Ratchet & Clank delivers gorgeous visuals, but only at 30fps

The Ratchet & Clank series has been a staple of Sony consoles for over a decade now. Ever since the first PS2 release back in 2002, Insomniac Games has regularly pumped out sequels featuring the lovable lombax and robot duo. This time around, the series is getting a reboot – a retelling of the original Ratchet & Clank story in both theatrical and game form. The movie will be hitting theaters later this month, but the PS4 game is available right now. Does this reimagining do justice to the beloved franchise, or is it just an exploitation of our warm memories? Let’s take a look.

By and large, the critical response to the new Ratchet & Clank game has been overwhelmingly positive. Our sister site IGN gave the game a 9/10, and the average score on Metacritic is 86/100. By combining the classic levels with a more modern take on game design, Insomniac has delivered a title that evokes nostalgia while keeping the moment-to-moment gameplay interesting. Even if you’ve played through the original release countless times, there’s still a lot of new content here to keep you engaged.

From a technical perspective, Ratchet & Clank is both impressive and slightly dissatisfying. Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry took a look at this release, and found that it’s running natively at 1920×1080. However, the game is capped at 30 frames per second. Compared with the 60fps target of the original release, this is a bit of a letdown. It might not seem like a big deal, but the halved frame rate is painfully apparent when shown next to the original game. If you’re a diehard fan, you’ll probably be pretty bummed out by the change.

That being said, the game remains locked nearly perfectly at 30fps. The stutter we so often see on PS4 and Xbox One releases is nowhere to be found here. Dropped frames are a rarity, and don’t appear to impact the game in any meaningful way. The 30fps compromise isn’t perfect, but at least it’s executed properly.

The post-process anti-aliasing solution used here is mostly unobtrusive, but you’ll still see some artifacts here and there. It’s occasionally distracting, but it’s hard to lay blame on Insomniac. The PS4 often doesn’t have enough horsepower to allow for superior anti-aliasing methods without major compromises in many situations. It’s suboptimal, but entirely unsurprising.

Reviewers can’t help but compare the game’s aesthetic to Pixar and DreamWorks movies, and that’s with good reason. Insomniac clearly wanted to match the visuals to the theatrical counterpart, and they’ve largely succeeded. The world is detailed and varied, the dynamic lighting is fantastic, and the character animations are basically flawless. The screenshots look nice, but seeing the game in motion really sells it as Pixar-like in nearly every way.

If you can get past the frame rate, there’s a lot to love about this new take on the formula. Even if you’ve never dipped your toe into the world of Ratchet & Clank, this title is worth considering. It’s being sold for just $40, but it far exceeds the expectations of a budget release. Hands down, this is the best PS4 exclusive we’ve seen in over a year.

Leave a Reply

Captcha image