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Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
R&C FTD Box Art-RP-thumb.jpg
North American Box Art
Developer(s) Insomniac Games
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Series Ratchet & Clank
Engine Insomniac Engine v.2.0
Native resolution 1080i, 720p
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Release date(s) NA October 23, 2007[1]

EU November 9, 2007
AUS November 15, 2007

Genre(s) Platform, shooter
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: E10+
OFLC: PG
PEGI: 7+
Media Blu-ray Disc
Input methods Gamepad

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (titled Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction in most PAL regions) is a PlayStation 3 video game developed by Insomniac Games, released on October 23, 2007 in North America and on November 9, 2007 in Europe. It is the 7th installment (although it was the sixth to be released) in the official Ratchet & Clank canon and the first PlayStation 3 installment as well as the first installment for the new "Future" sub-saga in the series. It was also one of the first PlayStation 3 games to support Dual Shock 3 rumble straight from the disc.

Contents

Gameplay

Tools of Destruction retains much of the basic gameplay found in previous Ratchet & Clank games, the game being primarily a shooter-platformer. The player controls Ratchet most of the time, with some sections using Clank, as they explore various worlds to complete missions, using Ratchet's wrench and other exotic weapons gained during the course of the game. At times, Ratchet may enter free-fall, or with an upgrade to Clank, will be able to fly; during these periods, the player uses the tilt functionality of the SIXAXIS controller to maneuver Ratchet. The tilt-sensing abilities of the SIXAXIS are also used to control some weapons and gadgets, such as steering the path of a mini-tornado fired out from the Tornado Launcher/Tempest Launcher, cutting open walls with the Geo-Laser, or steering a metal ball to override circuitry with the Decryptor. Other exotic weapons include the Nano-Swarmers, similar to Going Commando's Mini-Turret glove, and the Plasma Beasts, which produce single-use synthenoid creatures with an attack pattern similar to the first game's Mine Glove. More conventional weapons include the Negotiator, a rocket launcher that marks the first time the series has used an RPG for the rocket launcher weapon, instead of a bazooka; the Combuster, a standard blaster pistol, and the Alpha Disruptor, an extremely powerful laser cannon, but expensive to upgrade and with low ammunition. Notably, this is a Lombax weapon found in a testing room on Planet Sargasso and not purchased from a vendor. The weapon it upgrades into (the Alpha Canon) is the most powerful in the game's arsenal in terms of single shots with a damage level of over 10,000. The weapons menu information screen claims that because of its power, it was once believed to be the Lombax Secret, although this plays no part in the story. Another weapon of notable origin is the Pyro-Blaster, a flamethrower very reminiscent of the Pyrocitor from Ratchet & Clank, engineered by the Kerchu, whose Pyroguards use flamethrowers against their enemies. However, a zoom-in sniper rifle was not included in the game's arsenal for the first time since it was introduced. One of the game's cheats allows Ratchet to use pirate swords, axes and similar weapons in place of his wrench, although its use is not affected. On Rykan V, Reepor and Fastoon, Cronk and Zephyr (and Talwyn on the latter two and after breaking her out of Zordoom Prison) accompany Ratchet and fight with him. While immune to damage, their weapons are far less potent than Ratchet's. As with previous games Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, Deadlocked and Size Matters, there is an arena area. This is called the Imperial Fight Festival, found on planet Mukow, and uses the same elements as previously. Like in Ratchet & Clank, Going Commando and Size Matters, the player will have the ability to pilot a ship against enemy forces, in this case, space pirates. However, in this game you will not be able to upgrade your ship or control it on your own. It has a set course which can not be flown away from which takes away some of the players freedom. Along with no upgradeable ship weapons or armor or for that matter how your ship looks.

At times, the player will control Clank in a mode similar to previous games, using robotic creatures called Zoni to fight foes, remove debris or reconstruct bridges, and to power devices in the level. Clank possesses the ability to slow down time as well during these sections, allowing him, for example, to make his way under a rapidly closing door as well as levitate.

Weapons gain experience as previously implemented in the series, but in addition, the player can collect Raritanium crystals and use them to upgrade the weapon in additional ways beyond the experience path; weapon improvements are presented in a tree-like structure and require that all previous upgrades be obtained for that weapon first before later upgrades can be purchased. However, this system is very different from Deadlocked's Alpha & Omega mod series. Here, you simply buy an upgrade (similar to the Alpha Mods with upgrades such as more ammo, faster shooting, greater damage, larger blast radius), it immediately becomes active, & another upgrade is available for purchase. Once a certain group of upgrades are unlocked, they'll open up the equivalent of that weapons Omega mod, such as Napalm, Freezing, or Fire. Unlike Deadlocked, however, each weapon, with the exception of the RYNO IV, has a specific Omega mod designated just for itself and, while this allows for more variety than Deadlocked, the aspect of freedom for the player in configuring & experimenting with these upgrades is now entirely missing.

In addition to weapons are objects known as "devices". While they are selected and used similar to weapons, they may or may not directly damage foes but instead provide an effect beneficial to the player. The "Groovitron", for example, is a disco ball that causes all foes to dance for a brief time, allowing the player to deal with them while distracted. The carrying capacity of such devices are generally very low (2 or 3 units for each). Device vendors in addition to weapon vendors can be found in the game, and device ammo can be found in Raritanium chests, although these are usually hard to find or placed in hidden places.

Armor can be bought from an armor vendor on certain planets. Each upgrade to the armor decreases the amount of damage the player takes from enemy weapons. These armors cost a large amount of bolts. In Challenge Mode, a bonus set of armor is available- the Trillium Armor, engineered by the Centre for Advanced Lombax Research during the Great War. The final armor in "standard mode" is the Terraflux armor, worn by Cragmite assassins during the same conflict. The other two sets are the Helios armor, designed by the Kerchu. While the actual Kerchu wear no conventional armor, this suit does bear some resemblance to the fire-wielding vehicles used by their Pyroguards. The final armor is named the Blackstar Armor. It is named after Captain Blackstar, who is mentioned in Up Your Arsenal. In the "historical" holovid game "Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder", he is named as the leader of a band of ghost pirate robots who are vanquished by Captain Quark, and would have been the boss at the end of the level. The suit clearly resembles the robotic space pirates who appear during Tools of Destruction. Though even with armor your health depletes quickly and in a matter of hits. Unlike on Ratchet and Clank:Going Commando your health is a bar instead of nano bars. Unlike previous games with a health bar it tends to level up faster but does not affect vastly on how fast you die, depending on the enemy.

Beyond the main gameplay, Tools of Destruction features an arena with several challenges, "Gyro-cycle" courses that use a turbo-charged bike, and on-rails space combat. The Gyro-cycle is provided by the Smuggler on Rykan V, who mentions that he bought it from a Lombax pilot. If questioned after selling the vehicle, he tells Ratchet that the Lombax's ship had been shot down by Emperor Tachyon after the Battle of Fastoon. This and his comment about his appearance- "Say, he even looked like you!"- imply that this pilot may have been the Keeper of the Dimensionator- and Ratchet's father.

Tools of Destruction is the first game where Ratchet, Clank and other characters converse with one another with lipsynced dialogue during gameplay, out of cutscenes. Also, in various scenes, Talwyn, Qwark (self-appointed overseer of Operation Deathwish, the mission to break in and out of Zordoom Prison), the Smuggler, Cronk and Zephyr can all contact Ratchet by comlink. On Sargasso, Zephyr provides the initial warning about the Grunthor leviathans and mentions that he once lost a rotator socket to one of the beasts. Captain Slag and the Drophyd Commander can also be heard on levels where Space Pirates and Imperial troops appear, respectively (although pirates appear in Kerchu City, Slag provides no COMs dialogue). The captain broadcasts warnings if Ratchet has been discovered and announces events such as after-dinner entertainment and trips to Zordoom Prison (to visit the pirates' mothers). The Drophyd Commander orders troops to attack Ratchet and keeps tabs on his movements. In addition, when using the Holo-Pirate Disguise on the Kreeli comet and in Slag's Fleet in the Ublik Passage, Ratchet can hear conversations between Space Pirates. These include complaints about how Rusty Pete has various benefits from his post as First Mate, while the regular pirates don't even have dental insurance, rumors about Ratchet's abilities that are circulating among the buccaneers, & a certain group of space pirates of the Kreeli Comet can be overheard talking about they met with a beautiful Cazare named Sasha while raiding this amazing Starship.

There are 13 Gadgetron Holo-Plans (Hidden in Boxes on Various Planets) After getting all thirteen the player can give them to the Smuggler and he will make the R.Y.N.O IV. With every other fragment collected, the Smuggler will provide a new comment on how the weapon functions (for example, it contains a device used to manipulate dark matter) - by the penultimate piece, he is contemplating that the weapon "may be too hot for even me to handle".

Plot

In the midst of working on a hoverbike on the planet Metropolis, Ratchet and Clank receive a desperate call for help from Captain Qwark, which they respond to. They find that a large army of robotic commandos have laid a full-scale assault on the capital city, led by Emperor Tachyon, crown prince of the Cragmites. Tachyon reveals that he is after Ratchet, the last Lombax in the galaxy; outnumbered and overpowered, Ratchet and Clank flee. The two decide they must learn more about Tachyon and begin to search the universe for answers. During their investigation, Clank is visited by small robots called the Zoni that only he can see; the Zoni upgrade Clank and tell him that he is special, and that he must help Ratchet make a difficult choice in their current adventure. The duo also acquire the aid of Talwyn Apogee, the daughter of Max Apogee, a famous explorer who collected artifacts from the Lombax culture before he mysteriously disappeared.

As they travel from planet to planet, they learn from allies that during the Great War long ago, the Lombaxes had wiped out all of the Cragmites, and were considered heroes of the universe. Exactly how the Lombaxes had done so, however, was unknown, and that had become known as the Lombax Secret. Ratchet learns of the abandoned home planet of the Lombaxes, Fastoon, and goes there to learn of the Lombax Secret, revealed to be the "Dimensionator", a helmet that is able to open wormholes to other dimensions. The Lombax had used it to banish all the Cragmites to an alternate dimension, except for one; Tachyon was found as an egg after the Great War, and was raised by the Lombaxes as revealed by the Iris supercomputer; after learning what the Lombaxes had done to his species, he launched an all-out attack on Fastoon. The Lombaxes realized that the best solution was to send themselves to another dimension with the Dimensionator, attempting to fool Tachyon that he had destroyed the race, though two were left behind: the Guardian of the Dimensionator and his son. Tachyon reveals that he ended up killing the Guardian but not before he could send his son to the Solana galaxy, and that Ratchet is that son.

Recognizing that Tachyon plans to use the Dimensionator to bring back the Cragmites from banishment, Ratchet and Clank recover it first, but Captain Qwark shows up and tries to destroy it himself; the blunder allows Tachyon to recover the device. As the duo confront Tachyon with his assembled army on Fastoon, which Tachyon plans to remake as the new Cragmite homeworld, Tachyon tempts Ratchet by opening a wormhole to the dimension where the Lombaxes now live, but, with help from Clank's advice based on the Zonis' warnings, Ratchet recognizes he must stop Tachyon completely, or else the Cragmites will not only control this dimension but also the Lombax's dimension. Ratchet and Clank fight Tachyon, and are able to get the better of him. The Dimensionator is damaged during the battle, opening a black hole that Tachyon falls into, and while Ratchet and Clank are able to flee with the use of a 3 3/4 cubits hexagonal washer given to them by the plumber, the device becomes irreparable.

As Ratchet and Clank and their allies gather to celebrate the victory, the Zoni show up, now visible to everyone. The robots tell Clank that they are now going to bring him "home", to show him "who he is" and "what he'll become". Clank "willingly" goes with them despite Ratchet's protests; the game ends with the disappearance of Clank and the Zoni, with Ratchet stunned and helpless to stop them. The quest to find where Clank disappeared to continues in Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty.

Production

The game was first announced at the 2006 Game Developers Conference, where a Ratchet & Clank next-gen tech demonstration was shown for the PlayStation 3. Many new worlds and weapons were introduced into the game like in previous installments of the series. It is also a platform game, as Insomniac wanted to stop the series from becoming the more weapon-based combat game it had become in the previous games Up Your Arsenal and Deadlocked.

There are reported to be a total of 31 weapons, gadgets, and combat devices,[2] further divided into 15 weapons, 8 gadgets, and 8 devices. Unlike Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, the player cannot unlock weapons from previous games using a memory card.

Technical issues

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction has a few technical issues. They are listed below.

HDD glitch

Found that on release, some users were not able to load the game with a message claiming there was not enough free space to store game data on the hard drive, regardless of available space. A workaround for this hard drive issue was released, requiring users to add or delete approximately 500 MB of content to or from the hard drive, after which the game would load normally.[3]

Demo version HD pixelation issue

On some 1080p HDTV’s The Demo version of Ratchet and Clank appears to be pixelated. Reports of this were uncommon, but it seems that although being a 720p game, when 720p is selected on the display options for the Playstation 3 the game does not appear as it should on some HDTV’s (a 52 inch 1080p Sony Bravia is one of the mentioned televisions). When 720p is unchecked, leaving only 1080i and 1080p the picture in fact clears up but at the bottom-right of the screen is a block of broken up, fuzziness.

Upscaling from 640p to 720p would cause some strange exaggeration of aliasing, and other minor problems with picture quality. Instead, Ratchet and Clank cuts off 8pixels above and below, meaning the remaining image will still be rendered at 720p but with small black bars above and below, as seen in an HD film on a television. A 1080p film will have black borders above and below, thus not using all the pixels, but the quality that is displayed still means it is 1080p. Ratchet and Clank is even less extreme than this, since the black borders would be almost unnoticeable if HDTVs didn’t use overscan to remove them completely. This image is sent from the Playstation to the television, and then the overscan of the television will make the final picture fit the screen, thus not showing the black bars.[4] Unless, of course, the HDTV has 1:1 PixelMapping, in which case it displays the image at full resolution, without overscan.

Reception

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 89/100 [5]
MobyGames 90/100 [6]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A-
Edge 8/10
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9/10
Game Informer 9.25/10
GamePro 5/5
Game Revolution B
GameSpot 7.5/10
GameSpy 4/5
GameTrailers 9/10
IGN 9.4/10
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 9/10
Play Magazine 10/10
PSM 9.5/10
PSM3 93/100

The game was met with mainly positive reviews.[7][8] On Metacritic, it has received an aggregate score of 89 from 70 reviews, giving the game a ranking of "generally favorable reviews",[5] and on MobyGames, it has received an aggregate score of 90.[6]

IGN, who gave the game a 9.4 out of 10,[7] said "Not only has it supplanted Going Commando as the best title in the franchise, it's also the best game of any series on the PlayStation 3 thus far -- and that's saying a lot when you're up against Oblivion, Ninja Gaiden, Warhawk and Insomniac's very own previous effort, Resistance: Fall of Man." Also on IGN's weekly PS3 podcast, they called it the best video game they've played on any platform in 2007. GamerNode, who gave the game 9.5 out of 10,[8] said "In Tools of Destruction, Insomniac is back doing what they do best, and they do it better than ever, This is the best Ratchet & Clank adventure to date, and at this point the best game the PS3 has to offer.Cheat Code Central gave the game 5/5 across the board saying it is one of the best games of all time. X-Play gave it 5/5 with its own personal episode. NTSC-uk said "...it never stops being anything less than great fun to play and hugely engaging".[9]

Awards

Tools of Destruction earned the following award nominations and wins:

It also placed runner-up for various awards in IGN's Best of 2007, including PS3 Game of the Year.

Sales

Tools of Destruction sold nearly 75,000 units during October 2007. While this value is lower than other previous PlayStation 3 titles (such as Warhawk and Heavenly Sword, both which broke 100,000 sales in their first month of release), the game has outsold Ratchet: Deadlocked's first month of sales by nearly 20,000 units. Sony Computer Entertainment of America has stated that they are "very happy" with the initial sales figures.[12]

In an interview with MTV News in March 2008, Ted Price stated that Tools of Destruction has sold over 1 million units so far and compared with the rest of the Ratchet series, it "has sold as many as the other games have at this point in its lifecycle. We were also panicked because we thought, 'Wow, there aren’t that many games on PlayStation 3 this Christmas and Ratchet should really be one of those big ones.' But then we realized that PlayStation 3 still is in the hands of consumers who tend not to be Ratchet fans. They’re the older consumers who are more interested in M-rated games. It hasn’t made its way necessarily to family play. And that’s the kind of game Ratchet is. So what we expect and what we’ve seen in the past is that it will have a long tail. … What’s cool for us is there aren’t that many family-friendly games out there [on the PS3] that provide competition for Ratchet.[13]

Sequel

A downloadable pirate-themed sequel titled Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty is out on the PSN. It is based after the events of Tools of Destruction and is much shorter than the predecessor. It takes place on planet Merdegraw, which is mostly populated by pirates and town people. If a person has trouble with their internet connection, the game can also be bought on a disc complete with a manual (although the in-game one is still on the disc versions' title screen) and box, but only in Europe.

See also

  • Greatest Hits
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

References

  1. ^ PlayStation.Blog » Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Coming Soon(er)
  2. ^ PS3 Fanboy interviews Ratchet and Clank's Ryan Schneider
  3. ^ Faylor, Chris (2007-10-23). "Minor Glitch("mess up") Halts Ratchet & Clank PS3, Simple Workaround Solves Issue". Shacknews. http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/49587. Retrieved 2007-10-23.  
  4. ^ Ratchet and Clank HD Pixelation Issue? Insomniac Responds | ripten
  5. ^ a b "MetaCritic: Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps3/ratchetandclankfuturetoolsofdestruction. Retrieved 2008-04-16.  
  6. ^ a b "Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction". MobyGames. http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps3/ratchet-clank-future-tools-of-destruction. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  7. ^ a b "Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Review". IGN. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/829/829409p1.html. Retrieved October 24, 2007.  
  8. ^ a b "Review: Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction". GamerNode. http://www.gamernode.com/reviews/4758-ratchet-clank-future-tools-of-destruction/index.html. Retrieved October 24, 2007.  
  9. ^ "NTSC-uk Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Review". NTSC-uk. http://www.ntsc-uk.com/review.php?platform=ps3&game=RatchetAndClankTOD. Retrieved December 12, 2007.  
  10. ^ Magrino, Tom (2007-11-11). "Halo 3, BioShock top Spike TV noms". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6182621.html?sid=6182621&part=rss&subj=6182621. Retrieved 2007-11-11.  
  11. ^ "52 Games We'll Still Be Playing From 2007". Gaming Target. 2008-01-02. http://www.gamingtarget.com/article.php?artid=8075.  
  12. ^ Klepek, Patrick (2007-11-19). "NPD Fallout: Did Ratchet Actually Sell Just Fine?". 1UP. http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3164480. Retrieved 2007-11-20.  
  13. ^ "Insomniac’s Ted Price Talks ‘Ratchet’ Sales Surprises, New IPs". MTV News. 2008-04-05. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/03/05/insomniacs-ted-price-talks-ratchet-sales-surprises-new-ips/. Retrieved 2008-04-05.  

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