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Matt Keller
23 Jan, 2004

Ratchet and Clank: Locked and Loaded Review

PS2 Review | Has anything changed since we last saw Ratchet & Clank?
The first Ratchet & Clank title launched in late 2002 to positive sales across all regions, including Japan, where reactions to western platformers isn't usually anything worth mentioning. Insomniac proved that they weren't a one trick pony after moving on from Spyro the Dragon, and with Ratchet & Clank: Locked and Loaded, they're trying to prove that they can make a great sequel with a meager 12 month development cycle. Is the proof in the pudding? Read on to find out.

Heroes...Who Needs ‘em?!?

After defeated Chairmen Drek and his minions, Ratchet and Clank found that their lives began to drag. With no evil in the galaxy, there was no need for heroes. Just as the duo was about to announce their retirement, they receive a distress call from a Professor Fizzwidget, head of Megacorp. Fizzwidget informs Ratchet and Clank that a secret prototype has been stolen from Megacorp by an unknown assailant, and our heroes decide to put their retirement plans aside, and fulfill Fizzwidget's bidding.

There is very little difference between Locked and Loaded and the original game to the naked eye - a lot of the changes are minor gameplay tweaks, control tightening and so on. You won't have any problems adjusting if you played the first game, but fans of the title should not expect anything drastically different. There are a few new tricks that can help out in tight spots, such as the ability to strafe. If you have a save game from the original title, you'll be pleased to know that you can get a few of the returning guns for free, such as the Visibomb gun and the bomb glove.

The new gameplay features do actually have a noticeable effect, however. Apart from the usual more guns (more than 35 guns & gadgets from memory, but I don't know if that is differentiating between singular guns and their upgrades or not), more planets, etc. that you get from a sequel, you'll find that there are quite a few new things to catch your fancy. Each of the new weapons in Locked and Loaded can be upgraded through prolonged use in an RPG-like manner, and they can be altered through the use of modifications. Ratchet himself also experiences an RPG-like leveling system with his life bar, which expands after he fills his experience meter by disposing of enemies. There are also a few vehicle based segments - a space shooter and a mining section. Each of these sections gives you an opportunity to find Raritanium which you can trade to a rather suspicious looking character for new ship components.


One thing that returning Ratchet & Clank fans will notice is that Locked and Loaded boasts significantly harder gameplay sections later in the game. This is both due to great level design, and a profound boost in enemy AI and strength. It may seem a little cheap at first, as you'll be unprepared for the rapid increase in your opponent's abilities (unless you level up a weapon the very second you get it), but it encourages you to use new tactics and the new moves the sequel blesses you with.

Locked and Loaded contains a collection of mini-games and side quests, including a gladiatorial arena mode with various challenges, a racing mode with several different tracks, alternate objectives for the space shooting mode, and even a few sections where you go one on one with a massive baddie as Giant Clank. The game lasts for about 15-20 hours, but these mini-games, combined with the extra challenge mode should keep you interested for a little longer.

Optical Illusions

It was widely publicized that Naughty Dog and Insomniac shared technology when it came to the original Ratchet & Clank's graphics. Locked and Loaded uses exactly the same type of technology, but the sheer size of the levels, and the more intense graphical beauty could lead to suggestions that the graphical engine has been on steroids for the last year. The returning crew has received a bump in the polygon department - Ratchet is bearing a new suit of armour, but Clank gets nothing. The framerate is smooth throughout the entire experience, with one or two minor hiccups towards the end. Unfortunately, Insomniac has ditched the 60 Hz mode from the original game, most likely due to the defects in some copies of the game, but Locked and Loaded does support Widescreen mode, if you have a compatible TV.


The low point of the Ratchet & Clank experience has always been the fact that the game's music is operating at such a dull volume and much to the dismay of game music fans, this trend continues in Locked and Loaded. Fortunately, the portions of the soundtrack that can be heard are quite good. The voice acting is still above average, though some may find that Ratchet's surfer-type voice may grate with them. Sound effects consist of a variety of cartoon-style blips, bloops, pips and pops, which suits the style of the game quite well.

What the Hell Kind of Creature is Ratchet, Anyway?

Ratchet & Clank: Locked and Loaded is a great sequel, but sticks firmly to the formula used by its predecessor, to the point where the games are only distinguished by a few differences, mainly new weapon types, mini-games, RPG elements and slightly improved visuals. Fans of the first are bound to enjoy the game, but it might be wise to give it a miss if you were one of the few that doesn't share this view. We really recommend that Playstation 2 owners who've not exposed themselves to the first Ratchet & Clank title give it a go.
The Score
Ratchet and Clank: Locked and Loaded is an excellent sequel - something that fans of the first game and those new to the series are bound to enjoy.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 Comments
9 years ago
i got this game to its a small game but a great game
9 years ago
this suks ass and you are a holes
9 years ago
It's a shame we can't get more intelligent conversation like this.

Sorry, that was dripping with sarcasm.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developer:
  Insomniac Games
Players:
  1
Memory Blocks:
  475KB

Extra:
Widescreen
Analog Control
Vibration

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