When it comes to the PlayStation 2 there are many games that are heralded as classics to this day by its fanbase. This isn’t without merit as the PS2 is without a doubt one of the best consoles ever with a deep library of some of the best video games ever made. Games like Persona 3 FES, Shadow Of The Colossus, Beyond Good & Evil, and many others stand the test of time. In the first edition of this new series we took a look at The Simpsons: Hit & Run, this time around we take a look at another beloved franchise as we move on to Ratchet & Clank 3, also known as Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal.
The reason we decided to go with the third edition of the Ratchet & Clank series was that it had the highest User Score of the original trilogy on Metacritic. Does Ratchet & Clank 3 deserve to be mentioned among the best of the best PS2 games? Well, let’s discuss it.
Ratchet & Clank 3 – Does it Hold Up?
The best thing about the Ratchet & Clank series, in general, is how well it embraces variety and manages to pack in various different elements to the games. The third game was no different as you not only have the main storyline but you also have the missions where you help the space ranger, you can test your skills in the Annihilation Nation, you play a video game within a video game, and you can trawl the sewers in search of crystals if you so choose. Ratchet & Clank 3 found the perfect mix of different elements to bring into the game after Ratchet & Clank 2 spread itself a bit too thin with the racing, the space fights, etc.
The variety doesn’t just stop with the different things going on in the game it applies to the weapons too. The third game of the series has arguably the best collection of weapons in the history of the series with the comedic weapons kept to a minimum while the rest are kick-ass in their own way.
The combat in the game is excellent. It’s so satisfying to take out hordes of enemies with the fantastic array of weapons the game provides. The targeting system is perfect and nine times out of ten locks on to the right target easily while dodging enemy bullets is simple yet satisfying as each enemy has a different rhythm.
The story of the game isn’t going to blow anyone away but it keeps the game ticking and provides context to the nonstop action. The story never feels like filler instead taking you through a few interesting side-arcs before finally taking you to your showdown with Doctor Nefarious. If you don’t hate Captain Qwark the story may be even better to you as he is a huge focus of the games’ story in the late portions of the game but as someone that finds him annoying, I wanted him to stay gone.
Beating Ratchet & Clank 3 the first time is just the beginning of this game. Challenge mode makes a second, and even third playthrough possible. Enemies are stronger but your weapons can now level up beyond level 5 and you have a bolt multiplier that can make you very rich if you avoid taking damage for long enough. Getting your favorite weapons to level 8 and getting the RY3NO make you almost unstoppable and its a great feeling, the journey to getting there is even better.
There’s nothing terribly wrong with this game but if we may get a bit nitpicky there are some misses in the game. The first is The Hacker minigame this minigame is incredibly tedious and grinds the game to a halt. There are some levels with multiple Hacker points that you have no choice but to play. The minigame is very simple as you merely rotate a wheel and collect green spots while shooting red spots, this never changes, ever. All that changes is the color of the background but this minigame really pauses things and is just tedious. This is no huge issue but it’s certainly something that breaks the flow of the game all too often.
As mentioned previously there’s a lot of variety in this game with a number of different elements brought in. This leads to some threads never really getting followed up. The Refractor tool could offer some interesting gameplay options but outside of the level it is introduced in it’s barely used throughout the game, the same goes for the Tyrhha-guise which is used maybe twice for a quick minigame and “funny” dialogue but is never fully explored. Again, this isn’t a huge issue but it is one that disappointed me as this game had room to be even better if they’d used all the tools available to them to their fullest which they didn’t.
Does It Hold Up?
Yes. Ratchet & Clank 3 is an absolute classic that stands the test of time. This was one of the greatest games ever released on the PS2 and all these years later still holds up. From a modern perspective, it was fantastic to play an efficient 10-hour game that didn’t needlessly drag out its length. Instead of extending the main game, there was attention put into the post-game to make the game worth replaying again and again which is something we rarely see today. If you’re tired of playing rushed, buggy, 50-hour games and want to just enjoy yourself then dust off that PS2 and play one of the best PS2 games ever.