The PlayStation 2 had three popular but unique mascot platforming series: Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and Ratchet and Clank. Jak and Daxter was the more traditional platformer, with basic combat and tons of collectibles. Sly Cooper was level based, slightly more heavy on story, visually distinct, and focused on stealth. Ratchet and Clank, meanwhile, ramped up the action with tons of unique weapons, gadgets, and more biting commentary. With the exception of just one Sly Cooper game, only R&C managed to keep their series going strong on the PS3 generation, but when the PS4 hit … nothing. That is, until 2016 when Insomniac rebooted the series with a remake of the original game alongside a feature-length film. This lead nicely into a brand new game, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, being revealed at the PlayStation 5 showcase event.
With the PS5 now out in the wild, we gathered up all the info we could about the latest adventure of our favorite Lombax and robot duo.
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Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was one of the very first games we saw to showcase the power of the PS5, but confusingly, it wasn’t a launch title for the system. Neither Sony nor Insomniac has given a specific date for the game on any of the promotional materials, with the exception of it being slated for sometime in the first half of 2021. Many people were probably expecting it earlier in the console’s launch window, but it seems like it won’t be until maybe March, the end of the fiscal year, that the title drops. They will want plenty of time to promote this game before launch, so we should anticipate at least a month or more of time between the release date being revealed and the date itself hitting for marketing purposes.
The Ratchet games have always been exclusive to Sony’s consoles, even before Insomniac was purchased and made into a first-party studio, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Rift Apart is also exclusive to the PlayStation. But, unlike other major first-party titles like Horizon Forbidden West, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and even Insomniac’s own Spider-Man: Miles Morales, this new Ratchet game won’t be on both PS4 and PS5. Along with Demon’s Souls, this is one of the few early PS5 exclusives that can’t be played anywhere else. The reasons this game couldn’t also come to PS4 all come down to new innovations the team is making in gameplay.
So far, we have gotten plenty of separate looks at Rift Apart in different trailers, demos, and presentations. The initial reveal showed us the triumphant return of our heroic duo, along with the pressing issue of dimensions collapsing on themselves. The action immediately kicks off as the two ride, grind, and otherwise jump between dimensions while bantering with one another. Each purple rift they dive through takes them to a new environment, some familiar and others brand new, but all diverse. There is a pause to show off some of what the actual gameplay may look like before the two are separated between dimensions. The trailer ends with Clank encountering a new character, a female Lombax. This marks the first time in the series’ long history that we’ve seen another Lombax besides Ratchet, who believed himself to be the last one.
The remaining looks at the game don’t give much more story information except that it looks like Dr. Nefarious, the main antagonist from the 2016 reboot, will serve as the main villain once again as the one responsible for causing the rifts to appear in the first place.
On the surface, Rift Apart looks a lot like 2016’s Ratchet and Clank. You can expect your traditional 3D platforming, box smashing, and creative and colorful firefights against lovingly animated enemies. We’ve seen that the combat loop will be just as fast, with plenty of side flips and whacking things with your wrench, plus the weapon leveling system coming back, and, of course, thousands and thousands of bolts to collect. Wrap it all up in a world that looks like an animated film come to life, plus some fancy ray tracing to boot, and this game promises to be just as fun to look at as it will be to play.
Aside from new weapons, which are always a treat in the series, there is one major new tool players will get in the form of rifts. In combat, you will be able to target specific points with a Rift Tether to pull yourself to that location instantaneously. The effect is almost jarring in how seamlessly the rift seems to be pulled over Ratchet rather than him being pulled through. This is a major mechanic that we’ve seen used both in platforming sections as well as in the heat of battle. Portals will also open up at random to drop in enemies from other dimensions, meaning you never know what type of foe to expect.
This instant loading of new environments by passing through rifts is why this game can only be played on the PS5. Without the dedicated solid-state drive eliminating the need for loading between these zones, Rift Apart can create a flow of action between areas in rapid succession that just wouldn’t be possible on any other hardware.
A couple of the Ratchet titles have tinkered with multiplayer modes, such as in Ratchet and Clank 3, Up Your Arsenal, and All 4 One, but it has never been a main feature in a mainline title. Based on how technically demanding this new adventure looks and how there’s been no mention of it up to this point, we are doubtful that there will be any kind of multiplayer included in this title.
Again, we have no information to confirm whether or not DLC will come to Rift Apart, but just going off of the series’ past, it seems unlikely. These titles usually are nice, contained adventures that are made to be replayed and explored for secrets beaten once rather than expanded on. It would be a long shot, but if there was a multiplayer component they were keeping hidden that could facilitate DLC, then maybe that could be possible, but we find that very unlikely. We expect this game to be the complete package from day one.
With no release date set, pre-orders are still not possible for Rift Apart. At this point, even the price is still somewhat of a question. 2016’s reboot was a budget title, releasing for just $40, but we don’t expect that to be true for this brand new current-gen experience. Sony has already raised the price of their own PS5 games to $70, as have many third parties, with the exception of those launching on PS4 as well, like Sackboy and Miles Morales. Rift Apart is a PS5 exclusive and should be expected to hit at the new $70 standard once pre-orders go live.