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August 09, 2005

Review: Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando (PS2) - Role playing the aggressor...

VGP Score


Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando is one of the best games ever made, period. I don't think you can make a platformer much better. In fact, this time around, its a platformer with attitude, and by attitude I mean RPG elements that will blow you away, and keep you glued to the screen for hours. There isn't a dull moment in Going Commando, and it goes without saying, that Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando is the Royal Flush of Platforming!

The game picks up where the last left off. The defeat of Drek has left Ratchet and Clank out of business, or put into early retirement since their aren't anymore worlds to save. Soon after, they're kidnapped and brought to Bogon, where they meet Ambercrombie Fizzwidget, a man who works for Megacorp, where they develop prototype gadgets and weapons. Soon, you're tasked with retrieving a missing item from a mystery person, and along the way you'll discover new friends, new missions, and learn about the attempted destruction of Gadgetron. The story is quite amusing for a platformer, and Insomniac really did go the extra mile to make this game even more immersive. Plus a cameo by Captain Quark is most welcome. The new planets and mission driven story are most impressive, from planet Aranos to Yeedil, this game will have you hooked.

Graphically this game is stunning. If you remember the worlds and environments from the first Ratchet, you'll most likely be familiar with the style of the worlds of this next game. There are even more worlds than before, not to mention the number of polygons has been ramped up in order to compete with Naughty Dogs Jak II. I must say, after playing Jak II, and now Going Commando, there is no comparison. While Jak II has large environments, almost everything in Ratchet 2 (and I mean that) can be destoryed, not to mention the environments are ten times larger and more complex, which adds another degree of depth to the gameplay, because the worlds are so interactive, even more so than the first Ratchet and Clank.

You'll want to take a look around in FPV just to see how alive these worlds actually are. For example, in the Maktar Resort, if you look in the sky you'll see enemy ships flying around, most of which you can blast out of the sky, and you'll also see civilian vehicles flying around in an organized manner, but organized in a way that the traffic looks random. So much so, that you'll be wondering just how they can pack such a lush and live environment, and so many of them onto one DVD. Insomniac hit the nail on the head with Ratchet 1, and I never thought it was possible, but it seems that Insomniac has managed to improve on what was almost perfection.

Gameplay. There isn't a platformer with more gameplay than Ratchet and Clank 2. What makes it so good you ask? Well, heres what...in a nut shell: RPG elements, the Maxi games, the 20+ new weapons and many returning weapons and gadgets from Ratchet 1, which are all fully upgradable, more bots to control with Clank, more Giant Clank, larger worlds with even more life than before, more intelligent AI, and over all, you get to blow **** up. Now lets explain these different things. RPG elements: As you kill enemies, you will earn experience. There is an experience metre under your health, and it will eventually reach its maximum and thats when you level up.

As you level up, you will earn more hit points, in fact, you can earn from 1 - 80 points in a single game. The Maxigames (sometimes called Mega-games) are incredible battle arena challenges where you're challenged to fight different bosses and several enemies, and by several I mean about 100 per battle (with few exceptions). Some examples of the bosses are Chainblade and the B2 Brawler, an octopus like robot that will kick your ass if you don't beat him at his own game. The new weapons and gadgets are not really suprising to most Ratchet fans, as getting gadgets was and still is one of the main priorities in the Ratchet series. This time there is a twist though: You can buy weapons, and at first they seem to be quite weak compared to some of the weapons from the first game. But as you use them more and more, they begin to charge up, until the meter under the weapon is full, and then it upgrades into its ultimate form...or so you'd think.

In most cases, the upgrade includes faster firing rate or incredibly strong attacks. Either way, you'll go looking for trouble just to upgrade your weapons. Some examples are the Lancer, which upgrades to a Heavy lancer, the Miniturret which upgrades to a missle launching Megaturret and my personal favourite, the Chopper, which then upgrades into the Multistar. The Meteor Gun, Spider Bot, Zodiac...and (insert ultimate weapon here), are just a few guns to add to the list of upgradable weapons. You can also upgrade Ratchets suit into many different forms, each increasing Ratchets defensive properties, and minimizing damage done to him, not ot mention they look cool as hell...especially Carbonox!

As Clank you will get to control a heftty amount of servo-bots, which function just like the ones from Ratchet 1, only there are twice as many. There are large ones, small ones, ones that shoot lasers, and ones that can act as bridges. You also get to do a lot more missions as Giant Clank...nuff said. This time round, the worlds are much larger and even more creative. The most creative "worlds" are the battle spheres, where you're literally walking around on a spherical moonlet, where you have to use jump pads to get on top of towers to destory generators and target enemies.

The enemies are also a lot smarter and tougher. They will dodge your attacks, and they become harder to defeat later on, meaning they require more power to kill. This is all interrelated as you need to fight enemies to gain experience, and you need to use your weapons in order to upgrade them, otherwise, later on you'll regret it as you get your ass handed to you.

Its not fair to compare this game to Jak II...but in reality, its been compared to Jak II since before either game was released. Its only fair to put those who are quick to judge to rest. There is no question, Ratchet and Clank 2 will have you glued to your sofa because this game is non-stop action, and fun, and is masterful, in every sense of the word.

No lag, no collision detection issues, and certainly a blast to play. Insomniac has packed about 3 games worth of gameplay into this disc, definately another bar raised by Insomniac.

The first time through will most likely take you well over 25 hours, and that doesn't mean reaching for that golden 100% marker. Afterward, you can restart the game with your previous weapons and have another go at it. This time around there are Platinum bolts to get (sorry, no more gold bolts or gold weapons), which will help create more powerful upgrades and unlock certain bonuses. The mods only add extra replay value, as you'll want to get all of them including the poison mod, which is the most devastating. There are a metric tonne of extra features available to extend the value of Going Commando. Much more than in the original R&C. All the new weapons have two special extra upgrades that are only available on the second playthrough.

This is over and above the normal upgrades that they have during the regular game. And it is in addition to the mods (which can be purchased with platinum bolts.) There is just so much involved with the arsenal of weapons this time, you'll need two of you to take it all in. The same can be said about all the different suits available to Ratchet, as well as his new Gadgets and Clanks new abilites, like controlling Megacorp robots. Its all about experiementation in this game and trust me, its hell'a fun. Its also fun to challenge yourself to try and playthrough certain planets with minimum number of weapons, or finding new interesting ways to destory enemies. (Tough baddies become puny weaklings when Ratchets arsenal is amped to max...and its not an easy to task to jack his arsenal so high, which is why there is so much replay value to Going Commando.

Overall, Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando is an incredible game, that only gets better with every passing minute. If you liked Ratchet and Clank, you'll absolutely love Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando. Its a whole new take on the Ratchet and Clank series, while retaining that familiar feel of Ratchet and Clank 1, and I enjoyed it.


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