Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction

Tools of Destruction was my first experience of the title and found it to be a solid and enjoyable title.

Story & Setting

The plot is well delivered with numerous amusing cut scenes and characters that can appeal to all ages. Some of the characters that held a relatively key part to the plot weren’t really introudced to the player very clearly, however it didn’t have too much of a negative impact on my following or enjoyment of the story. I was a little disappointed with the ending where I never truely defeated Tachyon, instead he was pulled through a black hole. I suppose this is to keep it fairly positive and upbeat for the younger audiences, however after a good sized campaign I did want a greater sense of victory. The colourful nature of the plot and characters is converyed well with lush and vibrant graphics, setting the mood very well.

Gameplay

As a shooter the level design is pretty solid and has some rather enjoyable combat. This doesn’t come from scripted set pieces, special camera effects or high octane action. The strength of the gameplay comes from the variety of weapons available to you. Some enemies require something a little different to your standard cannon to bring them down and in addition you have a host of gadgets, some of which are amusing in their own right. I do however feel as though there are slightly too many weapons and gadgets. Naturally they all do have their benefits however you are unlikely use many of the weapons and devices. The weapon progression system also works against the quantity if weapons as you will make your favoured weapons more powerful, so why use something else?

In addition to the usual combat there are a variety of other activities such as spaceship battles, speeding along in your gyrocycle and dodging obstacles on grind rails. Whilst none are particularly amazing, they do break up the play and provide a little variety to help prevent the game becoming too repetitive.  Clank also has his own missions which whilst very different to the standard gameplay, is a little bland once you get the hang of slowing down time. Of course you also have your boss fights, which were a little disappointing. The bosses themselves are often fairly straightforward and unoriginal, however you have the distraction of minions to deal with. This provides a little bit more of a challenge, however they can be just a nuisance forcing you to switch weapon to conserve ammo. As you gain more experience at the game you’ll learn ways to dispose of them without having to take up much of your attention.

Weapon Selection

My biggest gripe in the game is the weapon selection menu. Holding the appropriate button displayed an octagon of weapons with several pages to switch between. To select you had to hold the direction buttons to match the position in the octogon and release the menu button (triangle) whilst still holding the correct directions. This could be rather fiddly and often led to me accidently selecting the wrong weapon. Whilst it is user error, as a player I was just annoyed when I realised that I pulled out my leech bomb instead of my slingshot and subsequently fell to my death.

Actually identifying the correct weapon was a little awkward and trying to set up which weapon goes where on your octogon weapon selection was a nightmare. The controls are very fiddly here and you need to be able to recognise the icons with absolute ease, which isn’t always possible when you are sat a good few feet away on your sofa.

However I think my main issue with the system is the pausing. Obviously whilst fiddling about with this menu I wouldn’t want to stand there, however regularly switching weapons for different scenarios is essential and as such it can disrupt the flow of the game. This is especially prevelent when another character is talking to you.

Overall

Aside from the fiddly weapons selection the game played very well. I’d give is a respectable 4/5.

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