Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Review

Jim Sterling | 11 Nov 2013 15:00
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Naturally, Clank gets in on the action in his own playable sections, taking the form of sidescrolling platform levels. At various points in the campaign, Clank must enter the titular Nexus in order to locate a Netherbeast and draw it into Ratchet's world. The gravity of these worlds can be changed, pulling Clank up down, left and right, and each level is an intricately designed environmental puzzle, taking advantage of the shifting gravitational pull. These sections are superbly designed, making players carefully navigate through passages and dangerous traps, before drawing the ire of a Netherbeast and rushing quickly back to the starting area.

It's a shame there aren't more of these Netherworld segments, as they showcase a genuine inventiveness that breaks up the combat smartly. The need to move carefully through a level, then rush carelessly back the way you came, makes for a neat dynamic, with the threat of a chasing Netherbeast providing a surprising amount of tension. Abrupt switches to new play styles usually feel invasive, but I felt no aggravation in undertaking Clank's reality-hopping tasks.

At half the asking price of a retail game, you can expect about half a Ratchet & Clank game. It's actually quite a fair trade, as Into the Nexus takes players on a swift but satisfying tour of the series' best elements. A ton of fun weapons and clever challenges are packed tightly into a handful of hours, though the ending is somewhat abrupt and the final boss isn't particularly challenging. Even at a brief running time, the combat too can sometimes grow fatiguing. It never gets boring, exactly, just a little tiring after an extended period of time.

Visually, you can expect the same brightness and contrast of color that makes Insomniac's titles generally stand out from the crowd. Character designs brim with personality, and environments are varied and vigorous. The voice acting is, once again, top notch, while the use of sound - especially for the more exotic weapons - never fails to delight.

Ratchet & Clank is not only a charismatic ending to the series' PlayStation 3 installments, it marks a most agreeable return to form for Insomniac Games as a developer. While the action can wear the player out, and the campaign itself isn't particularly lengthy or deep, fans will get their money's worth from this concentrated blast of Ratchet & Clank action.

Bottom Line: Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus takes everything there is to love about the series and packs it tightly into a brief - but suitably explosive - package.

Recommendation:It's short, but it's cheap, and it delivers exactly what one expects from a Ratchet & Clank game. Fans will have absolutely no problem leaping into the fray and gunning down space criminals, while newcomers may find the low cost of entry tantalizing enough to jump in. Whoever you are, there's very little chance of you feeling like you wasted your cash here.

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