[REVIEW] Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – Extradimensionally fun

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To date, the PlayStation 5 hasn’t really given me much justification for its Day One purchase. Games like Returnal are of course great fun, yet still, I don’t consider it to be a system seller. For the most time, Sony’s next-gen console serves as a big, bulky, white apparatus that generally plays upgraded PS4 games. But that just changed, all thanks to Insomniac Games. How so? Because Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart genuinely is the very first PlayStation 5 exclusive that sells the power of Sony’s pale beast. The future of PlayStation 5 gaming starts today, and Rift Apart generously shows us what next-gen gaming should look like, even if it lacks true ingenuity in some areas.

Alright, let’s cut to the chase. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is very likely the wettest dream of every Ratchet & Clank enthusiast. People who’ve had previous experiences with the Lombax and his robo-buddy are definitely the ones who’ll get the most out of Rift Apart. Why? Because Rift Apart is a true Ratchet & Clank experience, in which Insomniac Games hasn’t really changed the successful formula too much. Once again, our titular protagonists have beef with Dr. Nefarious, because that’s just what they do. After designing a gadget called a Dimensionator – which should help Ratchet in his search for other Lombaxes – Clank, unfortunately, witnesses the vicious theft of it by… you guessed it: Dr. Nefarious. In an attempt to undo this pilferage, the Dimensionator goes bust, causing all kinds of dimensional mayhem.

For starters, Ratchet and Clank get separated and hurled into different dimensions. It doesn’t take long for them to find out what’s what when they bump into other-dimensional counterparts of their partners. For Clank, a charming female Lombax called Rivet fills the void. Ratchet bumps into a mysterious female bot on his end. Even Dr. Nefarious figures out that he has an other-dimensional alter ego, who’s even made it big time and became an emperor. At least Nefarious got what he wanted out of this dimensional fuck-up, since all he wanted was to find a dimension in which he wasn’t a total half-wit.

As you could have guessed, this is far from an ideal situation, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is all about undoing everything that has occurred. Ratchet and Clank just want to get reunited and if Nefarious stupid ass can get whooped in the process, that’d be awesome. The way to do this is by sending all of Nefarious’ goons to the scrapheap. Preferably by blasting them to smithereens. And to make sure you’ll have nothing to want, Insomniac hits you with an insane arsenal of ridiculous weapons. Of course, you can just hit everything with your trusty OmniWrench. But shooting the bejeezus out of your foes just sparks way more joy, simply because every oversized gun does something remarkably amusing.

Fun as it may be, the shooting may take a little getting used to in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The game utilizes the DualSense’s haptic feedback in such a way that both regular and alternate fire modes are operated by the same trigger. When you press it halfway down, you’ll get your primary fire mode. Press it all the way down, and you’ll switch to the secondary fire mode. Even though this feels really intuitive after getting the hang of it, it might just cause ammo spillage when things get hectic. Fortunately, Fun as it may be, the shooting may take a little getting used to in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart isn’t shy when it comes to providing you with loot and resources.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart artwork

You know what else Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart isn’t skimpy with? Extra-curricular activities, that’s what. First and foremost, Rift Apart is your standard 3D action platformer. It has been and will probably always be. But to spruce things up a bit, Insomniac makes sure to throw some puzzling and mini-games into the mix. There’s also plenty of hidden trophies and suits of armor to find, so straying off the beaten path might just turn out to be fruitful. It might cause you to move further away from the center stage and experience less-detailed parts of the maps though.

That doesn’t mean that things will turn ugly if you do. Au contraire, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an absolute gem. I’d even go as far as saying that Rift Apart gives many Pixar flicks a run for their money. Thanks to the power of the PS5’s SSD, you won’t be able to tell where the cutscene ends and the gameplay starts. There’s no clear “rift” between the two. Where last-gen games clearly have a quality difference between pre-rendered cinematics and actual gameplay, Rift Apart doesn’t. It’s like playing one continuous animated film. Stunning visuals, great animation, and a superb voice cast all contribute to this truly next-gen experience.

It is even more impressive when you consider that the PlayStation 5 doesn’t seem to have any issues performance-wise. I’ve played the game on RT Performance mode, prioritizing a steady 60 frames per second and raytracing. It might not deliver a true 4K fidelity, but goddamn… does that shit look tight as a butthole. When it comes to the framerate, the PS5 doesn’t seem to break a sweat. Okay, maybe just once during a super-hectic boss fight. But even when the game starts throwing particles all over the joint, Sony’s console doesn’t even flinch. It’s quite astonishing and indescribable, even though I just did.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart artwork

Still, there might be a reason for you to be disappointed. You might have hoped Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart would do something extraordinary. Something that has never been done before. Something “next-gen”. But like I said, Rift Apart is really a true Ratchet & Clank game, whose formula hasn’t changed much over the past few decades. It’s a formula that works for the fans and one that has mostly stayed intact in Rift Apart. The gimmick of pulling yourself through interdimensional rifts is scripted, and therefore not an instant feature. Apart from that, it’s pretty much smashing crates and blasting enemies again. Even elements like wallrunning, the grappling hook, and the extra activities aren’t truly innovative for hardened gamers.

But does that really matter? Does it make Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart less of a game? Abso-bloody-fucking-lutely not! As I said, Ratchet & Clank’s formula works for a reason, because it’s awfully enjoyable. The gameplay, the witty dialogues, the overall design… it’s just a perfect package. A package that fans have enjoyed for many years and one that could easily be ruined by experimental changes to the core. So yes, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart might not be the most innovative when it comes to gameplay elements, but it absolutely does show progress on the graphical scale. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is by far the absolute best that the PlayStation 5 has to offer, no matter what dimension you’re in.

A rift that keeps on giving
The Shiny Nuts (don't be a perv...)
Absolutely jaw-dropping gorgeous
The PlayStation 5 doesn't even break a sweat (foor 99 percent of the time)
Hilarious dialogue and superb character development
Perfect balance between platforming, combat, and extra activities
The Rusty Bolts
Might not be as innovative as you'd hoped
A very slight chance of encountering a framedrop
9.5