Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force Review
You’d probably think there’s something wrong with us if we told you Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force is a brilliant game, and we don’t blame you.
Sony has done little to market the next Ratchet & Clank game from Insomniac leaving most – ourselves included – confused as to what it’s actually supposed to be.
But, honestly, Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force is a great game. It might be priced in the budget range, but from the quality on show here you’d not notice it.
The twist here is the inclusion of tower defence gameplay. Each level features a Q-Force base, but there’s more to it than sitting around waiting for the enemy come to you.
The Ratchet & Clank universe works well in this set up: the myriad weapons turn into entertaining and diverse towers while the various enemies fit well into the staples we’ve come to expect from the tower defence genre.
To build defences you need bolts, and collecting those requires a little bit of scouting outside of your base. It’s an interesting dynamic that requires you to risk your base defences while you hunt for the finances to further bolster your base.
You won’t start a level with a weapon either, those are out in the wider field to collect and it’s here that the traditional Ratchet & Clank gameplay kicks in with hectic combat courtesy of the excellent weapon design and the odd spot of platforming.
Watch us take on the first Ratchet & Clank mission for an example of how it evolves two distinct types of games.
There’s more to all this than the added bonus of extra firepower, however. Your ultimate objective is to activate the planet’s defences, preventing additional incoming enemies and thus saving the day. Easy peasy, right?
The challenge comes in balancing the scouting with base defence, often resulting in a mad dash to your base from one end of the map as dangerous foes start marching on your towers.
It’s an almost-too-perfect blend of two styles of gameplay and, as we’ve already said, works really well in the Ratchet & Clank universe.
In many ways Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force is the natural extension of the franchise, and is a style of gameplay we truly hope Insomniac and Sony decide to stick with.
There’s less of a focus on storyline for obvious reasons, but even the cut scenes that are here retain the genuine humour the series has become known for.
Unfortunately there is little in the way of content to really keep you hooked. Five levels – one of which isn’t a real level – means you can see most of the single-player content done in around five hours.
Admittedly that’s better than a lot of FPS campaigns these days, and Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force does only cost 15 quid. It’s just a shame that such a clever idea has been restricted in this way: more levels would be really help to make this a must-have game.
You can play as Ratchet, Clank or Quark. Of course you’ll choose Quark.
There’s plenty of replayability to the levels that are there, however, whether it’s aiming for that perfect run or trying to complete it in under the time limit. If Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force’s gameplay pulls you in, then you’ll appreciate the desire to replay each level.
Then there’s multiplayer. We expected competitive gun-on-gun action, but what we got was a MOBA. DotA 2 and League Of Legends have been popularising the genre for some time, and Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force brings its on spin on it.
It utilises the same gameplay seen in the campaign content, except separated into three stages: Scouting, Squad and Assault.
While there is a finite selection of crates (and, therefore, bolts) to smash through, in multiplayer you’ll have nodes to capture. During the Scouting phase you – and any partner you may have – must vie for power over these nodes to earn you additional bolts.
The more you have, the more bolts you earn, making this process the most important of the lot. AI towers defend them, however, so it’s not as simple as racing around and collecting as much as you can.
In the Squad phase you build up your attacking forces, spending bolts on amassing the right unit types – divvying them up between each of the two lanes – while preparing your base for your opponent’s equivalent.
These things are a bugger to defeat. If you see one coming, you better hope your defences can handle it.
Then there’s Assault that – as you might expect – requires attacking your enemies base. You’ll need to accompany your troops (or Creeps, to use the MOBA lingo) to ensure they reach the enemy base safely, protecting them from the enemy and assisting them in the attack.
It’s a surprisingly well thought out system and, though it likely won’t draw in many players, is unique enough to provide something truly novel to PS3 gamers.
Even the weapon selection – which is done through acquiring each node – is akin to a MOBA player levelling up their character and picking the abilities they need for the task at hand.
It’s all very well considered – impressively so – but even still, there are only three maps available for the multiplayer mode, again hampering the game’s hopes of longevity.