Clank has dutifully served as Ratchet's robotic sidekick for years, accompanying the gun-crazy lombax across the universe but mostly staying in the background while Ratchet had the fun. In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Clank steps out from the shadow of his furry friend, finding his own obstacles to overcome that not only provide an awesome change of pace from the Rachet's explosive action sequences, but are also the highlights of this great adventure. The time-manipulation puzzles are as thought-provoking as anything that has appeared in the series and go a long way toward making the seventh iteration in this long-running series feel fresh. That's not to say the standard gun-shooting action has grown stale, though. The beautiful worlds Ratchet visits are huge and diverse, seamlessly blending shooting with platforming to provide some of the most exhilarating and downright fun moments that have ever appeared in this series. Even though it treads familiar ground, A Crack in Time is the best in the franchise so far on the PlayStation 3, and a raucously fun and engaging adventure to boot.
6238150>Clank ignores the laws of physics.None
A Crack in Time is the conclusion of the story that began with 2007's Tools of Destruction. The game begins with the always entertaining Captain Quark narrating a brief summary of the events from the last two games, so series newcomers don't have to worry about being confused by all the talk of zonis, fungoids, and other alien species with silly names. In short, Clank is still hanging around with highly advanced robots, learning why he was created in the first place; and Ratchet is scouring the universe in search of his metallic buddy. Despite some dramatic moments late in the game, A Crack in Time rarely takes itself seriously. The villains, sidekicks, and various creatures you meet along the way have quirky personalities that provide more than a few laughs. Quark is the center of attention whenever he's onscreen--whether he's lamenting technology for once again foiling him or cursing the inhumanity of being served tap water while in prison--and the consistent string of jokes maintains a goofy, lighthearted vibe throughout your quest.
Although you spend most of the game playing as Ratchet, the Clank portions are the most inventive of the game. As you run through a giant clock at the center of the universe, you have to solve a series of time-based puzzles that will tax your brain but never feel cheap. Each puzzle places you in a room with buttons, time pads, and a locked door at the end. By standing on a time pad, you can record your actions for up to a minute, and you must make clones of yourself to stand on every button to be allowed to pass through the door. The most interesting aspect of these puzzles is how you have to work in perfect harmony with clones of your past self. For instance, you must record yourself standing on a button to lower a platform to ground level and then get off the button to make the platform rise again. Once that recording exists, you can start a new recording in which you run toward that platform, stand on it when it gets lowered, and then leap off when it rises to the top. The puzzles build on this idea of using your past self to help you move forward, and it's a kick trying to time your actions perfectly to make sure you can safely make it to the next room.
That evil robot has to catch Ratchet before he can cut him.
If it's difficult to wrap your head around those puzzles, you'll find solace in the much more straightforward and immediate Ratchet sections. You once again travel across the universe, landing on a wide assortment of alien worlds that all have their own unique style, as well as inhabitants to mingle with and different enemies to destroy. You spend your time moving from over-the-top shooting sequences to careful platforming portions, with the odd puzzle thrown in for good measure, and the game does a great job of mixing up your objectives without distracting you from the exciting action. The shooting is as awesome as ever because the controls work so well. Even though the game frequently floods the screen with a small army of angry attackers, you'll never feel overwhelmed because of how smooth the combat feels. It's a joy to be able to deftly dance away from a bomb being thrown at your head and then retaliate in kind.
There is a good array of weaponry in Crack in Time, ranging from such shooter standards as a shotgun and sniper rifle to ridiculous weapons that have become a staple of the Ratchet series. You can turn your enemies into monkeys, freeze enemies with ice grenades, or scatter electric spikes all over the battlefield. Although some of the weapons have been recycled from previous games, they are all fun to shoot, and the newest additions are just as quirky and entertaining as the many guns from older games. Killing enemies is always fun, but the combat in A Crack in Time is rewarding because of how quickly you can upgrade your guns. Every shot you land earns you a little bit of experience, and after killing a few dozens enemies, your gun levels up, which makes it more powerful and useful in battle. There are also collectibles all over the galaxy that let you build new guns, upgrade your old guns, or even unlock a new boss fight. A Crack in Time doles out rewards at a steady rate, making you always feel like you're accomplishing something whether you're mowing down foes or exploring exotic wastelands.