Review: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty

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Quest for Booty is a bite-sized morsel of Ratchet & Clank platformy goodness. At the low, low $15 price of admission, you get around four hours of some of the finest R&C gameplay the team at Insomniac Games has ever produced.

Why so great? For me it’s simple. Quest for Booty returns to the roots of the series more than any of the past few titles. It ditches all the mini-games, spaceship shooter missions, arena challenges and other side activities that every game since the original has been packed with, especially Tools of Destruction, and focuses on telling a hoot of a pirate-themed story and delivering no-frills action/platforming of supreme quality. Don’t get me wrong, there hasn’t been a Ratchet & Clank game yet that I haven’t adored, but the reason the first game hooked me in all those years ago was because it was perfectly balanced between platforming and blowing sh*t up. Since its 2002 launch, the series has strayed further and further away from platforming with each new iteration, but with Quest for Booty the hop-and-bop is back in full force, and I couldn’t be any more ecstatic.

Have no fear, though, there’s still plenty of action to go around. Seven weapons return from Tools of Destruction, such as the Magma Combuster, Tornado Launcher, Lightning Ravager and Alpha Cannon, and you get ample opportunity to blow the crap out of robotic pirates throughout this four-hour adventure. But in large part, Quest for Booty returns the gameplay focus to Ratchet’s hopping skills and puzzle solving ingenuity.

Ratchet’s new wrench – the OmniWrench Millennium 12 – is back to being the star of his arsenal. The wrench has two major new abilities that introduce exciting new gameplay never before seen in a Ratchet & Clank game. For one, the wrench is now equipped with a kinetic tether that lets Ratchet toss it out and latch onto objects sort of like a grappling hook, only he doesn’t swing or climb from it but rather uses it to manipulate floating platforms, load springs and catapults to launch off of, pull bridges into place and solve various other puzzles. The other nifty new wrench feature is its ability to now pick up objects, such as blobs of molten lava to toss around as bombs or glowy grubs to use as torches. The new light/dark gameplay is actually really cool, too. Throughout the dark pirate caverns Ratchet must venture into there are these nasty bat-like critters that will attack if you wander too far into a dark area, so you have to make sure to always have a torch grub at hand to scare them off. It’s somewhat reminiscent of dealing with the Kryll in Gears of War.

Other than the added wrench functionality, Quest for Booty is typical Ratchet & Clank in its purest form. You run, jump, shoot, smash crates, collect bolts, turn cranks, ride grind rails and swim — you can level weapons up as well, but over a short downloadable romp it’s pretty pointless to do so, as is going out of your way to collect bolts since there’s only like two items up for sale in the entire game. It’s also exceptionally beautiful, looking every bit as near-Pixar-like as Tools of Destruction, and is presented with a fun new storybook-style narrative that almost seems like an animated spoof of the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks (there’s also a cool puzzle late in the game that sort of pays homage to a notable scene from the Goonies). By the way, don’t worry if you’ve never played an R&C game before now. While the story does continue off of Tools of Destruction and lead into the next game, it does so in a way that doesn’t demand any previous series knowledge. Newcomers can easily sit down with this game and have every bit as much fun as longtime fans.

About the only thing Quest for Booty is missing is the immense replay value of its full-length predecessors. The game is plenty replayable simply because it’s a great game, but on repeated plays you won’t find any of the hidden gold/platinum bolts or skill points that have always made replaying past games that much more enticing. But ultimately this is a minor omission. Fifteen bucks for four hours of high-quality storytelling and gameplay is a deal too sweet to pass up.

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Pros:
+ New wrench mechanics bring a freshness to the otherwise familiar gameplay
+ Gameplay returns to its roots as a focused action/platformer
+ Storytelling and production values that can match any game on the market
+ Bite-sized gameplay serving and low price make it very accessible to newcomers while also tiding fans over until the next full installment is finished

Cons:
– Lacks all the bonus goodies of a full-length R&C

Game Info:
Platform: PS3 via PlayStation Network
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: 8/21/08
Genre: Action/Platform
Players: 1

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!