Ratchet and Clank is the new poster child of next generation gaming.
Rift Apart has been billed as the first true showcase of the PlayStation 5 from the moment it was revealed.
Demon’s Souls is a remake, Returnal wasn’t developed in-house and Spider-Man Miles Morales – like the upcoming Horizon: Forbidden West – can run on last generation’s PlayStation 4 even if it isn’t as pretty.
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Free of those concerns, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart expectations were high for the old-school PS2 mascot and Insomniac Games don’t disappoint.
Animation is at Pixar levels of quality with fidelity you’d expect from a modern film.
Best of all, it runs smooth as butter no matter which graphical option you choose.
The same fidelity, performance and performance RT (ray-tracing) modes from Miles Morales return in Rift Apart, however the sacrifices were much more noticeable in Ratchet and Clank over the first few hours of my playthrough.
Performance RT was my go to in both Spider-Man games, but the drop in resolution Ratchet needs to achieve 60 frames per second was too noticeable on my 4K TV.
I’m not normally a stickler for resolution but Ratchet’s fur looked so obviously pixelated to me that I changed the setting to fidelity mode 30 seconds into the first cutscene and have never looked back.
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Here, Rift Apart truly shines. The detail in character models, reflections, levels and the creatures who inhabit them is mind boggling. Sure, it’s no open-world but the scale and density of the levels is a sight to behold.
Thanks to Ratchet (and Rivet’s) slower movement compared to Spider-Man, plus their cartoony design, I never noticed or cared about the 30 frames-per-second limit. The game is rock solid, as are its much talked about loading times.
Swapping between dimensions and into entirely different landscapes is a phenomenal showcase of the PS5’s new SSD. It truly is flawless and Insomniac has ironed out any dip in performance from the demos for perfect continuity.
Dimension hopping in combat to get a new angle and the jump on your enemies is a great new mechanic, albeit a little discombobulating. The gimmick truly shines in traversal however some may be disappointed at how scripted these moments feel in practice. There’s very little player agency to choose alternate dimensional paths.
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Same goes for the Ratchet v Rivet split. You’re playing two separate characters, on separate but intertwined adventures yet they control identically and inexplicably share the exact same weapons and upgrades.
We’re too early in our playthrough to comment on the story, but Insomniac’s ability to realise characters through dialogue and animation endears you to the main cast instantly.
It’s by no means perfect, but Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart will and should be near the top of most people’s wish list looking to buy a PS5.