Saturday, May 6, 2006

A Perfect 10? Um, Not Quite.

I recently acquired Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal in a trade and right from the start it felt like developer Insomniac Games was off theirs. I never played the first one, loved the second one, and loved the fourth one, but this was my first exposure to part three. The odd sense of humor, deranged supporting characters, and wildly inventive weaponry is all in place but it still feels like the team was spinning their wheels a bit. They came back strong for part four, but this one gets an 80 percent from me.

Yet on the cover is a bolded quote from PSM saying it's a "Perfect 10!" The only thing missing from that is OMGWTFLOL!11!1!!! I swear these people get four levels from an early build as their sole review copy and because they want more freebies they fellate the developer. I realize I may sound like a hypocrite since my score for Space Rangers 2 was used in the marketing campaign for the US release, something I'm damn proud of by the way, but that was a review from the heart for a game that was obviously built as a labor of love.

Now compare that with what is in essence a yearly update. I admit to loving the R&C series deeply because when those games connect I could play them for a month at a time. There is a mind-boggling amount to do and collect in all of them but Up Your Arsenal feels... arbitrary. Like there was a looming deadline so they just recycled everything from the first two games, made up the plot as they went along, and called it a sequel. At least with the next one, Deadlocked, they tried something new and it worked extremely well.

At least I didn't pay for it is the best thing I have to say. Oh, and bring back the plasma whip for the fifth game, guys. That thing rules.

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