Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a terrific and entertaining romp through multiple worlds. It is one of the must-play games for the Sony PlayStation 5, unless you have something against fun, family-friendly games where the good guys win. The latest R&C game is a sequel to 2016's Rachet & Clank, an re-imagining of the series (and available free for PS5 owners via the PS Plus Collection). In Rift Apart, the titular pair jumps between multiple worlds and dimensions to foil the plans of the villainous Emperor Nefarious. Joining them is Ratchet's alternate self, a female Lombax called Rivet (voiced by Mass Effect's Jennifer Hale).
- Exclusive to PS5
- Performance and Performance RT (ray tracing) modes available with Day 1 patch
- Fast, seamless transition between zones
- New characters Rivet and Kit
As you'd expect for a new character, Rivet gets the lion's share of the story, though her backstory does not quite have sufficient emotional heft. The plot is serviceable, and seems written to send our heroes to very different worlds, each with their own distinct fauna and flora. Gameplay-wise, Rift Apart is mostly similar to previous games. Destroy enemies, gain bolts to unlock new weapons and explore the zone for collectibles. The main characters Ratchet and Rivet also play very similarly. Gear unlocked on one character can be used by the other. Spicing up the action are new weapons, such as my personal favourite, the Topiary Sprinkler, which blasts enemies with water that momentarily freezes them into ornamental plants. Meanwhile, several puzzle-solving scenes involving Clank offer a nice change of pace from the frenetic run-and-gun action.
There are also new traversal methods, from wall-running to teleporting via tethering to dimensional rifts. These new moves are key to the game's many action set pieces, which often feel like exhilarating rollercoaster rides. Finishing the game unlocks a Challenge Mode where you can start a new game with your existing gear and upgrades. For me, the biggest challenge (default difficulty level) is the scarcity of ammo, though it also forced me to try weapons that may not seem appealing at first. The DualSense controller shines here, with excellent haptic feedback and audio. Depending on the weapon, you can half-press the adaptive trigger for a different fire option (e.g a slower but more accurate shot) More importantly, the game's pacing is excellent, and I never once felt bored.
Like Returnal, Rift Apart is designed for the PS5. It looks spectacular and detailed, almost like a Pixar movie. I was initially overwhelmed by the sheer number of shiny objects on-screen. Cutscenes transition seamlessly to gameplay with little load time. I played through the game in Fidelity mode (4K at 30fps with ray tracing). It was the only option until the Day One Patch dropped just before the review embargo lifted. But I did manage to try out the two 60fps modes (Performance and Performance RT) available with the patch. They are so much smoother (Performance RT is a good compromise between performance and graphical fidelity). I did encounter several bugs, from enemies getting stuck in the terrain to cutscenes that failed to trigger promptly. There were also two freezes that required a hard reboot of the PS5. Hopefully they are fixed by the patch.
Overall, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart looks and plays great with exciting cinematic set pieces that will leave you breathless and whopping with delight. It is pure, unadulterated fun, and an excellent showcase of the PS5. It's available on June 11. Get the digital copy from Sony, or if you prefer the disc version, buy it online from Amazon, Lazada and Shopee.
Note: Review copy provided by Sony.
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