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Tools of Destruction was the first Ratchet & Clank game on the PS3, and the first game in the Ratchet & ClankFuture series. Once again, the EU nam­ing con­ven­tions makes this a lit­tle con­fus­ing; for some unfath­omable rea­son all the European ver­sions of the Ratchet & Clank Future games dropped the “Future” part. Apart from the orig­i­nal, I think every sin­gle Ratchet & Clank game has had the title point­lessly altered. At first I thought it was just the slightly racy puns in the title of the 2nd and 3rd install­ments, but the expan­sion to Tool of Destruction, Quest for Booty, sur­vived unscathed bar the afore­men­tioned removal of the word Future. As a long-time fan I’m still left scratch­ing my head about these title changes.

Odd EU nam­ing con­ven­tions aside, this game also marked a return to the aes­thetic and feel of the orig­i­nal game with bright colours, pulp sci-fi design, and more car­toon­ish ene­mies and weapons. The path we saw taken in Deadlocked/Gladiator seems to have been an evo­lu­tion­ary dead-end for the series.

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Despite dat­ing from 2007, this game still looks great. Once again its more car­toony style has made it age far bet­ter than its early HD con­tem­po­raries. There is also a notice­able lack of alias­ing. It’s clean, bright, colur­ful, and runs smooth as silk. It’s an indict­ment of many mod­ern games that push flashy bells and whistles over sta­bil­ity. It may have pro­duced some head­line grab­bing screen­shots at the time, but Tools of Destruction wasn’t part of that trend.

We have a beefed up story here as well as next-gen graph­ics, which this time kicks off a con­tin­u­ous and more com­plex thread that is held directly between this game, its expan­sion, and its sequel. It deals with Ratchet as the last of his kind search­ing for the fate of the Lombaxes, and Clank see­ing strange crea­tures called the Zoni who are inte­gral to the events, and back­drop of the plot. The story is more expan­sive and bet­ter fleshed out than any­thing we’d seen in the pre­vi­ous games up until this point.

It does have some minor issues: seem­ingly ret­con­ning pre­vi­ous Lombax char­ac­ters out of the series with no expla­na­tion like Angela Cross. But what the Future series loses in pre­vi­ous con­ti­nu­ity, it gains in its own inter­nal con­ti­nu­ity. I don’t want to spoil it, but you encoun­ter a cast of char­ac­ters — all well voiced and acted — and a very good new vil­lain in the form of Emperor Percival Tachyon, who’s grip on the Polaris Galaxy per­vades the whole of the game.

Despite reviv­ing some of the ele­ments from the older games, Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction is prob­a­bly the most ambi­tious game in the series when it comes down to the sheer num­ber of ele­ments included. Gadgets, weapons, items, space bat­tles, vehi­cles, and puz­zles fill this games play time. Gadgets espe­cially make a resur­gence from their time on the back-burner in Up Your Arsenal andDeadlocked/Gladiator; we have the Gelanator which allows you to place blocks of gelati­nous slime on the ground to bounce on and reach high ledges or bridge gaps. Use of the Gelenator is con­fined to areas that allow you to fill it up, so it only sees a small amount of play­time. The Grindboots are also used quite widely, as are the motion con­trolled Robo-wings, a fly­ing device sim­i­lar to the Glider in Ratchet & Clank 2 , and the Decrypter which pro­vides the mini-game puz­zle for this out­ing.

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At this point we have to talk about the mis­er­able Sixaxis con­trols. I think the most accu­rate review of the early forced Sixasix inte­gra­tion Sony seemed to demand from devel­op­ers is a long, low drawn out sigh. “Urrrrggggggggg…”

The year is 2007, and the Nintendo Wii sell­ing like choco­late cov­ered crack, and over in the dis­tance you hear Sony yelling “what’s all the fuss about? We got motion con­trols too!” This was the era of point­less wag­gle com­mands, where every com­pany was scram­bling for a gim­mick.

I got that bitch some wag­gle, bitches love shak­ing the con­troller.”

Trying to steer weapons like the Tornado Launcher, or Dynamo of Doom, whilst in actual com­bat is pretty much impos­si­ble, and ren­ders those weapons point­less and a waste of a slot. This is also meant upgrad­ing and mod­i­fy­ing those weapons was also point­less to any­one but com­ple­tion­ists. This is the biggest blem­ish on the game, and one that makes it age rather more poorly since we have all got­ten over all that wag­gle fad. Some of this games ele­ments are need­lessly dif­fi­cult to con­trol because of the deci­sions of the pub­lisher. It is what it is. Just be pre­pared for some frus­tra­tion here and there if you decide to play this game to see what you have missed.

Aside from these quib­bles, the weapons and device sys­tems are actu­ally great and pro­vides a lot of com­bat options and oppor­tu­ni­ties. Including devices, the game has 23 dif­fer­ent ways to destroy, or oth­er­wise inca­pac­i­tate your foes in all in all. We get usual fair like a blaster and area of effect bomb, but we also get more beefy weapons like the Predator Launcher — a mul­ti­ple lock­ing on mis­sile launcher.

It’s slightly unfor­tu­nate that the most mem­o­rable and orig­i­nal weapons like “Mr. Zurkon” and “The Groovitron,” are rel­e­gated to very lim­ited use “devices.” This makes you reluc­tant to use them lest you need them later, and lim­its their uses to far less than the main weapons in the game. I absolutely love the Groovitron, a device that makes all of the ene­mies in a cer­tain radius take a dance break, and an effect that Insomniac had been try­ing to get into the Ratchet & Clank games since the first title.

Also return­ing to this game are the space bat­tle sequences. Ratchet pilots an old Lombax ship with an AI called Aphelion —  a char­ac­ter that sadly doesn’t get enough devel­op­ment or enough to do. The bat­tles func­tion as rail-shooters with Ratchet & Clank merely hav­ing to sur­vive waves of ene­mies, move around the lim­ited screen space, and some­times kill a boss. It’s not the most engag­ing space com­bat, but it is at least ser­vice­able. They are the parts of the game I look for­ward to the least, but they are not a deal breaker. Tools of Destruction also fea­tures a vehi­cle called the Gyro-cycle, a shielded mono-wheel you tra­verse small lin­ear courses within level. Honestly it makes up so lit­tle of the game it’s hardly worth men­tion­ing beyond it does tech­ni­cally mean you get to drive a ground vehi­cle too.

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Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction is a game with a lot of ideas that sadly didn’t have enough room to flesh out fully. What it lacks in stream­lin­ing, it makes up for in vari­ety and retains the same charm and heart as the orig­i­nal games. It feels like with this game the design­ers finally had an oppor­tu­nity to put into prac­tice many of the ideas they’d been hold­ing back on the PS2; I’ll take ambi­tion over play­ing it safe any day — even if it isn’t fully met. Looking back, retain­ing most of the good aspects of the series was a dif­fi­cult thing to pull off on a new, noto­ri­ously hard to work with con­sole, and in an envi­ron­ment that was increas­ingly push­ing for “gritty real­ism.” It stands in con­trast to Insomniac’s effort with “Resistance,” a game that has aged very poorly. It would have been a real shame for Ratchet & Clank to go through some god-awful gritty reboot and come out as a Gears of War clone.

Ratchet & Clank is a series that sticks to a for­mula; that much should be clear to any­one read­ing this series. But it does so via suc­cess­ful iter­a­tion, and by con­sist­ing of games that never lack for qual­ity and fun. As a new con­sole gen­er­a­tion dawned, the series man­aged to retain what made it great whilst bridg­ing the gap in tech­nol­ogy with only a few com­pro­mises. The long stand­ing phi­los­o­phy of “more of the same but bet­ter” works won­ders here. You can get the game for pen­nies in most places now, so if you have a PS3 and you haven’t played it then give it a dust off and give Tools of Destruction a go.

Favourite Weapon: Well since so many of the great effects are pro­duced by “devices” I’d have to say the Nano Swarmers.

Favourite Gadget: The Gelanator.

Next part we fix A Crack in Time!

https://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RCTOD-header.jpghttps://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RCTOD-header-150x150.jpgJohn SweeneyConsoleConsole RetrospectiveConsole,Insomniac Games,ps3,Ratchet & Clank,RetrospectiveTools of Destruction was the first Ratchet & Clank game on the PS3, and the first game in the Ratchet & ClankFuture series. Once again, the EU nam­ing con­ven­tions makes this a lit­tle con­fus­ing; for some unfath­omable rea­son all the European ver­sions of the Ratchet & Clank Future games dropped…
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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.