Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty

Full games and expansions packs for existing games aren't uncommon on the Playstation Store, with plenty of downloadables already offering more tracks, characters and costumes to enhance (hopefully) the gaming experience. Quest for Booty is the first game to arrive though that actually progresses the story of the game it follows, offering an entirely new adventure for the main hero to explore. Following directly on from the events of Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty sees Ratchet, with the help of Talwyn Apogee, in search of a lost friend. All the clues, it seems, lie in the hands of a familiar bunch of adversaries, the pirates formerly led by Captain Slag, now in the hands of Rusty Pete who, rather oddly, keeps the head of his former captain for company, more as a parrot than a trophy. Forming an unlikely alliance may be Ratchet's only chance of success, but it means travelling to the treacherous Darkwater cave, the caverns where the feared pirate Darkwater stowed his treasure. Basically, it's a fantastic excuse to take part in a few more hours of Ratchet and Clank fun, extending the enjoyment of the 2007 title, and tiding us over for full sequel likely due in 2009.

Quest for Booty

A few more hours, it should be emphasized, is all Quest for Booty will offer, and for less than ten pounds, this isn't necessarily a strong point of criticism, but it should still be noted that although Quest for Booty is visually as beautiful and vibrant as Tools of Destruction, it is a smaller offering overall. There are a good number of weapons (with favourites such as the Alpha Cannon and Nanoswarmers returning), but there's less variety with less time to acquire new ones, and the upgrade systems is also less extensive. Still, there's plenty of firepower to unleash in the game, and a good number of enemies to shoot at. On the whole, you end up fighting hordes of pirates, but you'll also face some of the natural animal life, not all of which is friendly. One species in fact, lurking in the darkest depths of the caverns you explore, are much like Pitch Black's aliens, with ferocious apetites, fearsome strength, but a severe allergy to light. One of Quest for Booty's more original moments is the introduction of heliogrubs which Ratchet can pick up with his wrench and carry around to ward off the airborne cave predators, since each little grub, a cute little green blob with eyes, generates an impressive glow that lights the nearby surrounds. In fact, it's the wrench that sees the most new input in Quest for Booty, with the other major advancement being a magnetic field that Ratchet can generate with the wrench to grab hold of nearby objects. This novelty is put to great use in platform sections where, unlike previous games in which platforms were ready and waiting, or operating in repeating cycles, Ratchet will now have to extend bridges and swivel platforms himself, while keeping enemies away at the same time, adding an extra layer of interest to the usual bobbing and bouncing across the level. Both features are perhaps quite minor in the grand scheme, but it's good to see the developers giving Quest for Booty something new for the player to experiment with.

With the Tools of Destruction game engine apparently largely untampered with underneath, a near-perfect platform-action gaming setup is preserved, so for fans of Tools of Destruction's feel and gameplay, there's going to be little to criticize here. Ratchet is a joy to control, with smooth and precise controls that lend themselves brilliantly to platform exploration. Players must keep their wits about them to successfully traverse the most tricky platforming sections, but there's never any feeling that the game will remorsely punish you for things that appear to be the fault of the game in the first place. Everything is kept fair, with mistakes justly punished, and skillful moves amply rewarded. The game also maintains a careful balance between combat and exploration, with both elements featuring strongly, but never for so long that the player becomes bored with either. The two are only mixed with great care too, so that players aren't left frustrated at trying to jump a complex series of platforms while continually getting shot by an enemy. The fighting itself mirrors the system of Tools of Destruction, with the usual lock-on mechanism and weapons selectable on a ring menu that can be called at any point. The biggest challenge, in terms of enemies, are the bosses, of which there are only a few, at key points in the game. Each has a trademark pattern or two, a couple of handy weaknesses, and usually position themselves next to a self-replenishing weapon stash so that players can unleash the full fury of their impressive arsenal without fear that the rest of the game would be made more difficult without ammo. It might not reflect reality tremendously well, but having fun with over-the-top action is something Insomniac have been doing very well for years, so why limit what the player can do?

Quest for Booty

Visually, things look very similar to Tools of Destruction, with expansive levels filled with intricate, brightly-coloured details. The main change is certainly the darkness of some of the sections, which serve to highlight the importance of the heliogrubs. The light cast by the little critters sends shadows across the level while providing a light haven for Ratchet to inhabit. It really shows off the light physics in the game, and bodes well for visual updates in the full sequel. There aren't a huge number of cutscenes in the game, and there's certainly less variety overall with less levels to explore, so the whole thing feels slightly less cinematic than Tools of Destruction, but this is quite understandable for a more-affordably-priced store title. That said, the game does still cost more than the likes of Super Stardust and PixelJunk Monsters.

Voicework in Quest for Booty is superb, with the familiar voices of Ratchet, Talwyn, Slag and Pete all returning for more great performances that really do add a great deal to an enjoyable story. It might not be the most incredible humour, but the various quips and remarks made by the cast are amusing on occasion, and certainly emphasize the playful, fun nature of the game, contrasting the serious nature of Insomniac's other major series, Resistance. Most pleasingly, new pieces of music are added in Quest for Booty, with the pirate theme so prominent it virtually sounds like Pirates of the Caribbean on occasion. The music is masterful, and seamlessly integrated into the game, with never a jarring moment. The weakest element of the sound are perhaps the effects, not because they are in anyway lacking (they're certainly not, with the weapon effects particularly satisfying), but simply because the evolution from Tools of Destruction is unnoticeable.

Quest for Booty

If, like many, you were left at the end of Tools of Destruction wanting a lot more from the Ratchet universe, then Quest for Booty does an excellent job, letting players progress the story a little more, allowing Insomniac to focus on Resistance 2 this year, ready for the next full Ratchet game in 2009. Quest for Booty is short, but with a price tag that reflects this. Little else is cut down significantly, and the story should prove entertaining, even if the tale isn't told on the galactic scale, as it might normally be. For less than a tenner, Quest for Booty is a great addition to the store, and highly recommended, so go and grab your heliogrubs and start searching for some booty.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

Insomniac Games

Players:

1

Online:

None

Release:

2008-08-21

Trophies:

0

Review summary

Gameplay:

Brilliant Ratchet gameplay returns

Graphics:

Visually amazing - beautiful

Sound:

Great voices, music and sound

Lastability:

Not very long, but it's just a PSN download

8.8

Supernova

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User comments

MeteorStorm

05:56:20, May 11 2009

A full review of this game will be arriving very soon - definitely well in advance of A Crack in Time, the next Ratchet and Clank game on PS3.

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