Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

The original Ratchet & Clank trilogy went out with a bang, literally – Up Your Arsenal leaned into the shooter side of the shooter-platformer hybrid, introducing a new control scheme and some slightly more conventional weaponry to take advantage of it. In later years, switching to shooter gameplay would be considered jumping the shark for many series, but in 2004, it was just what this franchise needed. Its trademark wacky armaments were originally a side effect of designing gameplay around guns without a proper aiming system, and as quickly as the second game, weapons with homing and auto-targeting abilities outnumbered those without. By giving the player finer control while keeping the average silliness at a still-impressive level, this third game found a great balance of efficiency and entertainment. It also allowed for the inclusion of shockingly competent competitive multiplayer.

Up Your Arsenal perfectly embodies the kind of lighthearted fun that gritty shooters of the following decade lost sight of, and that can excuse a number of shortcomings. For example, the gun that fires mini-black holes rips the difficulty to shreds, but if I’m having a blast using it, does it really matter? Not everything can be justified this way, however. As with Spyro: Year of the Dragon, since this was Insomniac’s third game in three years, there’s some obvious corner-cutting. The character animation, music, and voice acting remain superb, but the segments where control shifts to other characters are shallower and even rougher around the edges than usual. Additionally, while the new villains are some of the funniest and most memorable ones out there, the cutscenes and story that house them can feel disjointed and unfinished at times.

7.5/10
7.5/10

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