We have already seen an expanded demo of Ratchet & Clank : A Dimension Apart. The new installment promises to be a show that demonstrates the technical muscle of PlayStation 5, but also to be the most solid in its playable and narrative aspect.
After the trailer that the State of Play left us, I have been able to see a longer demonstration of Ratchet and Clank: A Dimension Apart and, among many other things, there is something that has become clear to me: it is not intended to be another new installment, but jump several rungs to enter the league of the greats: a game that is no longer just beautiful, but a spectacular display of media that seems to have no end, accompanied by new playable mechanics, more intricate combat, as we continue to discover planets and dimensions in each new contact.
The game starts strong. Already in the first level, which serves as a review of the exploits of our heroes, we began to see this show. The whole demo reminds me a bit of the structure of an Uncharted, in which a beautiful environment is presented and little by little the action goes out of control in a constant attempt to curl the loop. Here, a festival in honor of Ratchet and Clank is interrupted by the evil Dr. Nefarius who will not hesitate to claim the sizer that Clank had repaired to travel through the different dimensions in search of the Ratchet family.
Not only Insomniac, because of the presentation we have had, seems more interested than ever in creating a story here that goes beyond accompanying the action. It is something that can be seen in the cinematics themselves and in that shared role between Ratchet and Rivet. The part of the history of the latter allows us to start from a unique framework, that of a Lombax who has always lived alone in an oppressive world, who has not even had the company of a Clank, and who drags her fears and insecurities.
At the end of the day, it is the antithesis to our couple of heroes, who have always been the paradigm of friendship and of managing to overcome any difficulty thanks to teamwork. And I think Ratchet and Clank in this installment does well in focus more on the internal conflicts of the characters than on the external conflicts of interplanetary fights.
The good thing about One Dimension Apart is that it has managed to get along with the two types of audiences it is going to have. The lifelong fan, who knows all the background of the characters, who knows the story of Ratchet inside out, his origins… and who was waiting for a continuation after the events of Ratchet and Clank: Nexus. But also about the new player who will be able to jump into this installment, attracted by the splendor of the new generation, and who should not worry, because this story, even with its nods to other installments, is perfectly understood, offering context to the events past and pointing to a new future in the franchise.
The levels are so different from each other that they seem directly a conjunction of different games
As much as I want to give prominence in this text to its story, or its mechanics, as I will do later, it is undeniable that A Dimension Apart enters first through the eyes. The amount of elements on the screen is incredible and, without a doubt, it is one of those first-batch games that begins to tinker with the possibilities of the new generation.
The drawing distances seem endless, the details, from the hair of the two Lombax, to the effects of the weapons, will only be discovered if we stop the action and focus on them in photo mode. But one of the things that caught my attention the most is that the levels are so different from each other that seem directly a conjunction of different games. The initial world in which we control Ratchet has nothing to do with the one Rivet inhabits or with the different dimensions that we will visit.
And to get into the subject, first you have to talk about Insomniac. I think right now it is, regardless of what its games attract you, one of the most efficient and elastic studios in the industry. While the new generations always create new challenges and objectives, to the point that in the case of Sony studios it is forcing a restructuring to take on several projects at the same time, Insomniac does not seem to suffer with the change. I think it is because of its technical strength. They’re coming to grips with data flow and texture streaming faster, to deliver unparalleled detail and technical tricks less than a year after the console’s launch.
You will see a lot of definition in their modeling, in the use of ray-tracing, in the textures, thanks to this technique that allows them to hide everything that the camera is not pointing, to instantly reload it whenever necessary. But the star dish is the parallel management of levels. Entering a dimension that is completely different from the one you came from in the blink of an eye Well, sometimes we go through a small “loading dimension”, but many other times, the passage through the portal is done on the spot.
The first time I saw it, I was surprised. The second, I wondered if it would be less effective than gimmicky. That is, all this of the dimensions, will it work at the playable level? For the first time I have seen elements that look like it. The way to use the dimensional portals in combat seemed poor to me, since, deep down, they functioned as a traditional grappling hook.
However, in this demo I have been able to see how, in one of the levels, we can hit a glass to change the design of the world on the spot. Like a kind of Soul Reaver, from The Medium or the famous level from Titanfall 2. A single hammer blow and the whole world changes in the blink of an eye. In addition, we will find secrets when traveling to pocket dimensions, optional little worlds to explore.
Rift Apart feels like a giant step forward in the franchise
In the weapons, because the tactics when handling them seem even more demanding. And yes, Insomniac repeats that the best weapon is the one with the most ammunition you have (a way of saying that they are quite level), but the strategic component seems more necessary than ever with some enemies.
From the typical enemies with shields, which stop frontal attacks, to the toughest and most resistant enemies. They all have their weak points and their ways of being exposed, which makes us constantly go to that classic weapon wheel to find the one that does the most damage while spending less ammunition.
Regardless of what their games appeal to you, Insomniac Games is one of the most efficient and resilient studios in the industry.
Of course, there will be new weapons and many more returning. Among the new ones, the Topiary Sprinkler is one of those that achieves the mix between fun and utility. Turn enemies into a beautiful garden figure, perfect for overcoming their defenses, like those enemies with shields we mentioned. But old acquaintances will also be back, like the Pixelator.
Insomniac urges us to use the photo mode and observe how each cube that forms on the enemies perfectly reflects the surfaces thanks to ray tracing. The fighting and the arenas, with both Ratchet and Rivet, seem well crafted. They will prevent us from relaxing from a safe position to keep us in constant movement, always looking for the distance and dodging the enemy attacks that will force us to execute coordinated jumps and take advantage of the portals.
But it is exploration that has convinced me the most. The different hooks, the possibility of running on the walls and making a dash in the air… movements often seen, but that always, always work and create a richer platform component (and also for combat) in many of the worlds that We have seen.
To achieve this fluidity, and as it seems to be the norm for the moment with Insomniac games, there is a choice between two performance modes. Quality mode renders at a higher resolution and 30 frames per second, while performance mode renders at 60 frames and presumably without ray tracing enabled.
The game also seeks to create a good experience with both the 3D Audio of the console and the DualSense controller. You already know that with the command, until we test it in situ, it is better not to venture results, but from what the Insomniac team has explained, the adaptive triggers will be key and will help to manage the different firing functions of the weapons.
It is undeniable that Ratchet &
and Clank: A Dimension Apart enters first through the eyes