Ratchet and Clank has been a premier franchise for PlayStation, with each entry improving building the previous the same way the consoles have. With the PlayStation 5, Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart is the first game in the franchise on the console, built to take unique advantage of the console’s new capabilities, and that’s just one of the game’s many strengths.
While the headlining feature of the game is that it uses the PS5’s hardware to its (seemingly) absolute limits, particularly its SSD, the rest of the game is also top-notch in its presentation. Everything from the unique soundscapes of the different planets to the haptic feedback on the Dualsense controller comes in smoothly to create what we can comfortably call a “next-gen experience”.
Rift Apart is a new stand-alone game that builds upon 2016’s Ratchet and Clank reboot on the PS4. While it’s not necessary for new players to have played that game, seeing how Rift Apart takes bold new steps with its characters, I’d recommend going through the first game. After all, it is part of the PlayStation Plus collection, and also recently got a nice 60 FPS patch for the PS5. With that said, let’s get into Rift Apart!
Before talking about the story and characters, I have to talk about the main gimmick here – Dualsense. For real, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart makes probably the best use of the dualsense controller outside of Astro’s Playroom, and the latter was built specifically to show off the controller. The haptics kick in frequently, informing you of what surface you’re walking on. The adaptive triggers feel great, locking and jamming just the right amount to let you know when you’ve run out of ammo, or if you’ve engaged a weapon’s secondary fire mode.
The little speaker on the controller chimes along as you collect different nuts and bolts to upgrade your weapon. Add in a headphone and you’ve got one of the most immersive experiences we’ve seen this early in the new generation. Rift Apart’s 3D audio use isn’t as flashy as the dualsense’s features, but it’s subtle enough to make a big difference.
Of course, a game called Rift Apart is going to use the SSD in the PS5 to its maximum potential, and it shows. Booting up the game from the main menu takes less than 2 seconds, and that’s quite impressive given the level of detail here. The rift tethers, or accessible yellow portals in the game, work as advertised – instantly letting you zip from one point of the map to another. It reminds me of Spider-Man’s web zip ability, only with an extra-dimensional twist. The other portals, the ones wrapped in purple energy, are reserved for more scripted events, where you’re quickly thrown from one point of the map to, in some extreme cases, another point of a completely different planet.
Rivet and Kit – A New Dynamic Duo
While we all know the titular Lombax and robot, it’s the new characters that really deserve a spinoff of their own. Let’s start with Rivet, the new female Lombax who’s in some way an alternate version of Ratchet. While she may look similar to Ratchet, her goals, motivations and overall demeanour are very much unique. She’s got a load of history that we aren’t familiar with, and a lot of that history is peeled back in layers throughout the story.
With an alternate version of Ratchet comes an alternate version of Clank – meet Kit. While this character was kept hidden from marketing, I really think Kit has the more interesting arc out of everybody in the game. She’s much more emotionally expressive than Clank and stands on her own in some really awesome sequences that anime fans will go crazy over. If Insomniac Games is reading this, we wouldn’t mind a Rivet and Kit stand-alone expansion similar to last Christmas’ Spider-Man Miles Morales.
Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart – PS5 Performance
With all that said and done, how does the game’s performance hold up? Well, if Insomniac’s last few games are anything to go by, it’s a really smooth experience. The game comes with 3 modes for performance – a 4K fidelity mode at 30 FPS, a 4K performance mode at 60 FPS, and of course, a “Performance RT” mode for 60 FPS with ray tracing at a lower resolution, typically around 1080p-1440p.
Rift Apart’s visual design makes great use of ray tracing, and with the availability of the Performance RT mode, I find it hard to recommend the other two modes. Sure, those graphics modes might look sharper, but the lack of ray tracing or higher frame rate in either case are quite significant. With that said, Insomniac Games’ implementation of motion blur and other effects result in a great 30 FPS experience, so you really can’t go wrong with either modes. Performance feels solid in the 60 FPS modes, which are what I used primarily throughout my play through.
Verdict – A Must-Have For Any PS5 Owner
Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart is a must-have game for any self-respecting PS5 owner. Not only does the game provide a new experience with never-before-seen mechanics thanks to the new hardware’s capabilities, but it also does so in slick storytelling fashion, with unique characters and a sense of humour that never tires.