inter­net with a PS2 the online mode was already a ghost-town.

The sit­u­a­tion with the HD remake is sad­ly the same; being released in 2012 I’ve not been able to find a game full enough to play in. I’ve played a few rounds again­st a sin­gle friend a few times, but that can’t real­ly give you a feel for how the mul­ti­play­er would work. The game is well worth play­ing even with­out this com­po­nent, so feel free to do what most of us have done for more than a decade and just ignore its exis­tence. If you feel that you are miss­ing much by skip­ping them, their struc­ture is some­what like the Galactic Ranger mis­sions fea­tured in the sin­gle play­er cam­paign, and even use some very sim­i­lar maps.

Ratchet & Clank 3 has some of the best lev­els of the series. Courtney Gears’ home base Obani Draco is great look­ing and play­ing pink death course that is sad­ly too short. Outpost X12 fea­tures an expan­sive map for galac­tic troop­er mis­sions and allows that ele­ment of the game to real­ly shine.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is a game I’ve found myself going back to many times over the years, and is a game I was quite sad to final­ly 100% com­plete. It may not be the most ambi­tious in the series, but it’s still just amaz­ing­ly fun to play. It has the right mix­ture of ele­ments from the pre­vi­ous games dis­tilled into a form that leaves very lit­tle fat to be trimmed — out of the sin­gle play­er game at least. Ratchet & Clank has nev­er real­ly been a co-op and online expe­ri­ence, and as we are lead­ing up to future titles the efforts to turn it into one have had mixed results. For the time being, let’s cel­e­brate a game that helped define my time grow­ing up as a gamer. Ratchet & Clank 3 is an unabashed and enthu­si­as­tic rec­om­men­da­tion.

Favourite Weapon: The RYNOCIRATOR, the ful­ly upgrad­ed ver­sion of the RY3NO

Favourite Gadget: The Refractor, just bare­ly.

Thanks for stick­ing with us so far. Next time we get Deadlocked…. or was that become a Gladiator?


https://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ratchet-3-header.jpghttps://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ratchet-3-header-150x150.jpgJohn SweeneyConsoleConsole RetrospectiveConsole,Insomniac Games,PS2,Ratchet & Clank,RetrospectiveRatchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (or just Ratchet & Clank 3 in Europe) rep­re­sents the final game in a loose tril­o­gy that also encom­pass­es Ratchet & Clank and Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. This rep­re­sents the “clas­sic era” of the series to most peo­ple, and whilst they don’t have too much in…
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John Sweeney
John Sweeney is a ter­ri­bly British man with a back­ground in engi­neer­ing. He writes long-form edi­to­ri­al con­tent with analy­sis of gam­ing, games media and inter­net cul­ture. He also does the occa­sion­al video game ret­ro­spec­tive with a week­ly column about Magic the Gathering thrown in for good mea­sure. He also does most of our inter­views for some rea­son, we have no idea why. A staunch sup­port­er of free speech and con­sumer rights; skep­ti­cal of agen­da dri­ven media and sus­pi­cious of unac­cou­table author­i­ty but always hope­ful for change.