As the latest example of both episodic gaming and digital delivery, Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, is a harbinger of the future of the gaming industry. Unlike recent efforts, such as Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Quest for Booty plays like a fully realized next-gen title, albeit significantly shorter. All the luxuries of an Insomniac-developed title are in place- a fluid game engine, witty dialogue, and a steady flow of devices to maintain the player’s interest.
After a two gigabyte download (which despite our typical zippy DSL speeds, took about two hours), gameplay starts aboard a rain-washed pirate ship. With the typically tight control scheme the series is famous for, Ratchet begins destroying all enemies and crates, leaving puddles of bolts for the player to collect as currency. Reminiscent of Tools of Destruction, the player’s weapons become exponentially powerful as the Ratchet blasts through the enemy onslaught.
Character designs resemble a Pirates of the Caribbean/Transformers mash-up.
Although Quest for Booty doesn’t include any new ballistic weapons, Ratchet’s existing arsenal is tweaked to add a more cerebral dimension to the series. The wrench, a mainstay of the series, now has a kinetic tether mod which allows players to activate catapults and platforms. Additionally, the wrench can now pick up objects, which is useful for hurling the occasional lava rock. Early on, the player is stripped of most of most of their weapons, as the game returns to its platforming roots.
Graphically, the game improves upon the greatness of its predecessor. A beautiful texture palette makes rocks looks sufficiently craggy and mossy, foliage is both leafy and full, while metallic items have a glowing luster around them. Water ranges from dark and foreboding to bright and splashy. The developers have made an excellent use of perspective, inducing a faint sense of vertigo as the player traverses vertical walls with a set of magnetic gravity boots.
Ratchet is either moving a platform, or stealing DirectTV
Sadly, Quest for Booty ends just as the game hits its stride. With a relaxed play through time of slightly less than three hours, the title takes marginally longer to complete than to download. After finishing the title we endured a slight pang of disappointment. Although his name was prominently featured in the title, Clank’s omission was heartfelt. Although the ending credits promise a full Ratchet and Clank game in the Fall of 2009, this DLC morsel didn’t have enough substance to achieve the since of closure that a full disk-based game typically gives. Still, as one of the best examples of digital distribution currently available, we recommend the title to all PS3 owners.
Final Grade: B
Paying homage to GTA, Ratchet locks on to the least threatening enemy