By Mr. P

Size MattersIt’s been a long time since I played a pure platform game, but the PSP is an ideal piece of hardware for one.
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is getting rave reviews elsewhere, so I thought it was about time I checked it out. To get right to the point, what Insomniac Games has delivered here is something really special. What makes it so good? First off the graphics on this title are great, better than almost the best I’ve seen on the PS2, and certainly a new high water mark for the PSP. Our erstwhile heroic duo are wonderfully rendered along with all manner of lighting effects, and even a shadow. While the lower resolution of the PSP does occasionally make it difficult to make out distant targets, you can always switch into FPS mode if you want a closer look in any direction.
At the start of this review I describe this game as a ‘platform’ which is something of an undersell, like calling Lewis Hamilton an ‘ok’ driver. A better description would be a shooting, tactical, puzzle, adventure platformer with racing undercurrents. There is genuinely something for everyone in this game, whatever type of game you like. So initially it’s a walking shooting game, with a few interesting puzzles and then once you’ve mastered that it throws in some tactical planning and resource management problems before introducing some other elements. As such it’s something you can find yourself playing for long periods, as their is almost always something new to try or achieve.Size Matters
For me the controls took a little getting used to, but by I’d reached the third planet in the story I’d get the hang of moving around and shooting. Then to throw me entirely off-balance the game threw up a sequence where I needed to be Clank and not Ratchet. Clank doesn’t have weapons and gadgets, instead he has service bots his can tell to move, follow, stay or attack. Getting through this, and subsequent Clank episodes usually requires a combination of lateral thinking and good timing.
If I do have a criticism of the game overall it’s that as you get deeper into the game it can throw some diabolical problems at you, in quite an inconsistent way. One level might start challenging, became relatively easy and then get unbelievably hard. There isn’t much warning about when it’s going to do this, and save locations can be well spaced out in places. I could also live without the ‘humorous’ interludes, which although well done are actually pretty dry exposition at which we’ve supposed to laugh. I didn’t once.
If you have a PSP and want something with excellent playability then I can’t recommend anything better than Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.

Score 9/10

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